SABAIO, ÇABAIO, &c., n.p. The name generally given by the Portuguese writers to the Mahommedan prince who was in possession of Goa when they arrived in India, and who had l ived much there. He was in fact that one of the cáptains of the Bahmani kingdom of the Deccan who, in the division that took place on the decay of the dynasty towards the end of the 15th century, became the founder of the ’Adil Shahi family which reigned in Bijapur from 1489 to the end of the following century (see IDALCAN). His real name was Abdul Muzaffar Yusuf, with the surname Sabai or Savai. There does not seem any ground for rejecting the intelligent statement of De Barros (II. v. 2) that he had this name from being a native of Sava in Persia [see Bombay Gazetteer, xxiii. 404]. Garcia de Orta does not seem to have been aware of this history, and he derives the name from Sahib (see below), apparently a mere guess, though not an unnatural one. Mr. Birch’s surmise (Alboquerque, ii. 82), with these two old and obvious sources of suggestion before him, that “the word may possibly be connected with sipahi, Arabic, a soldier,” is quite inadmissible (nor is sipahi Arabic). [On this word Mr. Whiteway writes: “In his explanation of this word Sir H. Yule has been misled by Barros. Couto (Dec. iv. Bk. 10 ch. 4) is conclusive, where he says: ‘This Çufo extended the limits of his rule as far as he could till he went in person to conquer the island of Goa, which was a valuable possession for its income, and was in possession of a lord of Canara, called Savay, a vassal of the King of Canara, who then had his headquarters at what we call Old Goa…. As there was much jungle here, Savay, the lord of Goa, had certain houses where he stayed for hunting…. These houses still preserve the memory of the Hindu Savay, as they are called the Savayo’s house, where for many years the Governors of India lived. As our João de Barros could not get true information of these things, he confounded the name of the Hindu Savay with that of Çufo (? Yusuf) Adil Shah, saying in the 5th Book of his 2nd Decade that when we went to India a Moor called Soay was lord of Goa, that we ordinarily called him Sabayo, and that he was a vassal of the King of the Deccan, a Persian, and native of the city of Sawa. At this his sons laughed heartily when we read it to them, saying that their father was anything but a Turk, and his name anything but Çufo.’ This passage makes it clear that the origin of the word is the Hindu title Siwai, Hind. Sawai, ‘having the excess of a fourth,’ ‘a quarter better than other people,’ which is one of the titles of the Maharaja of Jaypur. To show that it was more or less well known, I may point to the little State of Sunda, which lay close to Goa on the S.E., of which the Raja was of the Vijayanagar family. This little State became independent after the destruction of Vijayanagar, and remained in existence till absorbed by Tippoo Sultan. In this State Siwai was a common honorific of the ruling family. At the same time Barros was not alone in calling Adil Shah the Sabaio (see Alboquerque, Cartas, p. 24), where the name occurs. The mistake having been made, everyone accepted it.”]

There is a story, related as unquestionabl e by Firishta, that the Sabaio was in reality a son of the Turki sh Sultan Aga Murad (or ‘Amurath’) II., who was saved from murder at his father’s death, and placed in the hands of ’Imad-ud-din, a Persian merchant of Sava, by whom he was brought up. In his youth he sought his fortune in India, and being sold as a slave, and going through a succession of adventures, reached his high position in the Deccan (Briggs, Firishta, iii. 7–8).

1510.—“But when Afonso Dalboquerque took Goa, it would be about 40 years more or less since the Çabaio had taken it from the Hindoos.”—Dalboquerque, ii. 96.

” “In this island (Goa called Goga) there is a fortress near the sea, walled round after our manner, in which there is sometimes a captain called Savaiu, who has 400 Mamelukes, he himself being also a Mameluke….”—Varthema, 116.

1516.—“Going further along the coast there is a very beautiful river, which sends two arms into the sea, making between them an island, on which stands the city of Goa belonging to Daquem (Deccan), and it was a principality of itself with other districts adjoining in the interior; and in it there was a great Lord, as vassal of the said King (of Deccan) called Sabayo, who being a good soldier, well mannered and experienced in war, this lordship of Goa was bestowed upon him, that he might continually make war on the King of Narsinga, as he did until his death. And then he left this city to his son Çabaym Hydalçan….”—Barros, Lisbon ed. 287.

1563.—“O…. And returning to our subject, as Adel in Persian means ‘justice,’ they called the prince of these territories Adelham, as it were ‘Lord of Justice.’

R. A name highly inappropriate, for neither he nor the rest of them are wont to do justice. But tell me also why in Spain they call him the Sabaio?

“O. Some have told me that he was so called because they used to call a Captain by this name; but I afterwards came to know that in fact saibo in Arabic means ‘lord.’…”—Garcia, f. 36.

  By PanEris using Melati.

  Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission.
See our FAQ for more details.