After Ghiyath-ud-din Dhamaghani succumbed to an overdose of aphrodisiac, his nephew, Nasiru-d-din became the Sultan of Madura. Nasiru-d-din bought his way to the throne by splurging lavish quantities of gold on his nobles and the army.
Nasiru-d-din was originally employed as a domestic servant in the Delhi Sultanate. He fled Delhi and settled in Madura after his uncle became the Sultan there.
Almost immediately after he became the Sultan, Nasiru-d-din murdered the son of his own paternal aunt. This was pure safety politics: the murdered man was the husband of the deceased Ghiyath-ud-din’s daughter. After this disposal, Nasiru-d-din married the murdered man’s widow and thus became Ghiyath-ud-din’s posthumous son-in-law. And then he minted coins in his own name to fully seal his supremacy as the Sultan.
Nasiru-d-din ruled Madurai till about 1356-57, a reign that inaugurated the end of the Madurai Sultanate.
The Campaign of Kumara Kampana
Meanwhile, important developments had taken place elsewhere in South India. The five Sangama brothers had begun a slow takeover of weakening and weakened but important empires in the south. The eldest brother, Harihara I appointed his brother, Bukkaraya or Bukka I as the ruler of Gutti, a village in today’s Belgaum district.
Bukka I had a fierce and able warrior in his son, Kumara Kampana. Kumara Kampana’s greatest accomplishment lies in bringing the entire Tamil country under the Sangama brothers, which was later to become known as the Vijayanagar Empire. A chief ingredient in this accomplishment was the decimation of the Madurai Sultanate.
Perhaps the best surviving account of Kumara Kampana’s campaign deep into the Tamil country comes from his own wife, Ganga Devi. A woman of many talents, and an accomplished poetess, she composed an exquisite Sanskrit epic-heroic poem entitled Madhuravijayam (Conquest of Madura), also known as Kamparaya Charitam. All Sanskrit scholars and literary critics unanimously agree that Madhuravijayam is one of the greatest accomplishments in Sanskrit poetry—besides its theme—in terms of elegance, form, linguistic excellence and other literary parameters.
However, the value of Madhuravijayam as a first-person, contemporary historical record is inestimable. Thus, at this point, it is important to take a deeper look at the context of Madhuravijayam.
The State of Madura under the Madurai Sultanate
Madhuravijayam narrates the actual reason Kampana launched the campaign to end the Sultanate at Madurai: a lady, a citizen of Madura meets Kampana with an urgent grievance. She appeals to Kampana to save the Tamil country from the horrific tyranny of the Turushkas (from Turks, denoting Muhammadans). She implores the king of the urgent need to save the Tamil country—urgent, because any delay would completely extinguish whatever is worth saving. The lady’s heart-wrenching entreaty forms the transition from the 7th canto to the 8th in the epic poem. Excerpts follow.
Note: I’ve taken extreme liberties with the translation but the meaning and essence remain faithful to the original. Numbers in square brackets indicate the verse number in the epic poem.
O King! The city, which is called Madhurapuri for its honeyed loveliness, has now become the city of cruel beasts; it now lives up to its earlier name of Vyaghrapuri, the city of tigers because humans don’t dwell there. 
Those temples of Gods, which used to reverberate with the sacred melody of mridangam, now echo the dreadful howls of jackals. 
In the Brahmin Quarters [Agraharams] of our city, huge columns of smoke emanating from the scared Yagnas used to rise up and reach the skies amid the sacred Vedic chants but alas! today those selfsame Quarters send up wretched stenches of meat roasted by the Turushkas; the Vedic chants are today replaced by the beastly cacophonies of drunken hoodlums. 
During the days of Pandyas, our women used to bathe in [river] Taamraparni, whose waters turned white from the sandal-paste applied to their breasts. My lord! Now she’s coloured only in red from the currents of blood flowing into her from all the cows slaughtered by its wicked occupiers all over the country. 
O King! I cannot bear to look at the countenance of those Dravida ladies who were bounteously endowed with beauty. Ravished horribly by the scourging Turushkas, these delicate women now sport lifeless lips and exhale hot breaths, and their abundant tresses that have come undone are painful to the eyes. I don’t have the words to describe the suffering and dishonour painted on their faces, which know neither redemption nor protection. 
The lady finally reveals herself to be the Goddess of Madurai. What is of note here is not the supernatural element but its application to the state of affairs at Madura current in the period of Ganga Devi. Her description of the state of Madurai resonates with similar descriptions found across the vast corpus of historical and other literature describing the condition of India under Muslim rule.
Ganga Devi narrates that Kumara Kampana set out for an extensive campaign to subdue the Sambuvarayas:
Bukkaraya instructed his son to march against the Sambuvaraya chieftain who is the leader of the Vanniyar and he is preparing for war. If you conquer the Vanniyar ruler, it will be easy for you to break the power of the Turushkas [or Turks or Muhammadans] at Madura.
[Madhuravijayam, Canto III]
Historians are divided over the opinion of whether Sambuvarayas were long-time vassals of Cholas and later, the Pandyas. S. Krishnaswamy Aiyangar concludes that the name of the dynasty “seems to be derived from the hill fortress which was its citadel, and which apparently refers to Padaividu in the Arni Jahgir.” [SOUTH INDIA & HER MUHAMMADAN INVADERS, PG 185, S.KRISHNASWAMY AIYANGAR] Sambuvarayas were ruling from Tondaimandalam, which covered the region encompassing the northern districts of today’s Chennai, Kanchipuram, Tiruvallur, Villupuram, Cuddalore, Tiruvannamalai and Vellore. Kumara Kampana quickly defeated and killed Venru Mangonda Sambuvaraya and installed Raja Narayana Sambuvaraya as the successor.
Once this was accomplished, Kampana had secured the support and loyalty of the Sambuvarayas in the service of his more urgent and important mission against the Madurai Sultanate.
Kumara Kampana Decimates the Madurai Sultanate
Madhuravijayam also narrates Kumara Kampana’s march into Madura and the ensuing battle with the Sultan. The Sultan is described as “one who reduced to a low condition the Chola and Pandya by his valour, who proved the hatchet to the creeper, the prosperity of the Ballala.” [Verbatim translation found in SOUTH INDIA & HER MUHAMMADAN INVADERS, FOOTNOTE 3, PG 185, S.KRISHNASWAMY AIYANGAR]. This is very illuminating in a two respects: first, this means that the activities of the Sultan of Madurai were destructive to the Hoysalas; second, the Sultan in question was Nasiru-d-din, the nephew and successor of Ghiyath-ud-din Dhamaghani.
However, there’s a slight sketchiness regarding the date of Kampana’s attack on Madurai. But then, things become clearer when we examine the available evidence.
First: most scholars place the date of Madhuravijayam between 1343-56.
Second, two other evidences help us out to fix a reasonably accurate date.
The first evidence is the break in coinage issued by the Madurai Sultanate. Between 1344—when Nasiru-d-din minted coins in his own name—to 1357, there is absolutely no coinage issued by the Madurai Sultanate. This is also the period that scholars fix for the composition of Madhuravijayam.
The second evidence is a record at Tirukkolakudi dated September 7 1358, which gives us a fairly clear account of this portion of history. I shall let the record speak for itself.
“times were Tulukkan (for Turks or Muhammadans) times; the devadana (gifts to gods) lands of the gods were taxed with kudimai (dues of cultivation); the temple worship, however, had to be conducted without any reduction; the ulavu or cultivation of the temple lands was done by turns by the tenants of the village; at this juncture Kampana Udaiyar [or Lord, the corresponding Kannada word is Wodeyar] came on his southern campaigns, destroying Tulukkans, established a stable administration throughout the country and appointed many chiefs (Nayakkanmar) for inspection and supervision in order that the worship in all temples might be revived as of old.
[SOUTH INDIA & HER MUHAMMADAN INVADERS, PG 182, S.KRISHNASWAMY AIYANGAR]
It is fairly reasonable to conclude that Kumara Kampana must have overthrown the Muhammadan rule at Madurai a few years prior and ushered in stability, which explains the date this record was issued. An interval of at least two-three years of stable rule is necessary before things are rebuilt and order is restored.
Thus, the Madurai Sultanate headed by Nasiru-d-din met an irreversible end at the hands of Kumara Kampana sometime in 1356-57.
Madurai Sultanate’s Attempts at Resurgence
Following Nasiru-d-din’s death in the battle against Kampana, the Madurai Sultanate attempted a recovery of sorts, an effort that trudged along for about 15 years. In 1356-57, Adil Shah occupied the Madurai throne and minted coins in his name. Not much is known about him. He was succeeded by Fakru-d-din Mubarak Shah in 1361, who ruled till about 1371-72. Several coins dated 1368, bearing his name have been unearthed by researchers. Not much is known about him either.
Fakru-d-din Mubarak Shah was succeeded by Allau-d-din Sikandar Shah, the last Sultan of Madura who ruled between 1372-78.
1378 was the year the Madurai Sultanate became extinct.
To be concluded in the next part.