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39 Infantry Division / Talwar Division

A talwar is an Indian heavy sword. Talwar (sword) is one of the most ancient forms of arm that was used by warriors in battle field. During peace time talwar-bazi [Fencing] was a major sport that tested the various skills of participants. The Indian sabre, popularly known as the Talwar isusually a single edged curved blade that has a hilt withquillons and a large disc at the pommel. A soldier valued his sword almost as much as his life. A Rajput's most powerful and binding oath was by his sovereign's throne ('gadi ki an ) or by his arms ('ya sil ki an') or by his sword and shield ('dhal talwar ki an').

The short sword or talwar was brought to the subcontinent by Muslims in about the year 700. The Moghul emperors were indebted for half their conquests to the Lakh Talwar Rahtoran, the 100,000 swords of the Rahtor. The Rahtor of the desert have fewer prejudices than their more eastern brethren; they will eat food without inquiring by whom it was dressed, and will drink either wine or water without asking to whom the cup belonged. They would make the best soldiers in the world if they would submit to discipline, as they are brave, hardy, easily satisfied, and very patient.

The Sword has three main uses, cutting, thrusting, and guarding. If these qualifications could be combined, there would be no difficulty in determining the single best shape. But unfortunately-perhaps I should say fortunately-each requisite interferes to a great extent with the other. Hence the various modifications adopted by different peoples, and hence the successive steps of progress. From the East came the curved swords, such as the scimitar, yataghan and talwar, which proved most effective as cutting weapons. The advantage of a curved arm in a hand to hand skirmish was soon appreciated and made use of by Western peoples, and during the Napoleonic wars a much curved sword was used. However, as the point of the weapon was so much deflected from a straight line, it was almost useless for a thrust. The' Talwar,' or half-curved sabre of Hindustan, cuts as though it were four times as broad and only one-fourth the thickness of the straight blade. But the 'drawing-cut' has the additional advantage of deepening the wound and of cutting into the bone. Hence men of inferior strength and stature used their blades in a manner that not a little astonished and disgusted British soldiers in the Sind and Sikh campaigns.

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Page last modified: 09-07-2011 02:41:17 ZULU