The Indian Sword – History and Legend
The curved sword comes from India and has a pedigree that goes back more than 4,000 years. This curved sword was also used by other eastern forces including Arabs or Persians, but the oldest use is in India as the Indian Mahabharata has shown. The sword was used greatly after the battle of Kurukshetra. The Indian sword was curved on the outside of the curve with the cutting tip. In the process of fighting at close quarters it was thus much more aerodynamic and could swathe air with minimal resistance.
The curved Indian sword was also known as the Talwar or Tulwar and crafted in great numbers by local smiths. The British who came to India were well impressed and brought it into their cavalry. The British cavalry was thus furnished with curved swords against the rebals during indian mutiny(1857). The battles at Delhi, Meerut and Cawnpore attest to the British’ use of the Talwar.
The tulwar had a circular shield in addition. The soldier attached to his left arm as he was softening the Sword with his right Arm was a lighter and smaller shield than a European one. A charge with these curved swords can be deadly if it is mounted on a horse.
But Indian generals relied much greater on the elephant ‘s body to strike the sword as they were normally overlooked as a tool of cavalry offence. Therefore the sword armed cavalrier job, as reliance on the elephant far greater, was restricted in a range of battles from Porus to Alexander (326 BC) and Ibrahim Lodhi to the Babur (1526). The Muslims have also changed the sword, but rely more on hordes of archers mounted.
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The sword still had a sanctified picture in India. As an independent arm with great flourishing, Kings and generals carried it. Most of them adorned with diamonds and perles, their sword handles. However, the British who practiced their assault with their curved swords through the cavalry should be honoured. The Crimean campaigns made vivid by Lord Tennyson ‘s poem “Light Brigade Commander” are a tribute to British cavalry and curved sword. In the Crimean, Indian and Egyptian wars, British horsemen attacked with these curved swords.
Talwar was used in India as a shield to fight and to fight in the battles. So reverence was paid to the art of the swordsmen boats. But the Talwar is, as things stand, a history relic as you might literally dream of the past period when the Indian sword ruled the battlefields.