|The Talwar Art by TL Jeffcoat|
There are several variations of this curved sword, but none are completely the same. The Talwar was used by both Moghuls and Sikhs in the region of India. It is slightly curved like a sabre but with a wider blade at the end. The British sabre was most likely modeled after the Talwar. They are similar in design but the handle of the British Sabre is different.
The entire weapon is made with iron, and the handle is short and capped with a disc shaped piece of metal. The metal disc had a spike protruding from underneath. The short handle gives the warrior a firmer grip, but can also restrict most stabbing and hacking strikes. The blade is sharpened all the way to the hilt, unlike several other similar sword designs. The sword is not just one piece of molded metal. The blade is inserted into the cross guard with an adhesive. Making the blade a separate piece from the handle gives a sword more flexibility when striking. A sword that doesn't give is soon a broken sword.
By looking at the weapon, you might assume that the Sikhs used it to hack at their enemies, but in truth, their techniques are counter attacks and usually appear defensive in nature. They used the weight of the blade and the solid grip of their handle to slide the sharp edge across exposed skin or puncture the enemy charging in. Instead of hacking and slashing, the handle design allowed Sikhs to grip the weapon tightly and without the need for extra flourish so that a twist of the wrist would swat away the blade of an assailant and another twist could place the blade at the throat. The attackers own momentum was often used to impale, or cut them. Some footwork and body movement is obviously required to position the blade without getting impaled by attackers as well, of course.
Although the Talwar was not as coveted and respected a weapon as the Khanda, it was used by pretty much any soldier in the infantry or cavalry in the India region. Sikhs, today, still train with this sword.
I hope you enjoyed this edition of Weapons and Warriors, click here to view the entire catalog of weapons and cultures. Thank you, see you next week.