Monday, 3 April 2017

Sword of Shivaji Maharaj

Shivaji was one of the most powerful and prominent rulers of the Maratha land, and much of his valor is equally shared amongst his swords. According to reports, Shivaji owned three main swords; namely, ‘Bhawani’, ‘Jagdamba’ and ‘Tulja’. Historical evidences show that ‘Bhawani’ was originated from Toledo, Spain, and there had been innumerable discussions and debates related to this theory of origination. However, Babasaheb Purandare, the renowned historians of those times confirmed that Spain had the top most quality of steel and it was more than likely that all Maratha swords were imported from there.

Nick Evangelista, one of the famous authors and magazine publishers, describe ‘Bhawani’ as a Genoa Blade of four feet length. He also suggests that the sword had a very small grip, with spikes attached to the hilt that could thrust the opponents at one go. However, different paintings of Chattrapati Shivaji depict Bhawani as a patta held in his right hand and integrated within a gauntlet. Now, if these paintings are taken to be true, the presence of spikes as described by Nick needs to be falsified. It has to be noted that although swords were imported from Spain, they were crafted locally and till date stand unique and distinct. Bhawani is now believed to be in custody of Udayraje Bhosle of Satara, the direct descendent of Shivaji.

The second sword in line is the famous ‘Jagdamba’ that is assumed to be gifted to Edward VII, the Prince of Wales, during his visit to India.  Jagdamba is now in the Royal Collection Trust, London. As for ‘Tulja’ there are no traces of evidence or any description available to unveil the present custody of this sword.

Antique collectors in India and around the globe, are trying their best to find out some missing links related to these swords. The Toledo angle of Bhawani talwar, although accepted by most still remains debatable for few. Many are of the opinion that the Indian Government should ask for a detailed account of steel manufacturers of those times from the Spanish authorities that could aid in the markings of Bhawani.

Nevertheless, Maratha rule in India and the contribution towards Swaraj remains unmatched, unbeatable and beyond debates. Maratha swords similar to the rulers were powerful, distinct and unique. It is unfortunate that today we do not have much information and knowledge of these swords and with time they have faded away leaving little or no trace at all. Therefore, taking up necessary steps and effort to find out more about these swords would be a worthwhile investment. This was all about swords of Shivaji and anybody interested to share any information related to these is more than welcome. 

1 comment: