EAA Research Consultant
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Very astutely observed Stan, and admire your well thought out approach to learning and understanding more on these weapons. Personally I had not thought of or noticed the parallel bar comparison in the jamadhar katara vs. the katar, one vertically situated, the other transverse.
This is an excellent theory, and by no means is the history of these weapons common knowledge, actually among the more esoteric of the ethnographic fields. It is of course hard to say how much influential bearing these two dagger types have upon each other, and the terminology conundrum is much as always the case with these classifications, extremely complicated.
Emanuel has well noted that these jamadhar katara were discussed on a number of occasions through the years, and it while they appear named as such in Stone, it was indeed Pant who set forth clarification on them. He notes that it was Egerton (1884) who transposed the katar term to the jamadhar, and the error was perpetuated by writers who followed. The compound name was probably an attempt to resolve the matter. It is important to note that this particular type of dagger with broad, parallel pommel guard and crossguard is as Chregu has specified, known to have been used by the Kafirs of the region formerly Kafiristan (from Kipling, "Man Who Would Be King").
These Kafir tribes were animists who were largely dispersed when their homeland was invaded by Afghan Abdur Rahman Khan, and he changed the lands name to Nuristan. Those who dispersed went into regions in the Hindu Kush and Chitral and are known primarily as Kalash, their ancestral tribal group.
There are few references to this tribal group, but there are some which depict thier animist symbols and devices. Im unclear on the language they speak, certainly dialects present in Chitral regions and likely Urdu, Hindi and possibly Lohar.
Again, Stan very well placed thoughts, and the kind of thinking that the serious study of ethnographic arms desperately needs more of !!!
Thank you so much for sharing your observations.
All the very best,