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Old 26th May 2019, 03:53 AM   #1
Jim McDougall
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Default The spike or spine on the khanda pommel

In other discussions the question has come up about methods of holding certain Indian edged weapons in use, and whether certain features make allowances for use in a two hand hold in striking.
Clearly, the weapon that comes to mind is the khanda (sometimes 'firangi' if with foreign blade), which often have an extension out of the pommel which may be regarded as a spike or spine.

In Pant, "Indian Arms and Armor" (1980, p.48) it is noted about the khanda, "...there is very often a spike on the pommel which acts as a guard for the arm, and for a grip when making a two handed stroke. It is also used as a hand rest when the sword is sheathed".

My question is just how reliable is this suggestion in the use of the khanda? Was the two hand stroke really necessary, and if a warrior was also holding a shield, or for that matter, if a horseman was holding reins in the other hand, how would this be feasible?

It seems that vestigial element of a stem much smaller occurs on some tulwars and is known as 'dungarpuri' (Pant, p.108) named for the place in Rajasthan where this feature was 'invented' (?) and is said to be a 17th c. affectation. Clearly this element is not intended for such 'second hand' application on the tulwar, but perhaps suggests some symbolic meaning.
Could the 'spike' or perhaps 'stem' on the khanda also carry some symbolism rather than the two hand hold idea?

Attached plate from Pant on khandas with 'spikes' and a tulwar with an unusual perpendicularly angled spike discussed here in 2016.
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