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Old 29th February 2020, 11:48 AM   #6
mahratt
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Afghans (of Tajik origin) called the above-described lohar as daas (داس) and identified as an agricultural implement (information from modern Afghans). Apparently "daas" is a distorted Tajik word "dos". This word is related to agricultural implements. Sickle was a harvesting tool for the Uzbeks called "urok" or "urak" by the Uzbeks, the Tajiks called it "dos" and "dost". Such sickles are widely spread in Central Asia and described by many researchers and in its different parts . For example a similar sickle existed on the territory of present day Kyrgyzstan called orok .
Afghanistan was not ignored. "Trade tools used by the Afghans are of types widespread in the Western and Central Asia, and Northern India ... The Afghans called sickle as a lor" . The most interesting for us is that all of the abovementioned sickles differ from each other by names, their appearance and materials used for manufacturing are almost identical. And they are much alike to a considered lohar. A curved iron blade with internal sharpening merging into a narrow iron sickle pin where wooden handle is mounted underneath, circular in section . We believe that «lohar» described by Stone is an ordinary sickle traditionally used by the Afghans; they called it lor (Drawing of the sickle used by the people of Afghanistan.) On a related note it is possible that the term «lohar» arisen due to the fact that the word "lor" standing for sickle, was heard and wrote incorrectly and reached Stone in a distorted form.
Sickles being similar in shape often differ in size: "According to the purpose the Tajiks of Afghanistan subdivided sickles into sickles to harvest various herbage "dos and kadrav", sickle to harvest bread crops "dos and gandumdaravi", sickle to cut trees branches ... " . An important point is a small size of sickle blade in XIX- early XX century (10-15 cm) related to high cost of iron . Not least important is that the sickle for the Central Asian people is not only an agricultural tool but also a sacred object used in various ceremonies.
For example when the first stripping from cowshed they put sickle or ax, in case of no sickle, under the doorstep so that the animals' "souls were stronger than iron" . During one of the rites Boboi Dekhon (patron of agriculture) called for the blessing of the spirit-patron into the new farmer and passed sickle over to the boy's hands . Dance with sickles is also known reproducing harvest process that was performed by men solely and exclusively and dance of "Stork" performed by women and also associated with the fertility cult . A sickle was used to cut the cord of newborn in some areas . Sickle was considered a reliable protection from evil spirits .
In a similar way to the abovementioned sickles we believe that the lohars initially described by Stone were used as sickles to harvest. Large samples were the sickles. Occurring of richly decorated small samples with a hilt made of bone, unsuitable for its primary function - cutting of stems, most likely due to the fact that these objects were used during various ceremonies in the families. And they acted as dwelling decoration in the daily time. This besides explains why they are decorated with only one hand and on the other hand they are smooth.
Were lohars used as weapons? Absolutely they were. There are a number of evidences for it. For example there was a proverb among locals in the valley of Bannu: "A sickle is an Afghan knife for a real man" ,where a sickle was directly associated with a knife. It appears that sickles were not only a criminal weapon ,but also a weapon of intra-tribal fights when solving domestic conflicts, Bellew writes about (Bellew H. W. Journal of a Political Mission to Afghanistan is an account of a mission undertaken by Henry Burnett Lumsden, a British officer in the Indian army, to Kandahar, Afghanistan, in 1857, London, Smith, Elder and co., 1862; Currie F. The Indian Criminal Codes, London, 1872) ,it was used in the battles between the tribes as well (men of the Talla and the Wazirs) when a sickle was used as well as bladed weapon (sword) .


More information can be found in my book: "Edged Weapons of Afghanistan": http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=25281
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