India is a large place, almost equalent to a continent, hence it is referred to as the Sub-continent.. Its history is checkered with wars and battles. The Hindus who were the main inhabitants of the sub continent fought innumerable wars and accordingly weapons were held in high esteem. A warrior class called the Kashytrias was also in existence as ordained by the caste system. The kshyatrias were hereditery warriors and can be classidied as professional soldiers. These warriors preferred the sword as a personal weapon for combat and also as a weapon for the cavalry and infantry.
The Curved Sword
The sword in existence in the sub continent had a slightly different shape. Popularly called the Tulwar, this sword was curved with the cutting edge on the obverse. It had a sharp point as well and was good for use to stab and thrust as well. But its basic use was to sever the head of the opponent. The Tulwar is an ancient weapon and can trace its lineage to almost 4000 BC. The ancient Hindu warriors all carried the Tulwar as a personal weapon.
The Indian Tulwar was comparatively lighter in weight and as such had minimal drag. It was thus easier to use and certainly more lethal in comparison to the European broad swords. However one advantage of the European sword was its two edged blade, whereas
Advantages of the Tulwar
Invaders to the sub continent were suitably impressed by the Tulwar and adapted it for their use. The British quickly made use of similar swords for their cavalry, which with the curved Tulwar became a more potent force. The Tulwar was also the weapon of combat with a shield that was tied to the left for arm. It fitted a curved scabbard. The shield was also circular in shape and much lighter than the Western shields like the ones used by the Romans and Greeks. The curved sword was also used with telling effect by the Japanese Sumarai warriors as well as the Persians.
The curved sword or Tulwar was the mainstay of the soldiers of the armies of the sub continent till the Musket put it out of action. The use of the Tulwar thus petered out and slowly by the turn of the 18th and nineteenth century became a relic. The Tulwar however lives on in a ceremonial role and is part of the marriage ceremonies in the sub continent as well as ceremonial military occasions. But its place in the military history of the region is enshrined for ever.