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A talwar, talwaar, or tulwar (Urdu:?????) is a type of sword, equivalent to the European sabre (or saber), originating in medieval South Asia dating back to at least the 13th century. It bears a resemblance to the Persian shamshir and the Turkish kilic. The difference is that the blade of a talwar is wider than the blade of a shamshir. Due to its growing popularity in the Mughal Empire, the talwar was also produced in 19th Century Afghanistan in form of the “Afghani talwar,” or pulwar. Late examples often had European-made blades, set into distinctive Indian-made hilts.
It may have replaced the unique khanda sword of ancient India as the sword of choice in medieval Indian armies. The khanda became the weapon of last resort. Rajput warriors in battle wielded it with both hands and swung it over their head when surrounded and outnumbered by the enemy. It was in this manner that they traditionally committed an honourable last stand rather than be captured.
Although the Tulwar was influenced by foreign weapons, India has several unique bladed weapons, entirely native to the subcontinent, including the Khanda, Katar, Pata, Urumi and Aruval. The distinctive looking Indian wootz steel was known across Asia as uniquely flexible and strong, and was used to construct many of these weapons.
Talwar is the word for “sword” in Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi, Gujarati, Pashto, Bengali.
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