Language: Hindi
Source: Period accounts

Description

Bagh nakh (बाघ नख) literally means "tiger claw", and that is what this weapon emulates. It's an iron or steel bar with a ring on either side, each intended to go to a finger, the index finger on one side and the little finger on the other. The bar holds a number of iron "claws", usually four in number.

 

A bagh nakh

A bagh nakh in the Metropolitan Museum, New York.
Accession number: 36.25.2870

 

"Perhaps a too practical acquaintance with the claws of wild beasts led some races to copy their use. The best-known instance of this is the Indian ‘bagh’nakh,’ or tiger’s claw, consisting of from three to five steel claws about two inches long, connected together, and furnished with rings in which to insert the fingers. This horrid contrivance was carried in the left hand, leaving the right free for a dagger; and the identical ‘tiger-claw’ wherewith Sivaji, founder of the Mahratta kingdom, murdered the Mogul’s general, is now in the Indian Museum. But in actual war the bagh’nakh would have been only an encumbrance, and its use was confined to private feud." 1

-Robert Chambers, 1892

 

Notes
1. Robert Chambers; Chambers Journal of Popular Literature, Science and Arts. W & R Chambers, London & Edinburgh. Volume 9. 1892. Page 61.

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