« Season of mists and mellow fruitfullness | Main | Spiced Ham »

Licenced to carry

kirpan.jpg
Nice knife! Of course you wouldn't expect to be able to carry it around the streets of Britain, or if you had it concealed under your clothes you wouldn't think it was unfair to be asked to not carry it into a school or airport, would you? But part a section of society does exactly that. The Sikh's; some of the finest soldiers and warriors that ever have lived under the Union Flag. Showing my ignorance I was interested to learn today that Sikhs carry such knives at all times, some not as sharp or as pretty, but knives all the same. I would add that Sikhs are anxious that this practice is explained openly so that society can understand. A helpful website is:

Understanding the Kirpan for non-Sikhs by Sandeep Singh Brar

The Kirpan (ceremonial sword) worn by followers of the Sikh religion sometimes raises questions or concerns among people who are unfamiliar with the religion or it's tenants. The Kirpan is an ingrained part of the Sikh religion and is in many ways its religious symbolism is similar to the Cross in Christianity. Just as a Cross is worn be devout Christians, baptized Sikhs are required to wear the Kirpan. ...
It was Guru Gobind Singh, the final living Sikh prophet who formally instituted the mandatory requirement for all baptized Sikhs to wear the Kirpan at all times.....
The Reht Maryada does not specify the length of the Kirpan or how it is to be worn by the devotee. Kirpans can be anywhere from 3 foot swords carried by Sikhs on religious festivals, marriages and parades, to a few inches in length. They can either be worn over ones clothing or under the clothing. ....

Comments

If a Sikh draws his sword in anger he must draw blood before he can put it back. A guy I work with is a Sikh - his dad stopped a friend from doing somebody in with his sword when he lost his temper and had to cut himself before he could put the sword away.

Hmm just like the Gurkhas with their khukris; that is why there is a wee notch by the handle so they can cut their thumb if required to draw blood. We had Sikhs at London OTC - their kirpans were very small ceremonial jobs that they were required to cover and in fact they shoved them under several layers to stop people seeing or getting at them. (One poor chap cut himself by hiding it in his long johns....)

This causes particular annoyance in Scotland I believe where the natives are supposed to carry replica skein dubhs.

I believe devout Christians wear small crosses around their necks, as apposed to a life-sized wooded one. Perhaps Sikhs could do something similar with their Kirpans? As my wife keeps on reassuring me its not the size that matters!

I'm afraid the Gurkha myth about having to draw blood if they draw their Khukri is just that, a myth. In the jungles the last thing a Gurkha wants to do is keep cutting himself everytime he hacks down a branch or has to prepare a meal etc.
As for the notch in the blade, the meaning or use is lost in the mists of time. Sometimes called the horns of Shiva, or sometimes thought to represent the horns of a bullock, it is probably just decorative.

Post a comment