There are conflicts for the time periods in which the bagh nakh appeared first. It is said that poisoned bagh nakh had been used by the Rajputs for assassinations. Its most famous usage of the weapon was by the first Maratha leader Shivaji Maharaj who used a bichuwa and bagh nakha to kill the Bijapur giant general Afzal Khan.
It is a well-liked weapon among the Nihang Sikhs, who frequently carry one in their left hand while wielding a more powerful weapon, such a sword, in their right. When venturing alone into perilous locations, Nihang ladies are advised to carry a bagh nakh.
The Sher-Panja, which is modeled after the bagh nakha and is one of the traditional weapons used by the Nihang people, is another. The Sher panja covers the wrist and fingers with claws sticking out instead of fitting between the spaces in the fingers.
How Shivaji Maharaj used Wagh Nakh to kill Afzal Khan
Shivaji Maharaj and his troops were camping up in the Pratapgarh fort. Khan dispatched Krishna Bhaskar as his envoy to conduct the talks. He wrote that the Bijapur empire would formally recognize his holdings because he was friends with Shivaji’s father Shahaji.
Shivaji’s army lacked his army’s superior equipment. The leader therefore refused to leave the fort despite severe provocation. It was an astute move. While Shivaji’s advisers supposedly advised him to seek peace through litigation, he promised to slay Khan in combat or perish in war.
Some texts claim that Goddess Bhavani appeared in Shivaji’s nightmares to warn him that Khan intended to murder him treacherously. Khan’s camp was visited by Shivaji’s emissary Gopinath, who gave off the impression that Khan was an elder. The real motive was to gauge Khan’s true intentions.
Because he declined to meet Khan in Wai, where his forces were stationed, Shivaji gave the impression that he was terrified of Khan.
He invited him to visit Javli, a modest location with a few chosen bodyguards close to the fort. The location was highly wooded. To make room for the general and his bodyguards, he ordered his soldiers to make way.
The area was close to a river. Across the river, Khan’s soldiers were dispersed across the area.
Khan referred to Shivaji as a peasant lad at the meeting. Additionally, he urged him to surrender to the Adil Shahi dynasty’s rule and take on the role of a vassal ruler. Khan then gave him an embrace, cradled his head in the crook of his arm, and used a covert weapon to stab him in the back. Shivaji was protected by chainmail hidden within his robes since he was aware of Afzal Khan’s plans.
Shivaji himself was carrying a secret weapon known as the Wagh Nakh, also known as the tiger’s nails. In the palm of the hand, the weapon may be easily hidden. With the sword, he tore open his abdomen. His bodyguards stopped Khan’s bodyguards from attacking.
Later, Afzal Khan was beheaded for his betrayal.
This is regarded as a significant Maratha victory since Shivaji, who is reported to be of average height, defeated the taller Afzal Khan in a duel of cunning, nerves, and bravery. Khan was reportedly taller than 7 feet.
Significance of Bagh Nakh
Bagh Nakh is a subject of huge significance, both to the history of Maharashtra and the history of India. With the Bagh Nakh, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj killed Afzalhan in the foothills of the Pratapgad fort. Bagh Nakh is significant in India, representing both self-defense and resistance against oppression. Its cultural and mythological associations make it a unique and enduring aspect of Indian heritage and martial traditions.
How Chatrapati Shivaji's Bagh Nakh reached UK?
According to WIONEWS, Indrajeet Sawant, a historian claims that the Bagh nakh reached London when it was gifted by Pratapsingh Maharaj, the fifth successor of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, to the British politician James Grant Duff in around the 1930s.