The Bagh Nakh
The Bagh Nakh (Marathi: वाघनख / वाघनख्या, Hindi: बाघ नख, Urdu: باگھ نکھ), Wagh Nakh or “tiger claws” is a claw-like Indian weapon designed to fit over the knuckles or concealed under and against the palm. It consists of four or five curved blades affixed to a crossbar or glove, and is designed to slash through skin and muscle.
It is believed to have been inspired by the armature of big cats, and the term bagh nakh itself means tiger’s claw in Hindi. Bagh nakh was first developed in India, though there are conflicting reports of the time period in which they appeared.
The first well-known usage of the weapon was by the first Maratha emperor Shivaji who used a bichawa bagh nakh to defeat the Bijapur general Afzal Khan. After the Direct Action Day riots, the Bengali Hindu girls, in order to defend themselves, began to wear a kind of sharp weapon resembling bagh nakh while going to school.
Several variations of bagh nakh exist, including one in which the single crossbar is replaced by two plates hinged together; with an additional loop and claw for the thumb. Earliest bagh nakh did not utilize loops for the fingers, rather round holes were punched through the central plate.
Many bagh nak also incorporated a spike or blade on one end of the crossbar. This form was known as a bichawa bagh nakh because the blade was based on that of the bichawa (scorpion knife).