Kukri / Khukuri Quotes from the 21st century.
Part 3 - 2000 - 2014.
"The famous Kukri is a source of immense pride. No other symbol quite so succinctly signals "Gurkha."...Designed for cutting, as opposed to thrusting , it is seventeen inches overall with a blade of about eleven inches but looks bigger given the bearer`s diminutive size and fearsome aggression. The scabbard has a metal chape and leather frog, while a small knife and honing steel are tucked into the back. Gurkhas feel very comfortable with a kukri in their hands and there are far too many stories of them preferring them to firearms, which in any other unit would bring heavy criticism. But when you see what they can do with the kukri, you don`t want to interfere.(p. 31)."
- "Kukri," in SLN Guide by The British Brigade of Gurkhas,
"More than any other weapon that has made a name for itself on the battlefield and off, the Khukuri looms large in the annals of war."
"The Khukuri, which terrorized the enemy during Nepal's battle with the British in 1814, and then again during both the World Wars, figures nowhere in a collection of modern weaponry. Even in the Imperial War Museum, there is only a small kukri in a glass case to remind visitors of this remarkable weapon."
"Khukuri’s have traditionally been made by Kami’s with little more than an open forge and a handful of tools"
"Gurkhas, it is said, feel bare without their blade, and even though as a warrant officer Lama never wielded a Khukuri against the enemy, he did use one to hack down branches to build a bash or shelter during jungle exercises, and learnt enough about the different kinds of military Khukuri’s."
"The Khukuri is inscribed with the year of enlistment"
" Made from reinforced steel, mostly salvaged from railway track construction, the Dehradune or World War Khukuri, originated in Nepal and was later emulated by the Indian Gurkha Army in Dehradun during World War II. This was the only Khukuri used in the war, and Nepal was unable to keep up with the demand, which was when Dehradun started to produce these on a massive scale."
"Since railway tracks, and the materials to build them, are hard to come by in Dharan, Lama's factory uses the spring sheets of cars and trucks. Kami’s generally heat the metal in a fire and temper it in a teakettle. This may not sound very impressive, but tests show that Khukuri steel is just the right hardness to cut through almost anything, including bone, with relative ease, while still remaining soft enough to take this kind of abuse and keep a decent edge. This is why Khukuri’s function more like extremely good quality high-grade carbon steel kitchen tools than one might imagine."
"The Khukuri has been present in every collection of weapons of Nepal's famous fighting men including Amar Singh Thapa, Bal Bhadra Kunwar, Kalu Pande, and Bhimsen Thapa."
"There are plenty of explanations that attribute spiritual and religious significance to the Khukuri. The kaudi, for instance, is said to symbolize Shiva's trident, or the Nepali sun and the moon. The butt cap of the knife, called the chapro, is said to resemble the eye of god, and the very shape of the blade, the crescent, is supposed to be an invocation of the Nepali moon. Among the other beliefs associated with the Khukuri is the belief that Newar artisans should never touch one."
"Khukuri," in Nepali Times, Issue # 113
27/03/10, 2002 by Ramyata Limbu.
"The Kukri is at the very heart of the tradition and culture of Nepal, and, as a very good friend or deadly foe, it mirrors the duality of human nature and nature of mankind."
- Gurkha Warriors: The Inside Story of the World's Toughest Regiment
by Bob Crew, London, 2003.
"Kukri; Gurkha knife from Nepal with a heavy, single-edged Kopis blade, widening towards the point. 'The kookree is a semicircular, long, heavy knife, always carried by the Ghoorkas; sometimes the sheath is curiously embroidered with strips from the quill of the peacock's feather: two small crooked knives are generally in the sheath. The kookree is used for war as well as for all domestic purposes (p. 253)."
- Hindu Arms and Ritual: Arms and Armor from India 1400-1865 by
Dr. Robert Elgood, Chicago/Delft, 2004.
“Kukri (Khukuri). Famous curved Nepali knife used as a symbol of Gorkha soldiers. Quite typical of Nepal, they are made in the town of Bhojpur and come in many different sizes. (p. 188).”
- Historical Dictionary of Nepal by N.R. Shrestha and
K. Bhattarai; New Delhi, 2004.
"The kukhri has a short, heavy, forward angled blade which broadens towards the tip. The length of the blade is only about 35 to 40 centimeters but it is heavier towards the point which adds to the effectiveness of the blow."
"The root of the edge of a kukhri blade has a semicircular nick about one and a half centimeter deep and a projecting tooth at the bottom. This, supposedly, represents the female generative organ and is intended to make the blade more effective. The hilt is straight and without a guard. It is made of metal, horn or ivory and sometimes has carved foliate embellishments in deep relief. ...The sheaths
of kukhris shaped implements are also decorated with big chapes and lockets of gold and silver worked in [r]epousse or filigree. A smaller sheath is affixed to the back of the larger sheath in which two smaller kukhri shaped implements are housed -- a blunt sharpening steel and a small skinning knife."
"The kukhri is not only a weapon but is also used as an implement for cutting through the thick jungles of the Terai and the Himalayan slopes. It has therefore always retained its functional and utilitarian character. ...It is maintained that a Gurkha never sheaths his kukhri without first drawing blood with it, and most Gurkhas still swear by this custom even today (pp. 62-63)."
Arms & Armor: Traditional Weapons of India
by E. Jaiwant Paul, 2005.
"The Guru (Gorakhnath) gave him the khukri knife, the famous curved dagger of the present day Gurkhas. The legend continues that he told Bappa that he and his people would henceforth be called Gurkhas, the disciples of the Guru Gorakhnath (p.2)."
"Kukri, the curved knife with its two little skinning knives, its tinder and flint (p. 33)."
"They are armed with a musket with or without a bayonet, a sword, and stuck in their girdles is a crooked instrument called a Kookuree... (p. 39)” (account of Capt. Hearsay during Anglo-Nepal War, 1814-1816)
"...fleeing from the highland warriors kukris (p. 74)."
"It is interesting to note that the first VC won by a Gurkha was given because he saved the lives of his fellow soldiers, instead of killing the enemy during close quarter fighting with his kukri, which many would have anticipated ( p. 118)."
"Subedar Lal Bahadur Thapa in April, 1943, was to cause the Gurkhas to move into the limelight. He won his medal using pistol and kukri and story hit the headlines (p.129)."
Nepalese Gorkhas By Dr. R.K. Purthi;
New Delhi, 2007.
"Here, the Gorkhas sallied out of the Fort and attacked the British troops with Kukris, inflicting heavy casualties. ...Inspired by Bal Bhadra, these soldiers used their Kukris to neutralize the British (p. 47)."
"The origin of the Kukri is traced to Machira the cavalry sword of ancient Macedonians carried by Alexander`s horsemen, or to a similar form of blade of Greek sword Kopis. Few others feel it follows early Hindu weapons. Nepali scholars say that it was first used by the Malla rulers of the 13th century, but trace its links to sword construction in Japan. It is most likely that the peasants may have developed it in Nepal as multi-purpose weapon, themselves. (p.164)."
"Kukri was used by the soldiers of the Gorkha King, Prithvi Narayan Shah, very effectively during their invasion of Nepal valley in 1767-78. ...it remains practically un-replaceable by sword, saber or rapier. Kukri is the most often used weapon of close quarter battle and multi-purpose tool used by the Gorkhas (p. 165)."
"A slightly curved knife of normally 12,5 in (18 cm) length and 2 in (4 cm) wide at its greatest width, it is reverse of a saber, as its outer edge is unsharpened and the inner edge preforms the act of cutting. Normally made from steel by local blacksmiths (kami’s), it weighs approximately 500 g. The main Kukri being a sharp tool or weapon is normally kept in the scabbard, along with two small Kukris of 8 cm. In Nepal, the quality of steel, finish of the blade, material of the handle (wood, steel, ebonite or ivory) and cover of the scabbard in cloth, leather or velvet) not only indicate the intended use of the Kukri, but also the status of the person.
Every officer and soldier serving in a Gorkha unit has his own Kukri used for parades and other ceremonial occasions, while a certain numbers are also issued by the Government and kept as a reserve for various occasions, like sacrifice during dussehra. Contractors normally manufacture these.
While Kukri may vary in shape or length depending upon the purpose for which it is being manufactured, all of them have two notch near the handle and groove along the edge of the blade (p.165)."
" Carried tucked into waist band in the front when in civilian clothes, in uniform it is slung by a loop on the belt, at the back. A Gorkha learns to use kukri from childhood (p. 166)."
"Bigger size kukris are made for special occasions like Dussehra, and are used exclusively for sacrificing animals like buffalo, with one stroke. Kukri made from white metal, with silver plated scabbard, are also given as presents at important occasions by the Gorkhas or Gorkha Units (p.166)."
"Due to its significance for military bravery, Kukri forms an important part of the Regimental Badge and crest of every Gorkha unit, including that of Assam Rifles, though the positioning of Kukri may differ (p. 166)."
"A Gorkha carrying a Kukri (a right based on custom to a war like race which has no religious significance at all (p. 167)."
"Carrying of the Kukri by Gorkha soldiers is covered in the Tripartite Agreement of 1947 between Nepal, India and the UK (p. 167)."
"In 1882, it was re-designated as Assam Military Police and adopted a crest with two kukris (p. 169-170)."
"the Kukri wielding Gorkhas had created so much fear in the minds of the infiltrators that the task was carried out against light opposition (p. 198)" and "advance by Kukri wielding Gorkhas (p.225)."
The author has detailed accounts of the Kukri being used in all if not most post 1947 Indian Army conflicts;
1947-48 Jammu & Kashmir, 1948 Hyderabad, 1949 Aurangabad, Indo-china war 1962:
"In the absence of digging tools, the troops had to use Kukris and other implements to dig defenses’ and construct over head shelters using local wood (p. 231)."
"As the Gorkhas got down to preparing defenses’ at Rupa defile with their Kuris and mess tins... (p.238).”
Indo - Pak war 1965:
Gorkahs swept swiftly over the objective and giving free play to their Kukris quickly evicted an enemy rifles company and a mujahid company (. p. 283-4)
Indo - Pak war 1971:
"11 GR..., Rfn Dhoj Limbu engaged them, while Maj. Shekhawat and his men used their Kukris boldly (p.303)."
"Hav. Bir Bahadur Rai used his Kukris effectively (p. 316)."
"They (1/5 GR) attacked the depth locality with Kukris, as the village woke with the sound of the Gorkhas shouting, “Ayo Gorkhali”, a war cry which made the enemy lose their nerves (p. 321)."
"They (5/3 GR) began silently by using Kukris but by then the enemy was fully alert. ...continued to press the assault with Kukris... (p. 324)."
"The old fashioned Kukri wielding foot soldiers are becoming a relic of the past in a high technology military forces of modern times (p. 497)."
Gorkhas of the Indian Army by Lt Gen Y.M. Bammi;
New Delhi, 2009
" The kukri - a curved knife, commonly used by hill farmers in the Himalayas - has become synonymous with the Gurkha soldiers from Nepal.
It is the emblem of the Gurkha regiments in the British army and is a symbol of the Nepalese nation.
Gerald Davies, curator of the Gurkha Museum in Winchester said: "It is really the symbol of the kukri, the strength and loyalty of the Gurkhas that has continued to this day."
Pictures published of the Gurkhas sharpening their kukri were part of the propaganda war prior to the Falklands conflict, designed to instill fear into Argentine conscript soldiers who knew the fearsome reputation of their prospective enemy.
The Gurkhas are also currently fighting in Afghanistan as part of the NATO mission in the country and a kukri is still part of the standard kit of a Gurkha soldier.
The earliest record of a kukri goes back to 1627 but the design has not changed over the centuries.
Made by the Nepalese Kami clan of blacksmiths, an average kukri is 14-16 inches in
length with a steel blade and a wooden, bone or metal curved handle. Its compact size means less metal is used in its manufacture than a conventional sword.
It is also widely used utility instrument - handed down between generations for use around the hillside farms by Nepalese men and boys.
The distinctive indentation serves the practical purpose of preventing blood running down handle but also has a religious significance as at Dashain, the Hindu religious festival, a ceremonial version of the kukri, (a konra) is used to sever the head of an animal in one blow. A clean cut signifies good luck and wellbeing for those attending the ceremony.
The design is the perfect balance of weight allowing the full force of movement to be translated to into the blade.
Gerald Davies explains it is a slashing as well as a stabbing weapon: "It can be used in the hands of a skilled kukri operator to disembowel a horse - which they did in the olden days - or cut off an arm or even a head in battle."
Gerald Davies explained: "It has stood the test of time for nearly 200 years - representing Gurkhas serving the crown. Wherever that soldier has been, in any part of the world, the kukri has been used. Our enemies have known when they are up against a Gurkha because it the kukri that has been imprinted on their minds." "It links two countries in a unique situation which I think we should all be proud."
"Gurkha kukri knife's historic role in war and peace" in
BBC Hampshire & Isle of Wight , 15 January 2010.
"All habitually carry the national weapon the khukri (p. 34).2
"Buffaloes and goats are sacrificed by means of decapitation with a khukri....the decapitation of a fully-grown buffalo at one stroke of the khukri is a feat demanding no ordinary strength and skill (p. 70)."
"The Guru (Gorakhnath) gave him the Kukri (Khukuri) knife, the famous curved blade of the present day Gurkhas (p. 93)"
"Gorkha Regiments (India)...the regiments are famous for their use of the Khukri (p. 113).”
"...Emerging from the fort under the leadership of fort commander Bal Bhadra Kunwar, naked Khukuri’s in their hand and boldly marching...(p. 156)."
- The Gurkhas by Dr. R.K. Purthi, New Delhi, 2011
"The khukui, or kukri, as it has come to be known in the West, initially came to British attention during the first assault on Nepal by British and Indian troops in 1814. "
"...The soldier that did survive returned to camp with stories about comrades who had been `chopped down y a hook-like knife, possibly an agricultural implement.`"
"...a multi-purpose appliance used for cutting up food, tree felling, ritualistic animal slaughter as we as for combat, the kukri as been a staple tool of Nepalese life for hundred of years. A Nepalese boy will be given his first kukri around the age of five and, from then, he will start learning the skills needed to utilize it to its full capacity as a weapon and, more importantly, as a life-tool."
"...his kukri will ultimately become an extension of his arm."
"The kukri has a deep-rooted heritage with the Nepalese people as well as the
Gurkhas of the British Army and the Gorkhas of the Indian Army. A medium-length curved knife, the kukri is a close-quarter weapon with lethal capabilities, believed by many to be far superior to the bayonet, sword or pike..."
"Each knife the Kami make, although based around the same basic design, is individual to the man they are making it for."
"Legend has it that a kukri has never been broken in battle."
"The selective hardening of the steel spring with a high carbon content means that it remains durable while at the same time allowing the blade to flex without snapping, remaining so sharp that it can take an edge."
"Due to its size and versatile nature, the kukri is the Gurkha soldier`s weapon of choice. Long before Gurkhas became integrated with the British Army, these Nepalese fighters would happily go into combat with nothing more then their trusty blades."
“The kukri is to Nepal and Gurkhas what the Sword of Honour is to Britain`s military institutions. It is a symbol that is held in high regard for those soldiers fighting on the battlefield. The kukri has been adopted as the national weapon of honour and glory in Nepal and ranks of soldiers are distinguished from one and another by differently graded kukris; the higher-rank officers having elaborate patterns etched into their blades."
"The kukri is a royal affair; the kukris belonging to the senior members of Nepal`s royal family will be etched with even more elaborate patterns and will bear circular insignias that symbolize a high caste."
"Over the years the kukri has become a mystical weapon, something that, if written about in a children`s story, would have a mind of its own....it needs to be utilized professionally and with respect."
"The Kukri Knife" in Gurkhas: Better to die than live a coward, by Benita Estevez, 2012.
"Gorkha soldiers have long been known the world over for their valor and these Khukuri-wielding warriors winning the British many a battle have become folklore. ...A retired Indian Gorkha soldier recently revisited those glory days when he thwarted 40 robbers, killing three of them and injuring eight others, with his Khukuri during a train journey. He is in line to receive three gallantry awards from
the Indian government.
...He said the rest of the robbers fled after he killed three of them with his Khukuri and injured eight others.
...I am proud to be able to prove that a Gorkha soldier with a Khukuri is really a handful. I would have been a meek spectator had I not carried that Khukuri,” he said."
- "Lone Nepali Gorkha who subdued 40 train robbers" in
My Republica, Jan 13, 2013.
"Edged weapons were developed to function in foot or mounted combat. The primary battlefield function often determined the specific design of the weapon. In poorer societies the general populace frequently modified agricultural tools into weapons of war (p. 4)."
"...specific note of how battlefield need and geography influenced the design of the weapon....and the type of armor available to counter the blow of a knife or sword (p. 5.)."
"edged weapons are not randomly chosen bars of steel that can cut and kill. The difference between victory and defeat often lies in the soldier`s knowledge, skills, and fortitude; in how well he handles his weapon, but also in how well the weapon adheres to the laws of physics with respect to balance and motion (p. 7)."
"The kukri gave (and gives) the Gurkhas mental superiority over their enemy ...accounts of their use of the kukri for decapitation purposes that caused the enemy to surrender (p. 24)."
"The heavy-duty blade of the kukri is designed primarily for chopping. A distinguishing characteristic of a chopping knife is the curved edge." "According to one Gurkha sergeant, the shape of the kukri symbolizes the three Hindu gods of Brahma (the creator), Vishnu
(the caretaker of Heaven), and Shiva (the Destroyer of Evil) (p.31)."
"Philosophically the notch represents the sun and moon, symbols of Nepal, or the
female generative organ, which is said to give the blade strength and efficiency. The Gurkhas believed that a kukri used to kill an enemy captured a part of his soul, thus becoming a spirited sword.
The kukri has three primary uses; disarm, disable, and kill (p.34)."
"As a combat weapon the kukri has seen its greatest use in jungle warfare (p. 41)."
- "Kukris and Gurkhas" by Martina Sprague, 2013.
"The Khukuri, a semi curve metal knife, is synonymous with the valor of legendary Gurkha soldier. It is probably the most functional knife in existence, due to its unique design. This formidable blade is the national weapon of Nepal (p.40)."
"...Khukuri has great historical and religious significance. You can discover thousands of myths and legends behind it (p.40)."
"Most Khukuri keep their name from the place where they made such as Bhojpure, Dhankute, chainpure, Ankhhola, Salyani, Piuthani in different size 4” to 36” long blade (largest knife made in Nepal). There are the Bishwakarmas or Kami’s (metal smith), the untouchable cast, who make the Kuhukuris. Khukuri making is one of the oldest profession of Kami. There is another different clan called Sarki who makes scabbard of Sheath (Dap) (p.40)."
"The knife is made only from high-grade carbon steel often taken from a railway line or truck spring. A Khukuri handle is usually made from rosewood, buffalo horns or metal such as Aluminum, Brass, in some cases ivory and Antler are also
used for making the handle. The common scabbard is made from leather or wood...(p.40)."
"Most Khukuri’s feature two little knives attached at the back of the sheath held either in a built-in-pocket or a leather purse. The small sharp knife is a karda. Besides being used to hone the master bade, it serves for small cutting jobs. Perhaps the most unusual task it has is at the time of a child`s birth: the Karda is then used to cut the umbilical cord. Afterwards the knife is placed at the side of the cot to ward off evil spirits. The other knife is called a Chakmak. It is blunt and once rubbed against stone will produce enough sparks to start a fire (p.41)."
"None of us know the fact as to how the Khukuri originated and where it was developed. The place of origin has been lost into the times gone by (p.41)."
"Another thing that adds to the magic of the Khukuri is the cultural and religious significance that has worked its way into the knife.
...the crescent-moon shaped notch as the base of the blade. Some say it is a fertility symbol or a lock for securing the Khukuri in its sheath. Others say it is to interrupt the flow of blood down onto the handle.
The notch of the Khukuri near the hilt is said the trident of the Hindu god Shiva..., it has various other meanings such as cow tract, the sexual apparatus of Hindu gods and goddesses, the sun and the moon, the symbols of Nepal (p. 41)."
"The Gurkhas (Nepalese Army, British Gurkhas Regiments, Indian Gurkha Army are considered as real Gurkhas) who did more than anybody to bring this knife to the attention of the world (p. 41)."
"Nepalese people traditionally carry the Khukuri when travelling beyond their homeland. ...The Khukuri is also the peaceful all purpose knife of the hill people of Nepal. It is a versatile working tool and therefore an indispensable possession of almost every household and travellers (p. 41)."
“The Khukuri – Edge of Myth & Legends,” by Tilak Sunar, in
Travel Nepal, Jan. 2014, Kathmandu, Nepal, pp. 40-41.
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