Before answering the actual question, let us mention some of the great and famous knives of the world: Bowie Knife, Stiletto, Scimitar, Roman Sword, Samurai, Machete and so on. All have played great historical roles because of their cutting edge.
Khukuri is the most famous of them all. It is partly so because of the romance and myths behind them utterly unbelievable. Actually, it is because of the decisive slashing edge of the Khukuri which became well-known to those who had to face it in the well-documented battlefields since 1814 when the British in India first experienced its effectiveness when they faced the Gurkhas in Western Nepal. Thus was born the legends and romance. The history is something else.
Khukuri is the national knife of Nepal, originating in ancient times. It is all-purpose knife of the hill peoples of Nepal, especially the Magars and Gurungs in the west, and the Rais and Limbus in the east. These peoples are called the Gurkhas who form the formidable Brigades of Gurkhas both in the British and Indian Armies, not talking of the Royal Nepal Army itself. It is a medium-length curved knife each Gurkha soldier carries with him in uniform and in battle. In his grip, it is a formidable razor-shape weapon and a cutting tool. In fact, it is an extension of his arm. When his rifle misfires, or when his bullets have run out, a Gurkha unsheathes his Khukuri and makes his final “do-ir-die” run on the enemy in a fury to finish the business. This scene created the romance and the legends. What it really did, and still does, is a superclean slaughter. The enemy tumbles down in two clean pieces and is surprise! Because of the kindest, quietest death.
The Khukuri is carried in a wooden (often leather covered) stealth. There are two tiny knives tucked behind it.
Karda: A small knife tucked behind the scabbard, its main purpose is to cut small things and also work as a skinning knife.
Chakmak: A sharpener tucked behind the scabbard. It can be used as a flint maker also.
Notch: the notch near the handle on the blade is a Hindu fertility symbol. It is also the footprint of a cow (cow is a secret animal in Hindu religion). So the notch forbid slaughtering ecret animal with it. The gurkhas also kept promises with it tha they will never use thisweapon on women and children. Nevertheless., the knife being the lethal weapon, the notch on it is for the blood to dip and not to soil the holder's hand, so the user can maintain his grip for futher demonstration.
THE KHUKRI :: The Gurkha's National Weapon
The Gurkha is worthy of notice, if only for the remarkable weapon which they use in preference to any o
Junior NCO, Nepal Army, 1970s
ther. It is called 'Kukri' and is of a very peculiar shape. As may be seen by referene to the drawings both the blade and hilt are curved. The blade is very thick at the back, measuring a little more than a quarter of an inch in thickness. From the back it is thinned of gradually to the edge, which has a curve of its own, quite different to that of the back, so that the blade is widest as well as thickest in the middle, and tapers ar one end towards the hilt, and at the other towards the point. The steel of which the blade is formed is of admirable temper, as is shown by the fact that specimens which had not been cleaned for thirty years, but have been hung upon wall samong other weapons, are scarcely touched with rust, and for the greater part of their surface are burnished like mirrors. The handle is made after a very remarkable fashion, and the portion which forms the hilt is so small that it shows the size of the hand for which it was intended. This smallness of hilt is common to all Indian swords, which cannot be grashped by an ordinary English soldier. Indeed the Gurkhas are so small, that their hands, like those of all Indian reaces, are very delicate, about the same size as those of an English boy of seven. The point of the Kukri is as sharp as a needle, so that the weapon andwers equally for cutting or stabbing. In consequence of the great thickness of the meta, the blade is exceedingly heavy. It may be imagined that a blow from such a weapon as this must be a very terrible one. The very weight of the blade would drive it half through a man's arm if it were only allowed to fall from a little height. But the Gurkhas have a mode of striking which resembles the 'drawing' cut of the broadsword, and which urges the sharp edge through flesh and bone alike.
Before passing to the mode in which the kukri is used, it should ne mentioned that it is not employed for domestic purposes, being too highly valued by the owner. For such purposes two smaller knives are used, of very similiar form, but apparently of inferior metal. These are kept in little case with the knives attached to a Highlander's drik.
In the hands of an experienced wielder this knife is about as formidable a weapon as can ne conceived. Like all really good weapons, its efficiency depends much more upon the skill than the strength of the wielder, and thus it heppends that the little Gurkha, a mere boy in point of stature, will cut to pieces a gigantic advcersary who does not understand his mode of onset. The Gurkha generally strikes upwards with the kukri, possibly in order to avoid wounding himself should his blow fail, and possibly because an upward cut is just the one that can be least guarded against.
When we were engaged in the many wars in India the Gurkha proved themselves out most formidable enemies, as since they have proved themselves most invaluable allies. Brave as lions, active as monkeys and fierce as tigers, the little wiry little men came leaping over the ground to the attack, moving so quickly, and keeping so far apart from each other, they musketry was no use against them. When they came near the soldiers, they suddenly crouched to the ground, dived under the beonets, struck upwards at the men with their kukris, ripping them off with a single blow, and then, after having done all the mischief in their power, darting off as rapidly as they had come. Until our men learned by their little opponents, who got under their weapons, cutting or slashing with knives as sharp as razors, and often escaping unhurt from the midst of bayonets. They would also dash under the bellies of the officers' horses, rip them open with one blow of the kukri, and aim another at the leg of the officer as he and his horse fell together.