The Ruthless Nihang Sikhs
via Lazer Horse
The Nihang Sikhs are an armed Sikh order famed for their bravery and ruthlessness. Throughout Sikh history the Nihang have faced many a battle where numbers have not been in their favour and still been victorious due to their skill, venom and ingenious methodology.
The term Nihang comes from an old Persian word meaning ‘mythical sea creature’ because they were thought to fight with the same ferocity as crocodiles.
Nowadays the Nihang are more famous for their natty attire, being bathed permanently in electric blue – the colour of Shiva. Mix the dashing blue with steel and iron adornments and a massive sword and you’ve got yourself a super strong look.
The impressively large turbans – dastar bunga – weren’t just for show though. The metallic projections could be used for stabbing at close quarters. Sometimes they would be armed with an iron claw or embedded with chakram (a circular, sharp-edged throwing weapon) to slice at opponents eyes. Here’s a Nihang from the 1860’s:
Nihang still carry representations of their five historic weapons – the chakram, the khanda (sword), the karud (dagger), the kirpan (another dagger) and the tir (arrow). But their weapons are called into use less often these days and are more ceremonial than warmongering. Having said that, in times of war the Nihang would be called to action, it is their duty to defend the faith. Their special fighting style is called shastara vidiya.
With a reputation as squeaky clean dare devils the Nihang have got quite a name to uphold. However, some consume cannabis (bhanga) to “get close to god” which is frowned upon by most Sikhs. No one wants a stoned martial artist with a heavily armed turban rolling about in their vicinity.
As you can imagine, wearing a ferocious blue outfit and being known as a super hard fighter is a popular choice for young Sikhs and not all have joined the flock for righteous reasons; many do not follow the blessed path. Sikhs at large are concerned that the Nihang are now diluted with stoner psychos with no spiritual knowledge at all.