A Nihang bodyguard serving in the Nizam of Hyderabad's irregular Sikh army, 1865

A Nihang bodyguard serving in the Nizam of Hyderabad's irregular Sikh army, 1865

8.99

Albumen print by Captain W. W. Hooper &
Surgeon G. Western [Toor Collection]

A3 (420 x 297 mm)
170 gsm illustration printing paper (specially chosen for its excellent anti-aging and anti-yellowing properties)
This print is a faithful reproduction of the original
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About the Print

This mesmerising portrait shows a prodigiously armed Nihang warrior. In his right hand he holds a khanda sword, and in his left a ball and chain flail, used in close combat to ensnare an opponent's weapon, or to bring down horses and their riders. The all-steel chillanum dagger in his cummerbund is traditionally associated with southern India. He also wears a shield, a second sword and a pistol, the butt of which is visible under his left arm. His peculiarly tied battle-turban is fortified with razor-sharp steel quoits, miniature sword blades and steel chains.

His intense stare coupled with his curled-up moustache gives him a singular air of energy and vigour typical of the Akali-Nihangs. According to a contemporary British officer who met them in Hyderabad, these warriors were revered by the other Sikhs who served in their ranks: 'It is only in the native states, at Hyderabad in the Deccan, for instance, where the Akalees in all their pristine fierceness and defiance of order are to be met with; and their wild figures when in the company with bands of their own countrymen who serve as soldiers, are always very remarkable.'


Published in In the Master's Presence: The Sikhs of Hazoor Sahib (Vol. 1)