Kurochkin A. J. Fakir’s Crutch

Aleksey J. Kurochkin
Journal of Historical Weapons Research
Moscow, Russia 
E-mail: a.y.kurochkin@gmail.com


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ABSTRACT. The article deals with culturally signifi cant objects, which, since the beginning of the colonial period in India, have been referred to as ‘fakir’s crutches’. These artifacts played an important part in the spiritual and physical trainings of Indian warrior ascetics and were essential attributes of both religious and secular power in India. The author has managed to identify and describe a fakir’s crutch from the collections of Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera). Previously, in the museum inventory book, the item was erroneously registered as a ‘wooden agricultural tool’. The author analyzes the main varieties of fakir’s rest crutches used by different Indian ascetic schools, as well as by secular rulers. He discusses their materials and structural details, and looks into the existing nomenclature of fakir’s crutches. He points out, among other things, the fallacy of the interpretation of the term zafar takiye that has become widespread and fi xed. Meanwhile, this term’s correct translation reveals the true purpose of these objects. The author also provides and comments on other terms used in the major Indian languages for such fakir rests. He considers the semantic aspects associated with the control over personal lives and deaths in case of ascetic trainings, and with manipulating others’ lives and deaths in case of secular rulers.


KEYWORDS: fakir’s crutch, warrior ascetics, zafar takiye, daṇḍa, symbol of power ALEKSEY J.


УДК 39(540)
DOI 10.31250/2618-8619-2020-3(9)-34-42



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