Miloserdov D. (2015).  K voprosu o pravomochnosti ispol’zovanija termina «karud» [The Question of the Relevance of the Term “Karud”]. Istoricheskoe oruzhievedenie [Weapons History Journal], № 2, pp. 88 — 101.

Miloserdov D.


The article deals with a combat knife now known as karud which is common in the Northern India, Afghanistan and les frequently in Central Asia. The knife blade is straight (though sometimes it could have a slight curve) with T-shape cross-section. The back wedge is also straight and sometimes decorated with a delicate chiseling. Its long massive and thick blade accurately terminating to the handle part rapidly widens in two centimeters to the handle which is usually very heavy. The handle consists of two grip panels that in Afghanistan are usually made of horn ornamented with grooves. This knife differs vividly from another combat knife called pish-kabz which was widestread in Central Asia, Iran and Northern India. It seems to have functioned in Afghanistan too but evidently very rarely. Pish-kabz blade is usually also of T-shape cross-section. It is getting wider along the entire length with acute angle to the back and also widens rapidly at the very handle part. The handle is of two grip panels usually made of bone or less often of jade (axe-stone) and horn. The visual difference between karud and pish-kabz is apparent while careful analysis of literature on weapon studying showed the lack of consensus between scholars on whether pish-kabz and karud are the separate variants of a combat knife or these are just the terms used to determine the same weapon in different regions. Absence of investigations on the etymology of the word karudto the contrary to famous term pish-kabzhas been the main problem by now. On studying written sources some interesting information has been revealed proving the separate usage of the term. For instance “karud” is mentioned in the compendium of languages in India published in 1820 where the word was used as a variant for “knife”. Besides Sir Alexander Burnes, a traveler, investigator and intelligent officer, describing an afghan natural caracture in his book “Cabool: a personal narrative of a journey to, and residence in that city in the years 1836, 7 and 8” mentions: “The impatience of an Afghan is proverbial. He has a homely expression, “Not to use the wager of the knife” (shurt i karud ), that is, to seek to cut his melon before he buys it”. The same is in Russian “not to sell the bear’s skin before one has caught the bear” or English “first catch your hare then cook him”. On the ground of these data with a degree of certainty it is possible to state the term karud to have been used and even define a certain type of knives functioned on the territory of Northern India, Afghanistan and rarely in Central Asia.

Keywords: karud, pish-kabz, a combat knife, weapons, Afghanistan, India, Central Asia.