Ever heard of those famous Damascus swords (aka Wootz swords) that were all the rage in 17th century Europe? Well, you’ll be surprised to find that this steel was first manufactured in India!
Wootz swords are made of wootz steel which is a slight variation of normal steel. It is stronger and more durable than the steel manufactured at the time.
Experts say that the word 'wootz' was actually a misspelling of the word 'wook', which was derived from the Tamil word for steel, 'urukku'. Another sign that India’s swords were famous for their quality was the Persian phrase 'Jawab e Hind', meaning 'an Indian answer', referring to a cut with an Indian sword.
These swords originated in the kingdom of the Chera Dynasty. The reason for the swords being known as Damascus swords was the export of the swords from India to Damascus, the capital of Syria. From here, they were sold worldwide, so they came to be known as Damascus or Wootz swords.
But you might ask, what was so great about these swords? Why were they so different from the swords of Europe? During a face-off between Salaudin and Richard the Great, Salaudin held out his sword, allowing a silk scarf to fall on it. Without any force applied by him, the scarf was cut into two. Richard the Great accepted defeat and stated that a sword that could do such a thing was wonderful indeed. Salaudin’s sword was, in fact, made out of Wootz steel.
And yet another famous example of a Wootz sword is the famous sword of Tipu Sultan, which he lost in a battle. It was famous for easily beheading a person, which could not be done by a normal steel sword.
These swords were known for being the best in the world, just like the place they came from! Jai Hind! So proud to be an Indian!
Author : Kavitha Kannan | Teacher @ BVM International School