LETHAL WEAPONS

Girish Jadav displays his expansive collection of ancient weaponry from the Maratha period to Rishi Majumder

Photographer: Faheem Mulla


girish jadhav
“As a child, what struck me most about Shivaji Maharaj’s picture was the punch dagger in his waist band. I felt the Chattrapati really liked that dagger he was always clutching. And what he liked I must like too.”
Girish Jadhav, a 58-yearold senior manager with a multinational company, strikes a pose from the Hanmanti school of sword fighting (an ancient school followed by the Maratha army), holding an 11th century punch dagger. He jumps and twirls, forming a perfect semi-arc to demonstrate an ideal thrust, which the weapon was designed for. He does this deftly, in little space, because the small room he lives in at Pune is crowded with three beds besides his own, occupied by three other lodgers he shares it with. He keeps a bundle of
weapons here
in the corner of a
shared cupboard. His one room-kitchen residence in Kurla, Mumbai, where his wife and children stay, contains 700-odd antique weapons, from the 11th century onwards, belonging to the period in between the rise and the fall of the Maratha empire.
The collection comprises different kinds of punch daggers, swords, sword handles, shields, spears, war axes, arrows, tiger claws, head gear, battle armour, kukris and some pistols. His weapons collection has seen 180 exhibitions throughout the country and won him many awards
and medals from historians and government bodies. On
his desk in Pune lie some sample weapons he has shortlisted to be sent to London, for a possible exhibition. Next to these lie notes for a book he’s working on, to be titled A History Of Arms. And next to those lie information to be sent to Nitin Desai (the man behind
many a Bollywood historical) for a serial he’s producing on Shivaji, along with Jadav’s many weapons, which will serve as models for duplicate weapons to be made for the serial.
Jadhav’s first antique weapon, “obviously the Maratha punch dagger”, was bought at age 30 in Pune’s Old Bazaar. “I knew exactly where to find it, because I had scoured the market for it, for many years,” he remembers. “I had dreamt of buying it since childhood, but had to wait till I had earned enough money.” Eventually 40 weapons followed. “Then friends and colleagues started talking about what I had, at business meetings even,” he says. “And I became a ‘collector’.” A friend got some school children to see his collec
tion. “One of them told his history teacher, who asked me for an exhibition in his school,” he relates. “And the idea of holding exhibitions for the public hit me.”
His marketing job enabled him to travel to towns which were valuable sources for weapons from the Maratha period. “I was particularly interested in places where wars were fought during this period,” he says. While it took him many excursions to a Surat warehouse to procure a Pre-British muzzle loading gun-powder pistol, a 400-year-old Turkish Yataghan sword whose jade hilt was embedded with diamonds, rubies and gold (worth many lakhs of rupees) was gifted to him
by Madhukar More. A constant aide was famed Maratha historian Babasaheb Purandhare, who contributed with his own knowledge on the era. “Discussions with him opened a new world to me,” Jadhav recounts. “I saw the link between weapons, history, places and the character of people and politics in today’s India.” His final step in this direction was learning to swordfight as the Marathas did then. “I went to Kolhapur to ask people, ‘Who knows Hanmanti?'” he says. “When some youngsters who knew the art started demonstrating, I filmed it to learn the moves.” Endless attempts in this direction led to finding Katkade Guruji, who taught him the art properly.
Jadhav was not privileged enough to pursue the low-paying career of a professional historian. Yet his historical and cultural roots clutched at him too much to let him remain a 9 to 5 executive. “I didn’t buy a colour TV, long after everyone else in my salary bracket had, because I needed to purchase tiger claws,” he says as he begins to tear up. “I saw my children having to sneak into other’s living room windows to catch their favourite serial. Yet they never once asked me to forsake my passion.” Ironically the same roots that prompt such passion, prompted a mob in Mazagaon to
scream “Jaanta Raja” while burning a hut housing Muslim women and children. “No person who loves a subject can misuse it,” comments Jadhav uncompromisingly. “An understanding of history will show you how to connect people, not how to divide them by caste, class, religion… or even region.”

a part of the girish jadhav collection

This article first appeared in Mumbai Mirror, Times Of India: http://alturl.com/ucay

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19 comments

  1. jaymala diddee · January 22, 2010

    Please let me have Girish Jadhav,s e-mail and contact no. Iam working on an Atlas of Maratha Empire

  2. jaymala diddee · January 22, 2010

    I enjoyed reading reading the blog on Girish Jadhav. please let me have his e-mail and contact no. I am working on an atlas of maratha empire

  3. jaymala diddee · January 22, 2010

    Enjoyed reading Girish Jadhav,s blog please let me have his email and contact no, I am working on an Atlas of Maratha Empire

    • rishimajumder · October 25, 2011

      have mailed u…

  4. mandar · March 10, 2010

    i have dr. girish jadhav’s contct no.

    • prasad nagare · September 24, 2010

      if u hav his number pls send me on prasadnagare@gmail.com

      • rishimajumder · October 25, 2011

        have mailed u.

    • nilesha · January 7, 2012

      hi mandar ,
      my name is nilesha
      if u have dr. girish jadhavs contct no. please send me on 9930487635.

      thanks

      nilesha

  5. prasad nagare · September 24, 2010

    mala ek pradarshan bharavayche ahe tyat mala mardaani khel ani maharajanchya killyanche pratikruti banavun tya vishayee mahiti dyaychi ahe ………jar ashi konati sanshta mahiti asalyaas krupaya mala mail karavva hi namr vinanti ………pls send me the number or mail id on prasadnagare@gmail.com

  6. Nandita moitra · January 29, 2011

    sir , could you please give me Girish jadav`s contact no as i want to invite him in my college

    • Rahul Salvi · March 1, 2011

      Hi Nandita,

      If U want to invite Girish Sir to U R collage, kindly provide the details for the same.

      Rgdzs
      Rahul Salvi

      • Siddhant Tiwari · October 25, 2011

        Sir,
        I am a student of BITS Pilani- Goa Campus. Our annual techno-management fest, QUARK will be held in February 2012. We are inclined to hold a historical weapons exhibition by Mr. Girish Jadhav. If you could please provide his contact details, the organizers will be able to talk to him.
        My email id: siddhant.tiwari1994@gmail.com

      • rishimajumder · October 25, 2011

        Hi,

        Sorry… haven’t been checking the blog for a while. Have mailed you.

    • rishimajumder · October 25, 2011

      Mailed u… not been checking blog for a while. Sorry.

      • Siddhant Tiwari · October 30, 2011

        Thanks a lot, sir.

  7. Siddhant Tiwari · October 11, 2011

    Hi,
    I am a student of BITS Pilani- K. K. Birla Goa Campus.
    Our annual techno-management fest QUARK will be held in February, 2012. We wish to have a historical weapons exhibition during the fest. Could you pls provide Mr. Girish Jadhav’s contact details so that the organizers can discuss with him the prospect of a weapons exhibition.

    Regards,
    Siddhant Tiwari

  8. NILESHA ARUN SAKAT · January 6, 2012

    dear sir please send me GIRISH SIR mobile no. or email id .
    i very very crezi about maratha swarajya and swords. so please send me details.

    thanks
    nilesha
    9930487635

  9. nilesha · January 7, 2012

    hi my name is nilesha,
    anybady if you have dr. girish jadhavs contact no. or mail id please seno me on nilesha.sakat@gmail.com or callme on 9930487635

  10. Rajathh B Sampat · September 22, 2012

    Dear Mr. Majumder,
    I request that you please send me the contact numbers and email ID of Mr. Jadhav, I just saw a picture of his exhibition at a Grant road school yesterday, I missed it. I would be honored to meet him as I am a minor collector myself. Warm regards Rajathh

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