Archive for the ‘arms and weapons’ Category

Guns for pleasure, anyone? Aabhas Sharma

February 24, 2007
Source: Rediff.com

On a recent visit to Munger, a small town in Bihar, my cabbie, speaking in a thick Bihari accent, decided to play guide, “Munger has one of the biggest gun factories in India, and guns are easily available here,” he pointed out matter-of-factly.

But forget Munger, what about the rest of the country? If one has to buy a licensed firearm, what are the choices and what are the prices? While a majority of arms dealers are tightlipped about the subject, there are a few who are more willing to divulge information.

Shyam Sodhi, owner of Delhi Arms and Armoury, feels, “It is a floundering business which has suffered a lot in the last 10 years or so.”

Sixty-year-old Sodhi, who has been running his shop since 1966, admits that there are months when he doesn’t sell a single weapon and other times when he sells four-five of them. “The most popular weapons these days are revolvers and shotguns.”

But since import of weapons was stopped almost two decades back, the guns in his shops keep doing the rounds. “We have old guns and sometimes people even leave weapons with us, after the owner has died, for safe custody,” he says.

Sodhi’s shop houses everything from the weapon world including revolvers like Beretta, Walther and Smith, Browning (these are imported), to rifles and shot guns. The business, however, faces a massive lull.

Shabbir Bandookwala, proprietor of India Arms in Mumbai’s Crawford Market, feels that most people who buy guns these days, buy them for reasons of security.

He bemoans the strict rules and regulations that govern the procurement of weapons. “There was a time when we used to have frequent visitors looking for hunting rifles, but these days we only manage to sell shotguns and revolvers.” The import of guns, he informs, was prohibited by the Indian government almost two decades back, in 1986.

But still, these imported weapons cost quite a bit so although people are left with a choice of only old weapons, the supply is scarce. An imported Beretta .32 revolver, for instance, will cost around Rs 300,000 and a Browning .32 would be Rs 280,000.

On the other hand, the ones available from the Indian Ordinance Factory will come for Rs 70,000 or so.

Similarly, a pump action shot gun would cost Rs 30,000 from the IOF and if you want an imported one, then it would cost Rs 200,000. A .315 rifle from the IOF will cost around Rs 40,000 while an imported one can be yours to shoot at around Rs 250,000.

Among imported revolvers and pistols, Smith and Wesson, Walthers and Brownings are still the preferred choice for most. Apart from revolvers, there are pistols available too, but most people don’t usually opt for them. A .22 Beretta pistol, which Sodhi terms a “ladies’ weapon”, costs around Rs 150,000.

It is not only in big cities like Delhi or Mumbai where dealers are finding it tough to sustain business. Smaller cities like Bhopal, which was once considered a hunting ground for licenced firearms, has seen business dwindle steadily over the years.

“The nawabs and those from royal families who required guns for hunting purposes would purchase their guns here. But now we don’t manage to sell guns for months together,” says a licensed arms dealer in Bhopal.

For the record, it’s the same story in towns like Kanpur and Meerut, once considered favourite spots for buying arms and ammunition.

The only way gun shop dealers can now deal in imported weapons is to wait for professional shooters to sell their guns. That makes sense because renowned shooters are still permitted to import guns and ammunition from abroad. Sodhi says that one of the biggest global markets in this sphere is Italy.

It is not guns alone, because getting ammo is as difficult a task. The cartridges are available at IOF but that, say experts, can prove an arduous task. A bullet for a pump action shot gun costs around Rs 40.

But where is the market for arms and ammunition, given that hunting is banned?

Experts say that guns, rifles and shotguns are usually procured by banks and security agencies for their professional duties.

And even as Indian guns of reasonable quality are being manufactured in places like Munger, Jammu, Kanrut district in Assam, Kolkata, Kanpur, and Jabalpur, it is imported firearms that people still desire. So who says a gun can’t be for keeps?

Getting a licence

Getting a gun licence is a big task. In Delhi, an application for a license has to be submitted to the DCP/Licencing with the required forms, photographs, other relevant documents and the approval of the local SHO.

The SHO or the local police station has to give the person a clean chit after checking (in negative) for any criminal history.

After that there is a verification process and if one gets through that then a licence can be issued to the person.

How to get a weapon ?

Source: India Today

  • The applicant has to approach a police commissioner’s office or the district magistrate, fill a standard form stating he/she needs a weapon for self-protection or sport. He has to prove the need for self-protection by producing a written police complaint or prove a history of threats.
  • However, the unwritten rule is that only those with the right connections can actually get a licence—a Member of Parliament, for instance, can recommend a gun licence.
  • The police, however, must be convinced that the applicant has a genuine need for the weapon and that he/she has no criminal record.
  • Once the licence is issued, the applicant can buy the weapon directly from ordnance factories, another licence holder, authorised gun dealers or import the weapon.

Delhi alone has 40,000 licenced weapons. According to reports, 8,801 cases relating to the Arms Act were registered in Delhi in last two years. Little wonder then that in 2007 alone, 35 people were shot dead by firearms in the Capital. Says a senior Delhi police officer, “In Delhi, the number of licenced weapons is 40,000 but the number of illegal firearms is double.
Licenced weapons are mostly used in cases of suicide or domestic violence.” The situation in Mumbai is no different. While records show that only 71 licences were issued in 2006 and only 90 have been handed out till now this year, the ground reality is quite different. people have easy access to country-made revolvers that enter the state from Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and other northern states. Country-made guns have almost become a cottage industry in several parts of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar

Cities like Hyderabad and Chennai have not remained untouched by this culture of violence. Gunshots rang through the campus of Deccan College of Engineering and Technology, Hyderabad, in April this year when Umedullah Khan, a second-year engineering student opened fire on Mukarram Ali Siddiqui, a rival student leader.
In October last year, Chennai was shaken by the murder of a Marwari businessman Menak Chand, who was allegedly shot dead with a 9mm Chinese pistol by his wife Pramila Devi.

Shoot out

  • November 27, 2007
    City: Mumbai
    Crime:The jilted lover of a 23-year-old model Moushami Das arrived at her apartment and shot dead her mother and uncle and then ended his own life.
  • October 29, 2007
    City: Mumbai
    Crime: Sibling rivalry ended in bloodshed when hotelier Lalit D’Souza shot and wounded his sister Lorna over a parking spot dispute.
  • October 29, 2007
    City: Delhi
    Crime: Delhi-based builder Sulekh Malik’s son Varun was allegedly shot dead in the posh Vasant Kunj market area by his friend Moti, who later surrendered in the city court.
  • September 2007
    City: Mumbai
    Crime: Hotel owner Mohan Shetty reportedly shot at his younger brother Manohar at their advocate’s office over a long festering property dispute.
  • April 2007
    City: Hyderabad
    Crime: In a shootout on the campus of Deccan College of Engineering and Technology, Umedullah Khan opened fire on fellow student Mukarram Ali Siddiqui.
  • October 23, 2006
    City: Chennai
    Crime: Marwari businessman Menak Chand was allegedly shot dead with a 9mm Chinese pistol by his wife Pramila Devi.

Antique arms collector held by ATS

Courtesy:TOI
4 Nov 2008, 0325 hrs IST, TNN

PUNE: Pune-based Rakesh Dhawade, arrested on Sunday by the state ATS investigating the Malegaon blast, is an arms and armour expert who has been
collecting, studying, documenting and conserving historical Indian weapons.

His collection of historical arms and armour includes nearly 2,000 items.

Some of the rare articles forming part of Dhawade’s collection are a sword, approximately 300 years old, with the Devi Kavach ‘stotra’ inscribed on its hilt; a 700-year-old Nepali sword belonging to a royal family; a matchlock gun, over 300 years old; and spears and armour for women.

Dhawade’s ancestors were primarily engaged in the manufacture of weapons during the age of Chhatrapati Shivaji. The Dhawade clan also finds mention in the Shivcharitra, considered the most authentic document on the great Maratha king, as well as in the Peshwa archives. Fond of fashioning weapons from copper wires since childhood, Dhawade’s talent for making imitations of Indian weapons received support from his school teachers in Pune.

In an interview to TOI in 2005 about his collection of arms and armour, Dhawade had declared, “I was born to promote and propagate the richness of Indian historical arms to GenNext.”

According to him, he is the only Indian member of the Arms and Armour Society, London. He was also a consultant for the Aamir Khan-starrer ‘The Rising’, centred on the 1857 Uprising hero Mangal Pandey, where he had provided guidance on the weapons used in Pandey’s era.

“No other country has as much variety of weapons as India has had. Although these weapons are outdated today, they spell out the metallurgy, sociology, economy and even the psychology of their respective eras,” he had state.

Pursuing his passion, Dhawade has traversed India twice and visited the UK, Russia and Tajikistan in search of weapons.

On his way back to Pune after participating in an exhibition in Allahabad a few years back, when dacoits struck the Prayag Express, Dhawade fought the thugs to defend his hard-earned assets, quite like a Hindi film protagonist.

Dhawade had said that he wanted to set up an exclusive museum for arms and armour. “We have also scientifically made replicas of the weapons for research,” Dhawade had said. Dhawade has also made a mark internationally – he challenged and proved the apt usage of one of the swords kept in the Reserve Collection of the renowned Victoria and Albert Museum (the V&A), London. He proved that the sword, which was wrongly identified as a sacrificial sword, was indeed a fighting one.

For his work, the Nehru Trust for Indian Collections at the V&A had bestowed on him the UK Travel Award 2000-2001.

ARM COLLECTIONS IN THE ORISSA STATE MUSEUM

Source: Orissa govt
R. K. Mishra
The story of weapons is intimately connected with the story of mankind. Born armed but not weaponed man is obliged to arm himself with weapons both for the purpose of offence and defence. The arming of man all over the world began in the remote past when the primitive man fashioned crude weapons from pebbles and stones not only to protect himself from the ferocious beasts but also to augment his food supply by hunting. With the passage of time he brought about sophistication in them and used these weapons for all his domestic and external needs. With the gradual development and discovery of mater like copper and bronze (C.2500 B.C. in India), he hammered or cast his metalic weapons which he used to greater effect when iron came to be known in India around 1000 B.C. it brought about a revolution in the art of weaponry. Several kingdoms were razed to the ground and vast empire built on their ruins with the power
of the weapons.

This study of Arms and Weapons absorbs interest to a large and ever increasing number of people inasmuch as it appeals in a marked degree to a student of history, the antiquarian and to those who worked in the art of military science.

Weapons form the basis for a certain aspect of history and pre-requisite for changing the face of the world through various wars. This study constitutes a subject in writing the history of a nation.

Orissa State Museum has acquired a good number of traditional weapons of war like swords, guns, cannons, daggers, spears, bows, battle axes, shields, etc. These weapons are under display in a separate Armoury Gallery.

Representing several varieties, the Museum has choicest species of swords and talwars which are generally carved towards the end and has cutting edge. The Khadga variety of swords normally straight with blunt end and having double cutting edges. It is usually very heavy. Patta forms another type with a long handle and can pierce through the body of the enemy. There are two inscribed swords collected from Narasinghpur and Baramba Palace which deserves special mention. The first one belongs to Muslim Period having curved with hilt, oval grip and straight quillion. The back edge bears a persian inscription having an inscribed name of ‘Saha Alam Badshah’.

The second one belongs to Gajapati Period. The hilt has a brass grip with gold coated inscription beginning with “Om Ganesayah Namah” in proto Oriya character and presumably a verse from Vishnu Sahasranama. The use of jewels like gold coating in arms is peculiar in India. These are studded to enhance the beauty, elegancy and richness of the swords. The hilts of the swords are fashioned with costly metal with engraving of floral devises and animal figures. The blades have decorated designs and inscribed letters. The greatest amount of ornamentation is lavished upon armours and personal weapons of kings and emperors. Some metalic weapons are engraved, enamelled, perforated and embelished in many forms. Some of the hilts are made of ivory, steel , horn, fish teeth, etc.

The gallery is enriched with display of varieties of matchlocks, flint guns, muzzle load and rifles. The Marahattas used matchlocks, pistols and rifles. These guns are generally large and heavy. The long barrel of the matchlock is usually attached with the stock by leather stripe and strengthened with side plates of steels. These are traditional types used by the soldiers of the royal armies during these days. Gun powder is generally pressed inside their long barrels and then fired. The prize collection in the gallery is the personal gun of Utkal Gaurav Madhusudan Das, the maker of Modern Orissa. There are about 30 numbers of small and big cannons displayed in the gallery.

These fire arms are generally of Mughal and Marahatta Period. It may be mentioned here that the development of fire arms made Mughals very effective. Guns and cannons mounted each on a wheel carriage were later introduced from Europe and convenient devices were added in the Mughal Army by Akbar. Eight big cannons were recovered from Barabati Fort area of Cuttack district and brought to the Museum. Two big cannons were brought from Lalbag Palace, Cuttack at the instance of Shri A. N. Khosla the then Governor of Orissa during 1969. Lalbag originally a seat of Mughal Governors was subsequently converted to Governor House of Orissa.

Ten number of daggers have been displayed in the gallery. Some of the daggers are assorted variety with hilts of ivory bones, agate and metal. Some daggers are curved and straight. Jamdhar, a popular variety of daggers have a beautiful handle and broad straight blade. The blade is thick with two cutting edges having a breadth of three inches at the hilt. The handle bars are very often enamelled and display decorative designs. Spears and javelines are coveted weapons for riders and cavaliers and fixed to the saddle through iron chains. Ballam which were another popular variety consisted of several varieties. They are constituted of metal and are very slender and could easily be thrown. The blade is round in two sides, three sides and even more. The blade is in the shape of vertical narrow leaf. The blade of those weapons are attached to long bamboo and hurled on the foe when they are used for attack. The State Museum preserves a good number of these weapons datable to Mughal and Marahatta Period. Some of them have been provided with a leather strap to facilitate their hanging from shoulder of the armed personnel. The shafts of many of these weapons are decorated with gold and silver workmanship.

Among the defensive weapons in the collection there are circular shields of different varieties made of hide and metals to protect the body from close range when attacked by the enemy.The shields are made of the skin of Rhinoceros, buffalo, tortoise, tigers and are elaborately decorated and damascened with gold, cresents and murals. At subsequent periods metal seems to have been used in the fabrication of shields with both iron and copper. The shape of the shields are ordinarily circular. The diametre ranges from 18th to 20 inches. At time they are fitted with four or six steel brussed on thin surface.

The gallery is enriched with good collection of battle axes. Axes are dreadful weapons which could create havoc when used in the war but in later period they were outdated. The battle axe consisted of a short wooden shaft with a shouldered blade attached to it on the side near the top. The battle axes were very much prevelent among soldiers of Mughal and Marahatta army.

A large number of old weapons have still been stored in the old palaces, private collections, local zamindars and feudatory chiefs and ex-State rulers which can be collected and preserved in the armoury gallery in a thematic order.

References :
1. Military History of India–J. N. Sircar
2. Studies in Indian Warfare and Weapons–G. N. Pant
3. National Museum Bulletin–No. IV, V and VI.
4. Glimpses of Orissan Art & Culture (Golden Jubilee Issue)–O.H.R.J. Vol. XXX No. 2, 3 & 4.
5. Military History of Orissa–Dr. R. P. Mohapatra.
6. Indian Arms and Armour–Vol. I & II–G. N. Pant.
7. Military History of India–B. C. Kar.
Curator
Orissa State Museum
Bhubaneswar

Arms, weapons gallery planned in State museum

Source The Hindu
J.S. Ifthekhar

  • Work order issued to set it up at a cost of Rs.10 lakhs
  • Gun used by Tipu Sultan will be the main attraction for visitors
  • 200 swords, blades, guns, cannons, etc. to be displayed

HYDERABAD: An exclusive arms and weapons gallery is being planned in the Andhra Pradesh State Museum in Public Gardens here. Work order has been issued for the Rs. 10-lakh gallery, which is expected to be ready by March end.

Two hundred swords, blades, guns, daggers, bayonets, cannons, pistols belonging to the 18th and 20th century will be on display on the second floor . The weaponry is now lying in the reserve collection of the museum. Attractive display panels are being designed to showcase the armaments, which represent the evolution and usage of weapons of domestic, carpentry, agricultural and war.

Some of these arms were exhibited earlier along with other things. “Now it is proposed to have a separate gallery,” said J. Kedareshwari, Director, Archaeology and Museums.

The gun used by Tipu Sultan will be the main attraction for visitors. It has an inscription in golden letters and a symbol of the tiger. The arms of Deccan of medieval and late medieval periods comprise mainly of war weapons such as battleaxes, swords, daggers, `jambias’, curved swords, lancers, it is said.

During the last two-and-a-half years the department has completely reorganised 16 galleries in the museum at a whopping cost of Rs. 2 crores.

District museums
The department is going in a big way to set up district museums to highlight the evolution, heritage and culture of the particular district. As part of this plan it is proposed to open museums at Vishakapatnam and Vizianagaram on May 18 coinciding with the International Museum Day, Dr. Kedareshwari said.

For the first time, the latter will have a `Hall of Fame’ to showcase important personalities of the district.