An ornamental pata with a 41" (104 cm) blade
|Place of origin||India|
|Used by||Rajputs, Mughals, Marathas|
|Length||10–44 inches (25–112 cm)|
|Hilt type||Gauntlet type|
The pata or patta (Marathi:दांडपट्टा, Hindi: पट) is an Indian sword with a gauntlet integrated as a handguard. Often referred to in its native Marathi as a dandpatta, it is commonly called a gauntlet-sword in English.
Traditionally, Maratha warriors were trained to fight with dual pata by bearing one in each hand. Alternatively, a single pata was used in addition to a belt, javelin, or axe in the other hand. The sword was also used by cavalry soldiers for its thrusting ability and was found more effective when two soldiers fought together as pairs.
One of the best pata collections can be seen at the Durbar Hall, Shiva Nivas Palace, at Udaipur, Rajasthan. The erstwhile rulers—the royal family of Mewar—owns the collection. It is displayed along with many other bladed weapons.
Created during the Mughal period, the pata's use in warfare appears to be mostly restricted to the 17th century when the Marathas came into prominence. Ranging in length from 10 to 44 inches, it was considered to be a highly effective weapon for infantrymen against heavily armoured cavalry. Folklore has it that a Maratha soldier would use the dandpatta when encircled, so as to maximize the casualties on the opposition, before he fell. The founder of the Maratha Empire, Emperor Shivaji, was reputedly trained in the art of fighting with pata. One of his generals, Tanaji Malusare, wielded the weapon with both hands during the Battle of Sinhagad, before one of his hands was cut off by the Rajput Udaybhan Singh Rathod.
In the Battle of Pratapgad, when Afzal Khan's bodyguard Sayyed Banda attacked Shivaji with swords, Emperor Shivaji's bodyguard Jiva Mahala fatally struck him down, cutting off one of Sayyed Banda's hands with a dandpatta. Akbar also used a pata during the siege of Gujarat. The Rajput warriors are known to have used this weapon very effectively during the Mughal period. The Mughals also developed a variation of the pata with matchlock pistols adjoining the handle.
In popular culture
In the 1988 film Willow first Airk Thaughbaer and then Madmartigan wield a pata during the climatic fight scenes.
- "Maratha Pata Gauntlet Sword". www.arms2armor.com. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
- "The Pata and the Manople -- Gauntlet Swords". netsword.com. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
- "Swords History - 17th Century AD". www.knightsedge.com. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
- "History of Indian swords". www.swordhistory.info. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
- Media related to Pata swords at Wikimedia Commons