Is Gatka Not A Real Weapon?

(Amrit Pal Singh ‘Amrit’)

(Read The Meaning of Word Gatka for explanation of term ‘Gatka’).

Sometime, a few persons try to say that ‘Gatka’ is not a real weapon. It seems that their only intention is to establish themselves as experts of Sikh martial arts. They even sometime succeed to establish themselves as experts, but only in circles of ignorants of Indian and Sikh traditions.

Before we reach the conclusion if Gatka is a real weapon or not, we need to understand what a weapon is.

A weapon is an instrument of attack or defense in a combat. I would rather say that any thing, which is designed, or can be used for inflicting bodily harm, is a weapon.

Is a wheel of chariot a weapon? One would say, “No, not at all”. Lord Krishn used a wheel of a chariot as his weapon in the battle of Mahabharat. It was the ability of a warrior (Krishn) that he used a wheel effectively as a weapon. If a person is sufficiently not expert and courageous, then even a sword or spear is but a toy, not a weapon for him. Otherwise, a few self-styled Nihangs would not have sought Police protection in Punjab, though such Nihangs keep many weapons. There is no use of such exhibition of weapons, if one cannot use them to protect himself.

Let me permit quoting Sarbloh Granth. The word Kutka has been mentioned along with other weapons in this book: –

Phari As Dhhaar Kutka Lohaangi Chhuri Saihathi.


Barchhi Bhasudi Garheeya Bhairav Chakti Chaprha As Saang Sipar.
Tomar Sail Chhuri Bichhuya Gun Baan Khatang Shamsher Tabar.
Kaati KutKa Mungra Sota Taral Taal Bisaal Khanda Charam.
Dhan Saayak Chaap Silimukh Ghoch Jamdaarh Sipar Bichhuya Balam.

Not only Kutka, but Sota (club) too is mentioned in stanza given above.

‘Kutka’, ‘Sota’, ‘Lashtika’ and ‘Laathhi’ (stick) are mentioned with other weapons in Sarbloh Granth. Sarbloh Granth mentions mighty warriors using even Gulel (catapult), Brichh (tree), stones and mountains as their weapons in different battles: –

Garha Bajr Gulel Chhauti Chhipri.
Gada Grisht Chakr Naal Triselang Mandri.
Sahithi Sool Kuthhaar Jambuya Bhangri.
Moosal Brichh Pahaar Lashtika Mudagri.


Kaheen Sota, Kaheen Laathi, Kaheen Chakti Chale Bheekham.


Mer Mudgar Taal Paathar Vage Kotan Kot.
Sail Prabat Guraj Gophan Gadaa Jamdhar Sot.

We have a historic reference, when Kutka was used in a battle. It was battle of Bhangaani, the first battle fought by Guru Gobind Singh Ji himself. Kripal Das took part in this battle and used Kutka as his weapon. He hit Kutka on head of Hayat Khan and killed him on the spot. Description of this battle is found in Sri Dasam Granth Sahib Ji, where we find these lines: –

Kripaal Kopeeang Kutko Sambhaaree.
Hathhee Khaan Hyaat Ke See Jhaaree.
Uthhee Chhichh Ichhang Kadhha Mejh zorang.
Mano Maakhang Matkee Kahn Phorang.7.

(Catching hold of Kutka, Kripal got full of wrath. He hit it {Kutka} on head of Hayat Khan. The brains of Hayat Khan erupted from his skull in such a way, as if Krishn breaking the pitcher have brought the butter out of it). (Chapter 8, ‘Apuni Katha’, Bachitra Natak, Sri Dasam Granth Sahib).

It is clear from the quotes given above that ‘Kutka’, ‘Sota’, ‘Lashtika’ and ‘Laathhi’ (stick) and ‘Gulel’ (catapult) etc are real weapons, which had been used in various battles.

Actually, a few self-styled experts of Sikh martial arts follow Mahan Kosh without considering other facts. When they find that Mahan Kosh says that Gatka is used to teach; they think it is used to teach only. They accept views given in Mahan Kosh that Gatka is used to teach, but they then go further and ‘to teach’ becomes ‘training with sword and shield’. At last, they reach on conclusion that ‘Gatka’ is merely a training system or so.

The word Gatka is considered a synonymous with Pata. Now, please allow me to quote Sarbloh Granth, in which Pata has been mentioned being used as a weapon in various battles. The word Pata has been used in this Granth many times. Here are only a few examples: –

1. Pata Phekant. Bichhuya Khedant.

2. Sela Daarat. Hreh Hakaarat. Pata Bhramaavat. Saang Pathhaavat.

3. Kaheen Bichhuya, Kaheen Naavak, Kaheen Pata, Gulel, Moosar.

4. Banaiti, Pata, Lastik, Bhind, Chharh, Bhaala, Kaat, Sooya Dhhallam.

5. Lakut, Saif, Pata, Banaiti, Sool Tichh Kripaan He.

In Mahan Kosh, where the term Gatka is explained, Phari also is mentioned. In Sarbloh Granth, even Phari is mentioned among weapons used in battles: –

Phari As Dhhaar Kutka Lohaangi Chhuri Saihathi.

In Indian and Sikh tradition, when even Gulel (catapult), Brichh (tree), stones and mountains are considered weapons, there is no reason to believe that Gatka is not a real weapon.