Manuals on weapon-training from Bengal’s Revolutionary period are rare. Along with Lathikhela o asisiksha (fighting with sticks and sword-play), this volume brings together the publicity-shy Pulin Behari Das’ life-long research and practice—unpublished manuscripts on training with the long-stick, knife and dagger, on archery, and free-hand self-defence (jujutsu). A rare instruction manual, Barolathi ba raibansh khela (on the long-stick and Raybansh), written by Das’ student, Jyotirmay Deb Ray Thakur of Dhaka-Bikrampur, and a brief list of forgotten Bengali strongmen compiled by Samar Basu are appended here. This is an indispensable source-book for those interested in the history of stick-fighting and armed martial training in Bengal.
Pulin Behari Das was one of the founders of the Dhaka Anushilan Samiti, and the first on the Indian subcontinent to research the use of weapons. His vast illustrated account of and manual on the use of weapons is singular in the history of armed martial practice in India, and possibly the world. Das was largely responsible for the development and dissemination of an indigenous and synthesized tradition of armed martial practice. The present collection is testimony to that almost forgotten history.
Editors: Deeptanil Ray and Nikhilesh Bhattacharya.