Pointy Black Lethal Hat

There are no words. Well, there are some words, and those were them.

Akali Turban with quoits

Behold the terrifying “towering fortress”-style headgear of the warriors of the Akali – literally “army of the immortal”. Immortal compared to whoever was going up against them, anyway.

The circular structures upon the hat are known in English as quoits. But these are not your average harmless garden party game. No, these hit the lawn dart end of the lethality spectrum and kept accelerating.

These are chakram, circular devices intended to protect the wearer from harm. Defensively, by acting as head armour, and offensively, because he can whip them off, twirl them around a finger, and hurl them at someone else with a flick of the wrist. These are basically 360 degree hat shivs.

This hat also features a multi-bladed trident (known as an elephant-grappler), something that looks like a rope with metal chunks on the end, a double-ended fighting knife, and a “tiger claw” which looks like a cross between brass knuckles and, yes, a tiger’s murder mittens. Ouch.

The wearer of such a head-mounted armoury would also likely be wearing sharp-edged iron bracelets, a couple of swords, a dagger, another chakram round his neck, and iron-tipped pointy shoes. But all this would only be deployed as backup to his primary weapon, a bow or spear.

A Sikh Hooper Western 1860s

All in all, this is not a hat you want to mess with, despite being just the sort of thing that would be a massive hit with the wizards of Unseen University, should steampunk become the target of their sartorial ambitions. In fact, given the usual method of promotion being stepping into a dead man’s (pointy, and possibly iron-tipped) shoes, this might be just the killer look they’ve been searching for.

It is worth noting that unlike the denizens of Unseen University, the Akali – also known as the Nihang – are non-fictional. Present-day Nihangs still wear five weapons in their no-longer-quite-so-towering turbans (a chakram, a straight sword, a curved sword, a dagger, and an arrow) but, fortunately for the safety of all concerned, the modern editions are also miniatures.

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