What's the history of the Thuggees of India?
I wasn't aware until this evening that the word thug, & it's meaning come from this evil cult. So what's their story?
Thugs are thugs - meaning dacoits and there is no such thing as Thug or Thuggee cult. They are a group of people who did organized dacoitery in the late 17th century and early 18th century - especially on the people who travel on roads.
Just like the sea pirates who are organized groups and who does this as an profession, once upon a time in India it was done by a group of people. With the advancement in technology, education, more policing and general awareness this practice is virtually non-existent now.
Even if it is done, it is a crime by the rule of law and proper action will be taken against the culprits.
So it is a more of age old myth (partly fueled by the ignorant British) and nothing else.
Thugs or Thuggee: Organized gangs of criminals in India who preyed upon trade caravans. They would strangle and then rob travelers, burying the bodies of their victims beside the road.
The Thugs may have come into existence as early as the 13th century CE. Although members of the group came from both Hindu and Muslim backgrounds, and all different castes, they shared in worship of the Hindu goddess of destruction, Kali. (Whether or not they had religious motivations for their actions is a subject of on-going debate, but certainly they performed rituals related to "The Dark One.")
British colonial officials during the British Raj in India were horrified by the depredations of the Thugs, and set out to suppress the murderous cult. They set up a special police force specifically to hunt the Thugs, and publicized any information about Thuggee movements so that travelers would not be taken unawares. Thousands of accused Thugs were arrested and executed or sent into exile. By 1870, most people believe that the Thugs had been destroyed.
The word "Thug" comes from the Urdu thagi, which is taken from the Sanskrit sthaga meaning "scoundrel" or "cunning one." In southern India, the Thugs are also known as Phansigar, signifying "strangler" or "user of a garotte." According to legend, many Thugs would use their head-scarves to strangle their victims.
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