The word “thug” comes from “thuggee,” the name of a cult of muslims that terrorized people in India until they were outlawed only very recently. Here’re some of the passages from Wikipedia’s entry:
Thuggee or tuggee (Hindi: Nepali ठग्गी ṭhagī; Urdu: ٹھگ; Sanskrit: sthaga; Sindhi: ٺوڳي، ٺڳ; Kannada: ಠಕ್ಕ thakka) refers to the acts of Thugs, an organized gang of professional assassins. [Editor’s note: the word “assassin” itself is sometimes associated with “hashish.” The point: All these concepts of murder and mayhem have their origins in either drugs, insanity or some other derangement.]
The Thugs travelled in groups across India for six hundred years. Although the Thugs traced their origin to seven Muslim tribes, Hindus appear to have been associated with them at an early period. They were first mentioned in Ẓiyāʾ-ud-Dīn Baranī’s History of Fīrūz Shāh dated around 1356. In the 1830s they were targeted for eradication by William Bentinck and his chief captain William Henry Sleeman. They were seemingly destroyed by this effort.
The Thugs would join travelers and gain their confidence. This would allow them to then surprise and strangle their victims by pulling a handkerchief or noose tight around their necks. They would then rob their victims of valuables and bury their bodies. This led them to also be called Phansigar (English: using a noose), a term more commonly used in southern India.The term Thuggee is derived from Hindi word ठग, or ṭhag, which means “thief”. Related words are the verb thugna, “to deceive”, from Sanskrit स्थग sthaga “cunning, sly, fraudulent“, from स्थगति sthagati “he conceals”. This term for a particular kind of murder and robbery of travellers is popular in South Asia and particularly in India.
Some more loveliness? Here’s how they used to do their dirty work:
The modus operandi was to join a caravan and become accepted as bona-fide travellers themselves. The Thugs would need to delay any attack until their fellow travellers had dropped the initial wariness of the newcomers and had been lulled into a false sense of security, gaining their trust. Once the travellers had allowed the Thugs to join them and disperse amongst them – a task which might sometimes, depending on the size of the target group, require accompaniment for hundreds of miles – the Thugs would wait for a suitable place and time before killing and robbing them.
There were obviously variations on this theme. When tackling a large group, a Thuggee band might disperse along a route and join a group in stages, concealing their acquaintanceship, such that they could come to outnumber their intended victims by small, non-threatening increments. If the travellers had doubts about any one party, they might confide their worries to another party of the same Thuggee band. The trusted band would thus be the best placed to deal with these members of the caravan at the appropriate time, but might also be able to advise their colleagues to ‘back off’ or otherwise modify their behavior, to allay suspicion.
The killing place would need to be remote from local observers and suitable to prevent escape (e.g., backed against a river). Thugs tended to develop favored places of execution, called beles. They knew the geography of these places well—better than their victims. They needed to, if they were to anticipate the likely escape routes and hiding-places of the quicker-witted and more determined of the travellers.
The timing might be at night or during a rest-break, when the travellers would be busy with chores and when the background cries and noise would mask any sounds of alarm. A quick and quiet method, which left no stains and required no special weapons, was strangulation. This method is particularly associated with Thuggee and led to the Thugs also being referred to as the Phansigars, or “noose-operators”, and simply as “stranglers” by British troops. Usually two or three Thugs would strangle one traveller. The Thugs would then need to dispose of the bodies: they might bury them or might throw them into a nearby well.
The leader of a gang was called the “Jemadar“.
They usually killed their victims in darkness while the Thugs made music or noise to escape discovery. If burying bodies close to a well-travelled trade-route, they would need to disguise the “earthworks” of their graveyard as a camp-site, tamping down the covering mounds and leaving some items of rubbish or remnants of a fire to “explain” the disturbances and obscure the burials.
One reason given for the Thuggee success in avoiding detection and capture so often and over such long periods of time is a self-discipline and restraint in avoiding groups of travellers on shorter journeys, even if they seemed laden with suitable plunder. Choosing only travellers far from home gave more time until the alarm was raised and the distance made it less likely that colleagues would follow on to investigate the disappearances. Another reason given is the high degree of teamwork and co-ordination both during the infiltration phase and at the moment of attack.
I wonder what their death toll was. Well, here’s what Wikipedia says about it:
Estimates of the total number of victims vary widely, since no reliable source confirms the length of the Thugs’ existence. According to the Guinness Book of Records the Thuggee cult was responsible for approximately 2,000,000 deaths, while British historian Mike Dash states that they killed 50,000 persons in total over an estimated 150 years. According to political scientist David C. Rapoport an estimate of 500,000 were killed by the Thugs, making them the most destructive terrorist group in history.According to other estimates, the Thugs murdered 1 million people. [Editor’s Note: Muslims are — and continue to be — “the most destructive terrorist group in history.” The west should make this fact known, and flog it for all it’s worth. There’s nothing wrong with launching a multi-pronged campaign against muslim terrorism. Potential recruits just might be susceptible to shaming. Still others might be dissuaded from joining if the world pronounces anathema against today’s successors to the thuggees.]
Yearly figures for the early 19th century are better documented, but even they are inaccurate estimates. For example, gang leader Behram has often been considered the world’s most prolific serial killer, blamed for 931 killings between 1790 and 1830. Reference to contemporary manuscript sources, however, shows that Behram actually gave inconsistent statements regarding the number of murders he had committed.
While he did state that he had “been present at” 931 killings committed by his gang of 25 to 50 men, elsewhere he admitted that he had personally strangled around 125 people. Having turned King’s Evidence and informing on his former companions, Behram never stood trial for any of the killings attributed to him, the total of which must thus remain a matter of dispute.
Imperialism, it turns out, wasn’t always bad:
The Thuggees were suppressed by the British rulers of India in the 1830s. The arrival of the British and their rigorous methods to fight crime meant the techniques of the Thugs had met their match. Suddenly, the mysterious disappearances were mysteries no longer and it became clear how even large caravans could be infiltrated by apparently small groups that were in fact acting in concert. Once the techniques were known to all travellers, the element of surprise was gone and the attacks became botched, until the hunters became the hunted.
Reasons for success included:
- Reports regarding Thuggee activities were circulated through all the territories of British India borders, so that each administrator was made aware of new Thuggee methods as soon as they were put in practice. This made it possible to warn travellers and advise them on possible counter-measures.
- At a time when, even in Britain, policing was in its infancy, the British set up a dedicated police force, the Thuggee and Dacoity Department, and special tribunals that prevented local influence from affecting criminal proceedings.
- The British authorities allowed captured Thuggees to turn King’s (or Queen’s) evidence to save their own lives by informing on their accomplices. This undermined the code of silence that protected members.
- The Thuggee Department applied the new detective methods to record the locations of attacks, the time of day or circumstances of the attack, the size of group, the approach to the victims and the behaviour of the Thuggees after the attacks. In this way, a single informant, belonging to one gang in one region, might yield details that would be applicable to most, or all, gangs in a region or indeed across all India.
And finally, a way forward for today:
The initiative of suppression was due largely to the efforts of the civil servant William Sleeman, who captured “Feringhea” (also called Syeed Amir Ali, on whom the novel Confessions of a Thug is based), and got him to turn King’s evidence. He took Sleeman to a grave with a hundred bodies, told him the circumstances of the killings, and named the Thugs who had done it.
After initial investigations confirmed what Feringhea had said, Sleeman started an extensive campaign involving profiling and intelligence. [Editor’s Note: Notice how the entry indicates that “profiling” was an important part of getting rid of the thuggee cult?] The Government of India established the Thuggee and Dacoity Department in 1835, with Sleeman appointed the first Superintendent. Thousands of men were either put in prison, executed, or expelled from British India.
The campaign was made heavy used on captured Thugs who became informants. These informants were offered protection on the condition that they told everything that they knew. By the 1870s, the Thug cult was extinct, but the history of Thuggee led to the Criminal Tribes Act (CTA) of 1871. Although the CTA was repealed upon Indian independence, the concept of criminal tribes and criminal castes is still present in India. The Thuggee and Dacoity Department remained in existence until 1904, when it was replaced by the Central Criminal Intelligence Department (CID).
First, it’s obvious that the psychotic thuggee cult never actually disappeared, but lives on in Al Qaeda and ISIS and Hamas and in the suburbs of Paris, and in enclaves in America and in innumerable other groups of gibbering baboons.
Second, we really need today’s William Sleeman. We have the informants. We know of the mass graves and other depradations.
We need our own thuggee suppression effort in the west. It should be obvious that these scum need to be eradicated once and for all.
The most important part of all this: there is a long, continuous history of unimaginable brutality that leads directly from the founding of islam to today, and is carried forward in the above-mentioned groups.
They didn’t just one day decide, “Hey, I know, let’s crucify some people! That’ll shock ’em in the west!” They came to that conclusion, because they had been raised in a tradition that made crucifixion and beheadings and rape okay.