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limits will allow, to lay before our readers vagrant bands are descended the seven clans a summary of information, upon the above of Mohammedan Thugs, Bhys, Bursote, Ka. plan, drawn not only from Captain Slee. chunec, Huttar, Ganoo, and Tundell, who, by man's book, but also froin some official do- the common consent of all Thugs throughout cuments in which the kindness of a friend India, whether Hindoos or Mohammedans,
are admitted to be the most ancient, and the has allowed us access. And here, in limine, great original trunk upon which all the others we beg to assure our readers, that ive shall have at different times and in different places avoid, as much as possible, introducing ori- been grafted. Bands of these vagrants, under ental words and terms: and that of those various denominations, are to be found in all which are unavoidably mentioned, the mean- parts of India, but are most numerous, I be. ing will be given, either in a parenthesis lieve, to the north and west. They all retain, immediately following, or in a note.
in some degree, their pristine habits and The Thugs,* or Phansigars
, for they are they allow their women to assist in the mur.
usages; and, taking their families with them, known by both names, and by other desig- ders which they perpetrate in their encampnations, in the south of India, appear to be of ments; but they have always some other os. remote origin. Herodotus, in his Polymnia, tensible employment; and as the other Thugs, mentions, as a part of the army with which who live amongst, and cannot be distinguish Xerxes invaded Greece, a pastoral people, of ed from other men, say, 'they live in the dePersian descent, whose only offensive wea
sert, and their deeds are not known.'"-p. 11. pons were, a dagger and a cord, made of The people mentioned, both by Herodotus twisted leather, with a noose at one end. — and Thevenot, must have been very differWith this cord they entangled their enemics ent from the present race of Thugs, and or their horses, and, when they got them more resembling the Guachos, with their down, easily put them to death. Thevenot, lassos, in South America, whom Captain who published his travels in 1787, speak. Head so well describes. In the south of ing of the road between Agra and Delhi, India there is a class of Thugs, who claim observes,
to have sprung up in that part, and profess
neither to be descended from nor instructed "The cunningest robbers in the world are in that country. They use a certain rope,
by, those of Delhi, whom they consider as with a running noose, which they can cast an inferior race; and with whom they will with so much sleight about a man's neck not intermarry. These Thugs are divided when they are within reach of him, that they into various tribes; but as it would be of never fail, so that they strangle him in a trice, little use to trouble our readers with a long &c. &c. But, besides that, there are men in list of hard and foreign names, we shall only those quarters so skilful in casting the snare, mention one or two who may have any pethat they succeed as well at a distance as near culiar characteristic. at hand; and if an ox, or any other beast belonging to a caravan run away, they fail not
“Of these are the Mooltaneas, a class of to catch it by the neck." Quoted by Captain Thugs, all Moossulmans, who are said to have sleeman, p. 10.
emigrated direct from Delhi, and not through
Agra, and therefore not among the Agureeas. On this our author remarks :
They are said to call themselves Naiks, and “Now, though there is a vast interval of to travel and trade as Brinjaras, (corn-mertime between the Persian invasion of Greece chants.) They kill the greatest part of their and the travels of Thevenot, and of space survive to marry out of their own class.
female children, and never allow those who between the seat of the Sagarti and that of the ancient capital of India, I am inelined to They travel with their families, and strangle think that the vagrant bands who, in the six-travellers with the cords with which they are teenth century, infested the roads, as above accustomed
to drive their bullocks; and not, described, between Delhi and Agra, came
like other Thugs, with the handkerchief.from some wild tribe and country of the kind; considered strict in their observances, and
They are among the ancient Thugs, and are and I feel, myself, no doubt that from these
staunch to their oath of secrecy''--p. 117. * The actual meaning of the word T-Hug is The Mooteeas, who reside chiefly about Cunning, in which sense alone it is still used in Rungpoor, Dinapoor, and Purnea, derive the Himalayah and other remote parts of India. their
name from their custom of giving their P-hansigar signifies a man with a noose; from leaders a handful (mooteea) out of every P-hansi, a noose.
The th and ph are not pron cash booty, over and above what they renounced as commonly in English, but with the p and t aspirated, like ibe t-h of pot-hook. ceive in the general division.
Neither of the foregoing, however, can be considered as an original derivation, any more than
“The Sooseas, a class of Thugs of the Dha. the Tatar of our last Number, (p. 410.) These nuk, or lowest Hindoo caste, who call thempoints will be explained on a future occasion, selves Naiks and Thories, and reside in vari. when it will be shown, that much of the imputed ous parts of Malwa and Rajpootana. They Slang of the Thugs is, in reality, the corrupted have been increasing in numbers for many relics of an ancient tongue.-Ed.
generations, though they are not considered
very ancient; and, from their low caste, are tection of the chief, which they have purlooked down upon by all the other classes of chased, enables them to be less scrupulous. Thugs, who never eat with them, though of. ten associated with them in their expedi- their trade near home, but make long jour.
Generally speaking, they do not carry on tions."-p. 132.
neys lo a distant country. To this, however, The seven original clans, who were all there are some exceptions, as observed by Mahoinmedans, and from whom all others Captain Sleeman in the following note. are supposed to be derived, are called, col. lectively, Sat Ryut. Some say they derived
“In the district between the Ganges and their descent from seven brothers about Del: the Jumna, there were some associations of hi. • Mussulman Thugs, all over India, are who made short and frequent excursions.
Thugs that seldom went far from home, and found to trace their descent from one or other So the Jumaldesee Thugs of Oude and the of these great stocks; to be able to do so be- neighbouring districts ; so some of the Thu ing a mark of superiority. It is worth re families in Bundelcund. Generally, however mark, that there is, near Delhi, the tomb of the Thugs north of the Nerbudda have been, a great saint, called Nizam Ooddeen Oulea, in the habit of making long expeditions, and who died in October, 1325, A. D. This tomb remaining absent from six to eight months on is visited by Mahommedan pilgrims from all each.”—App. p. 331. parts of India, as a place of great sanctity, They are usually found in gangs of from from containing the remains of so holy a ten to fifty; sometimes in much larger num. man; but the Thugs all make votive offer. bers, even to five or six hundred, but this is ings to it, as being the tomb of the most re. rare; and even when the gangs are so large, nowned Thug of his day. His known la- they very rarely remain together, except for vish expenditure, so much beyond his osten. a day or two, at a rendezvous. They sible means, seems to indicate a dishonest divide into different parties, who either follow means of obtaining money; although he each other at intervals
, or take different contrived to propagate the idea that he was routes; each party following its prey, as far supplied from heaven.
as it can singly, and collecting together when One strange circumstance, supposing the any work is to be done which requires a idea to be correct that the Thugs v'ere ori. larger force. They assume a variety of dis. ginally Mahommedans, is, that their princi. guises, and appear in various characters. pal deity is of Hindoo origin; and that their Sometimes that of ordinary inoffensive travelsuperstitions and ceremonies are much more lers; at others, that of people going to seek similar to those of the Hindoos than of the for service ; at others, that of native soldiers, Mussulmans. But it is of little importance either going on, or returning from, leave; to to discuss this point in the present paper. make which story more plausible, the leaders Although some classes greatly predominate, would even take the trouble to learn the the Thugs now comprise men of almost English drill
, while their associates passed every class and caste in India. This, how- for recruits. Occasionally, the head of the ever, is an infringement on their strict rules, gang would assume the appearance of a which forbid the admission into the frater- wealthy merchant, the rest passing for his nity of low castes. Their habits and cant servants and attendants. In such cases, the language are generally similar, as also their very horses, bullocks, and carts, belonging modes of proceeding; so that they may be 10 those who were murdered, were added to described as one class. Any peculiarity of his establishment, both to increase his consethose of any part of the country, which may quence and carry his plunder. But a small be worth mentioning, will be noted hereafter. portion of them carry arms, the less to excite Thugs are to be found in almost every pro- suspicion. They sometimes assume the apvince, from the Punjab and the foot of the pearance of natives of rank, or of govern. Himalayah to Cape Comorin. They have ment servants. nothing peculiar in appearance to distin. To enable our readers to understand how guish them from ordinary inhabitants. In such proceedings exist, it may be necessary some villages their profession is not avows 10 explain, in a few words, the Indian mode edly known to the rest of the residents, but, of travelling. Such conveniences as stage as a blind, they cultivate a small portion of coaches, public wagons, and boats, (exceptland; and when questioned as to their ab- ing the Ganges steamers just established by sence for months every year, pretend that government,) do not exist. There are not they go out to service; it being very com- even any conveyances which a person may mon for some classes to leave their homes hire from stage to stage, unless in a very few for several months every year in search of parts of the country, where a traveller might, employment. At other places, where they for a short distance, be supplied at each stage are well known to the inhabitants, the pro. with a pony which would go ut the rate of
about three miles an hour ; and he could dred or even a thousand miles. Large sums hire a few porters to carry his baggage. of treasure or jewellery, amounting some. The only attempt at any thing like travelling times to several thousand pounds at a time, posts is by going in a palkee (Anglice, pa. are constantly dispatched by the bankers of lanquin) carried by bearers.
one town to their correspondents at several Travelling dak, or in a palanquin, is a hundred miles distance, by the hands of commode of conveyance only available to the mon porters. These men, instead of going rich. A palkee holds but one, and the charge in large parties well armed, usually travel in is never less than one, sometimes two, shil- small numbers, without any arms whatever; lings a mile, as dear as posting in England. trusting for protection to the appearance of The traveller is obliged to give from two to utmost poverty which they assume. They, five days' notice to the postmaster, according however, often fall victims to the ruthless 10 the distance; and the average rate of pro. vigilance of the Thugs. ceeding is about four miles an hour.
There are but few inns or serais in India ; In ordinary journeying in India, the travel the best of them consist but of a quadrangle Jer is obliged 10 carry every thing with him. of arches or arcades. Some of these, raised If a rich man accompanied by his family, under the Mahommedan princes, are beautihis goings forth are like those of the patri. ful speciments of Oriental architecture, with archs of old, with his " flocks and herds, his lofty gateways and battlements; but the camels, and his beasts of burden, his men. greater part are more like what are built on servants and his maidservants ;" he travels the foundation of a new street in London, to on his own horses, or on an elephant, while be afterwards converted into cellars. Under his tents, beds, cooking vessels, &c., &c., are the native rulers, these buildings were rather carried on camels or in carts. Some of his numerous and kept in tolerable order; a attendants accompany him on horseback, or regular establishment of guards and servants on ponies; and ihe rest walk, at the rate of was maintained at them; and there were ten or twelve miles a day. Should he travel private doors and apartments for women. by water, he hires a comfortable boat for Our readers, who are familiar with Oriental himself and his family, with as many more tales and the Arabian Nights, will remember as he requires for his kitchen and baggage, them, under the name of caravanserais or and embarks with all his retinue. Individu- khans, as the scene of so many of the ad. als of less wealth convey their property in a ventures therein described. Under the ex. few carts, and are content to sleep and eat tortion of the earlier English government in under the shelter of trees, or of one of those India, however, and the consequent impover. magnificent groves, mango and others, which ishment of the country, all have suffered, are found at a few miles interval in many more or less, and many of the most splendid parts of India.
According to the rank or are gone entirely to ruin. There are gene. wealth of the individual, his mode of travel. rally a few shops within the square; and, in ling and number of attendants varies; some places of considerable thoroughfare, a few have only a pony to carry their baggage, people of a class called Buttearas, who cook while they walk on foot; and the poorest dinners for travellers. Where there are no not only walk, but carry their own stores, serais, travellers sleep in the verandahs of consisting of a blanket or quilt for a bed, a houses or in any open sheds they can find; pot of brass or copper tinned* to boil pulse but the climate of India is such as not to in or make a curry, a smaller one to drink render shelter necessary for nine months in out of, and a round plate of sheet-iron, on the year; and none but single travellers or which, supported by two stones or lumps of very small parties care for serais or houses. earth, and with a few sticks or a little cow. All who are rich enough to carry tents, or dung underneath for fuel, he bakes his cakes those who travel in tolerable numbers, usuof unleavened bread, which is merely flour ally prefer encamping under the shade of and water, kneaded for a few minutes. trees, at some distance from the dirty serais Merchants who have goods to despatch hire or villages; and when one party is so en. either boats, carts, camels
, pack-horses, or camped under a shady grove, a single travelbullocks, to convey their wares to their desti
. ler, or even several together, will easily be nation; and the same conveyances, and the induced to join them, and often ask permissame drivers or conductors, proceed the sion to do so, for the sake of protection. whole distance, although it may be five hun It is the existence of such customs which
renders the operations of the Thugs so prac.
ticable. They often wait at or near serais - It is a curious distinctio between the Hindoos and Mussulmans, that the former all use
or towns where travellers usually rest, and brass vessels, the latter those made of copper
some of the gang enter the serais, and the tinned.
towns and villages, to ascertain if any travel
lers are there, or if any persons are about to travellers are strangled, stripped of whatever take a journey. The Sothaees, or invei. they possess, and disposed of in the ready. glers, then proceed to induce the travellers made graves. So admirably arranged is to accompany them, on pretence of affording their system, that they will simultaneously protection; or if the travellers be numerous, murder thirty or forty travellers at once! the Thugs will, by small parties, ask permis- On one occasion, a party of sixty people, sion to join them, alleging the same reason. consisting of fifty-two men, seven women, “ Skilled in the art of deception, they enter and a boy of four years old, were, all but the into conversation, and insinuate themselves child simultaneously strangled, as they were by obsequious attentions into the confidence travelling along the road, although many of of travellers of all descriptions, to learn from them were on horseback, and well armed. -them whence they come; whither, and for See Text, p. 209, and Appendix, p. 107. what purpose, they are journeying; and of The Thugs have a cant or slang language, what property they are possessed. When understood by themselves alone; and a va. they think a traveller worthrobbing, the riety of signs and signals, by which they can next point is to carry their operations into discover members of the fraternity, although effect. Should their place of encampment personally strangers to each other. Their be deemed a convenient and sufficienily re. mode of salutation would pass with the uninitired spot, the murder is usually perpetrated tiated for the ordinary expression,but a Thug just before dusk. While all are employed, immediately understands it as coming from either in cooking their evening meal or pre- a brother : and as the very use of cant lanparing for their night's rest upon the ground, guage, called by the Hindostannee Thugs the stranglers and assistant-stranglers called "Ramasse,” might sometimes excite suspi. Bhurtote and Shumshea, take up their posi. cion in the intended victims, to obviate this tions respectively near each traveller; scouts the Thugs have attached their own peculiar are sent out to watch at a little distance from meanings to certain phrases of hourly use. the encampment, that no one approaches; The signal for murder, for instance, is usu. the signal is given, the twisted cloth is thrown ally, “ Give me some tobacco.” “Go and by the stranger round the neck of each vic. clean the cooking pots," is the word to search tim, who is held by the assistant, and in a for a bail, or proper spot for the murder. few seconds all is over! Others dig the They have also signs, consisting of mere or. grave; and the bodies are deposited, after dinary motions of the head or hand; coughbeing cut open, which, they say, prevents ing in a peculiar way, &c. them from swelling and cracking the earth
“Drawing the back of the hand along the above ; for in this case the smell, by attract- chin, from the throat outwards, implies that ing the jackals to dig up the body, might lead caution is requisite-that some stranger is apto detection. Should it be in a frequented proaching. Putting the open hand over the place, they light fires over the spot to hide mouth, and drawing it gently down, implies the appearance of the earth being newly implies that there is no longer cause for alarm. moved ; if it is lonely and retired, they will If an advanced party of Phansigars overtake perhaps leave the bodies as they lie, or hide any travellers whom they design to destroy,
but have need of more assistance, they make them loosely under a heap of stones; some certain marks on the road, by which those of times the limbs are disjointed, in order to the gang who follow understand that they are pack the bodies closer, when they have required to hasten forwards. A party in ad, several to dispose of.
vance also leaves certain marks where a road The mode of proceeding occasionally branches off
, as intimations to those who fol. varies, and they not unfrequently murder low of the route their comrades have taken." the travellers as they are walking along the -See App. p. 345. road, i. e. when the encamping place is not In some instances, they will actually make considered convenient. In this case, one or their destined victims carry the message and more of the gang are sent on over night to signal which occasions their own destruc. select a fit spot for the murder, and often to tion. When a party of Thugs, in advance, dig the graves beforehand. The travellers have got with them some travellers whom are then induced to set off before daybreak, they intend to murder, but who are as many either to avoid the heat, or on some other as they can manage, should they meet with pretence: as they walk along, the stranglers others worth robbing, they will request these and their assistants attach themselves to their to carry a message to Bajeed Khan (a comrespective victims, generally chatting with mon name), and others of the party, who them in the most friendly way, At the pro- are behind, requesting them to hasten on. per spot the signal is given; the unfortunate The Thugs in the rear, on receiving this
message, understand by it that the coast is * See Appendix, p. 332.
clear in advance, and the travellers who de
liver it are worth plundering : they imme. appearance 10 distinguish Thugs from ordidiately attach themselves to them for that nary individuals. It might be expected that purpose.
men who spend their whole lives in the comThe confidence which these miscreants ex. mission of such atrocities, would acquire hibit in the course of their infernal vocation, a peculiar or ferocious cast of countenance; is not one of their least remarkable features: but of the hundreds of Thugs it has been our they will sometimes murder travellers who lot to see we can recollect but one whose had been persuaded to join their party, when aspect exhibited any thing remarkable, encamped within a few yards of a village, or and he had certainly an expression of of another encampmen: of travellers. A re- mingled cunning and ferocity, which would markable instance of this occurred at the have attracted the notice even of a ca. village of Lucknadown, between Nagpoor sual observer. They are adepts at various and Jubulpoor. A moonshee (secretary to disguises, and it is the apparently gentle and a native chief) was travelling with his wife winning manners of those who are employed and children, several servants and attendants, on that part of the duty which enables them besides horses, and was joined by a party of to entice travellers to join them ; so much Thugs, who accompanied him for several so, that they even frequently persuade peodays, treating him with attention, and some ple who have already taken up their abode of them every evening singing and playing for the night in a serai, to quit the shelter, on the guitar for his amusement. The whole and to join the Thug camp at a litile distance. party were encamped close to the above vil. Some of the gangs are found in situations lage; and within a few yards of them, on where they would never be suspected. One the other side, quite within hearing, were of the most noted of them in the south of Insome officers' servants, employed in pitching dia, opened a linen-draper's shop in the milithe advance-tents of a native regiment, which tary cantonments of Hingotee, where he was was expected next morning. Although it considered one of the most respectable men was not a very convenient spot for the mur- of the place. A list of the most notorious der, the Thugs determined to perpetrate it, Thugs in that part was sent to Captain Rey. fearing the moonshee might escape them by nolds, with directions to arrest them, and apaccompanying the regiment; and, as describ- provers to point them out: ed by the man who turned approver,
"On hearing that the Huree Sing of the “ The tent-pitchers were all busily occu- list sent to him of noted Thugs at large in the pied in pitching the tent. Noor Khan, and Duckun, was the Huree Sing of the Sudder his son Sadee Řhan, and a few others, went Bazaar, Captain Reynolds was perfectly as. as soon as it became dark to the moonshee's tounded ; for so correct had he been in his tent, and began to sing and play upon the deportment and all his dealings, that he had guitar, as they had been accustomed to do. quite won the esteem of all the gentlemen of During this time, some of them took up the the station, who used to assist him in procur. moonshee's sword, on pretence of wishing to ing passports for his goods on their way to look at it. His wife and children were with. Bombay, and yet he had, as he has himself in, listening to the music. The Jhirnee, or shown, been carrying on his trade of murder signal, was given, but at this moment the up to the very day of his arrest, with the moonshee saw his danger; called out 'mur- gangs of Hindustan and the Duckun, on all der!' and attempted to rush through, but was the roads around, and close to, the cantonseized and strangled. His wife hearing him, ments of Hingoke ; and leading out his gangs ran out, with the infant in her arms, but was of assassins, while he pretended to be on his seized by Ghubboo Khan, who strangled her way to Bombay for a supply of Irish linens and took the infant. The other daughter was and broad.cloth."-Ibid. p. 35. strangled in the tent. The grooms were at the “ Captain Reynolds had for several years, time cleaning their horses, and one of them, up to this time, had the civil charge of the taking the alarm, ran under the belly of his districi of Hingotee, without having had the horse and called out .murder !' but he was slightest suspicion of the numerous murders treated in like manner, as well as all the rest that he has now discovered to have been every of his companions."
year perpetrated within his jurisdiction. Yet The murderer who took the infant had in- confession, besides the evidence against him,
nothing was more true, as ihis man's own tended to adopt it, but on one of the gang afterwards fully proved.”—Ibia. urging that it might lead to discovery, it was thrown alive upon the other bodies, and the several years in the service of Sir David
The noted approver Ferringhea, was for grave was closed. * We have said that there is nothing in their Ochterlony as a jemadar; a sort of sergeant
in command of the armed attendants of a They abhor bloodshed, even in self-defence,) great man: but a more remarkable instance considering it murder, and repel any imputations we are enabled to adduce from the official of_this, or of Theft.
documents already alluded to. A mannam