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cd Dhunnee Khan, had for a while been a land auspices of the goddess Devee, Doorgah, sergeant of police in the district of Mynpoo. Kulee, or Bhawanee, as she is indifferently rie. So high was the opinion entertained of called; and, consequently, there is not one him by the magistrates, that in 1822, on the who feels the slightest remorse for the mur
ders which he may, in the course of his vooccasion of Soorawun, a noted Thug, and several others, having escaped from gaol, trating. A Thug considers the persons mur.
cation, have perpetrated or assisted in perpeDhunnee Khan, assisted by iwo constables, dered precisely in the light of victims offered was selected to trace and apprehend the fu. up to the goddess; and he remembers them gitives. He was furnished with a general as a priest of Jupiter remembered the oxen, warrant and letter, addressed to all British and a priest of Saturn the children sacrificed Buodelcund and Central India. This man, without any emotions of pity; and he reauthorities, and ordered to proceed through upon their altars. He meditates his murders
without any misgivings; he commits them as it afterwards appeared, had been in league members them without any feelings of re. with a numerous body of Thugs who resided morse. They trouble not his dreams, nor in that part, but had contrived to obtain the does their recollection ever cause him inquihigh estimation in which he was held by the etude in darkness, in solitude, or in the hour magistrate, by apparent zeal and by occasion. of death."-p. 7. ally arresting insulted Thugs, who were for some reason or other obnoxious to his own omens, which they observe both on setting out
They have a variety of ceremonies and gang.
On receiviog the warrant, he im- on an expedition and during its continuance. mediately collected this gang and many They believe these to have been dictated by others, increasing his numbers as hepro, Bhawanee, and that on their observance or ceeded until they amounted to a hundred non-observance depends their success. Al. and fifteen, and started on a Thug expedition. though these ceremonies are in some meas. In the course of it they murdered thirty.two ure varied by Thugs in different parts of Inpeople and collected considerable plunder. dia, there does not appear to be any distincThe sergeant had apprehended Soorawun, tion between those two opposite classes, the and put
him in irons as a blind, in the event Mahom medans and the Hindoos of the same ef being questioned on the road. Near Ju- provinces. Both worship the same deity, bulpoor they were arrested upon the charge and observe the same rites. The Mussulof an informer; but the sergeant and con.
man Thugs explain it by asserting that Bow. stables showed their badges of office,warrants, anee (or Bhawanee) and Fatima, the daughand other documents, pointed to the prisoner ter of Mahommed and the wife Ali, were one in irons, explained that some of those who and the same person. Of their ceremonies accompanied him were relations and friends, the most essential is the consecration of the anxious to distinguish themselves and obtain Pickaxe before setting out on an expedition, service,'(a common custom in India when po- accompanied by a variety of forms too tedie lice are ordered on a hazardous duty,) while ous to relate : but there is not the rest passed for travellers; and, in short, so far deceived Mr. Molony, the Commis. "a. Thug þy birth, or one who had been ful. sioner at Jubulpoor, that he ordered their
ly initiated into its mysteries, who doubted lease. They were, however, subsequently the inspiration of the pick-axe when conseretaken, and eventually punished, as will be that the omens described in this work were
; hereafter mentioned. It was this gang that all-sufficient to guide them to their prey, or murdered the moonshe's party, as already to warn them of their danger; or that they detailed.
were the signs ordained by the goddess exIt would be supposed a mockery lo men- pressly for these purposes ;—not who doubt. tion religion in connection with such atroci. ed that if these omens were attended to, and ties, but the demon of superstition has perhaps the prescribed rules observed, the system of the principal share in their commission : in this instance it is clothed in a female form, the all our efforts for its suppression.”-p. 9.
auspices' of its divine patroness, in spite of goddess Bhawanee, whom they believe topre. side over their proceedings, and to be pleased Their superstitions and omens are very with the sacrifice of the victims.
numerous,and are drawn from the most trivial
and even childish circumstances. They are “Of Thugs from all quarters of India, from taken principally from the flight of birds and Lodheeana to the Carnatic,and from the Indus motions of different animals, or from the cries to the Ganges, there is not one among them and calls of various creatures. The call of who doubts the divine origin of the system of Thugghee; not one who doubts that he a patridge, for instance, heard on the left, and all who have followed the trade of mur promises good; if on the right, it threatens der with the prescribed rites and observan. evil. The rest are much of the same na. ces, were acting under the immediate orders ture, or even more absurd.
“ Different castes and clans of Thugs have, ed as to the classes who could be admitted inin some few instances, different rules for in. to the associations of Thugs, but latterly terpreting these sounds and appearances some gangs have received all casts into the and what is considered to threaten the evil
fraternity. by some, is thought to promise good by oth
The different bodies of Thugs form a com. ers; but, on such occasions, they all follow the leader who opens the expedition, or leads plete division of labour in appointing the du. the greatest number of Thugs associated to-ties of the respective members of the gang,
each of which has its peculiar name. gether in any expedition."-p. 123.
are the jemader or leader, who usually gives Sometimes the omen is thought so bad that the signal for murder; the sothaees or inthe expedition is altogether abandoned ; at veiglers of travellers; the stranglers ; the asothers, broken up and re-opened with fresh sistant stranglers ; those who carry the body cerenionies : sometimes the evil omen is to the grave ; the grave.diggers; those who averted by performing certain rites upon
the the bodies to render them more comspot. Instances have occurred where tra- pact; and ther belhæ, who go on before to vellers, who were upon the point of being search for a proper place of murder during murdered, have been allowed to pass on un- the next day's journey, when the present enmolested, in consequence of an unfavorable campment is not deemed convenient for the omen, such as the scream of a hare. Many purpose. Others keep watch at the time of the of them believe, that if the omens are favour- murder to obviate any danger of interruption; able, they would feel the anger of their and those who go out for the first time, are deity, if they were not to murder the travel. dull and slow in learning their business, are lers; while that to allow the first traveller employed in menial offices, such as sweeping met with, in going on an expedition, to es. the encamping ground, or tending the horses cape, provided he has but little property, will and bullocks which belong to the camp. Chilbring good luck.
It is asserted positively by dren are initiated at ten or twelve years old. them, that in the caves at Ellora are to be During four sculptures representing every opera. tion of Thugghee.
-"the first expedition they neither see nor According to the strict rules of the Thugs, hear any thing of murder. They know not they were never to murder any of the follow our trade; they get presents, purchased out
of their share, and become fond of the wand. ing classes :—A sweeper, a carrier, oil-seller, ering life, as they are always mounted upon washerman, goldsmith, dancing-girl
, bard ; ponies. Before the
end of the journey they two descriptions of religious mendicants called always know that we rob: the next expediNanuk-puntee and Jatta-darree; carriers of tion they suspect that we commit murder, grain, elephant drivers, travellers who had a and some of them even know it; and in the cow with them, a woman, or a married per- third expedition they see all. son. By some the list of exemptions was ex.
"Q. Do they not become frightened ?
“ A. Not after the first expedition.” tended; by others it was more confined.There were also restrictions regarding some But some extraordinary cases to the con. other classes, who were not to be the first trary have occurred. victims upon the opening of an expedition : but these have been disregarded by the ma. Subadur took out with us my cousin Kuhora,
“ About twelve years ago, my cousin Aman jority of the Thugs in the north-west, and in a lad of fourteen, for the first time. He was Central India, and for some year whoever mounted on a pretty pony, and Hursooka, an has fallen into their hands has been murder- adopted son of Aman’s, was appointed to take ed without regard to class, age or sex. It charge of the boy. is to this cause, and to the neglect of proper
“ We fell in with five Sikhs,* and when we attention to their omens and rites, that they set out before daylight in the morning, Hurattribute the anger of their goddess, and the sooka, who had been already on three expediconsequent success of the British Govern. the boy in the rear out of sight and hearing.
tions, was ordered to take the bridle and keep ment in exterminating them. One remark. The boy got alarmed and impatient ; got away able feature in this association of murderers from Hursooka, and gallopped up at the inis, that no instance has yet been discovered stant the signal for murder was given. He of wanton cruelty; by which is meant pain heard the screams of the men, and saw them inflicted beyond what was necessary to des. all strangled. He was seized with a tremtroy life-pain either to mind or body.bling, and fell from his pony ;-he became “No Thug was ever known to offer insult, ed at the turbans of the murdered men : and
immediately delirious ; was dreadfully alarmeither in act or speech, to any woman they when any one touched him or spoke to him, were to murder." They let off poor travel. lers sometimes, and even beautiful women. Considerable restriction was formerly adopt.1 Punjab.
* Sikhs or Singhs, the nation inhabiting the
talked about the murders, and screamed ex-l are carried away by the stream; and there the actly like a boy talks in his sleep; and trem- sight of corpses floating excites no observa. bled violently if any one touched or spoke to tion, 'because thousands of the poorer class. bim. We could not get him on after burying the bodies. Aman and I, and a few oth es, not being able to afford the expense of ers sat by him while the gang went on : we burning the dead, merely throw them into were very fond of him, and tried all we the river. Plundered property also is somecould to tranquillize him; but he never re- times found on the land Thugs, or proved to covered his senses, and before evening he have been in their possession ; but the cusdied. I have seen many instances of feelings tom houses on the river were so numerous, greatly shocked at the sight of the first mur- and the fear of search so great,* that the mis. der, but never one so strong as this. Kubora creants there never retained about them any was a very fine boy, and Hursooka took his article at all likely to lead 10 suspicion. Nedeath much to heart, and turned religious mendicant : he is now at some temple on the vertheless, by a proper system of Thug po. bank of the Nerbudda river.”--(See pp. 148, lice, this, as well as Thugghee by land, will 149.)
be eradicated. The superstition of the
Thugs themselves will assist in this end; as A discovery has been more recently made many of them now believe that, owing to their of an extensive combination of river Thugs neglect of the rites and ceremonies prescrib. on the Ganges. Their plan of operation is ed by their deity, she has ordained that the to have many boats at various landing.places British Government shall eradicate Thugon the river, which are kept extremely neat ghee. They are appalled at the numbers and inviting for travellers. From fourteen that have been hanged or transported ; and to sixteen Thugs are on board each boai, of of late no sooner is a gang arrested on suswhom some are disguised as, and perform picion than some of them offer to become apthe work of, ordinary boatmen; while the provers to save themselves; so much so, others assume the appearance of well-drest, that many more approvers can be obtained respeciable travellers, who profess to be ei. than are required. ther going or returning from pilgrimage to Our readers will almost deem it impossible Benares, or some of the holy places on the that such organized gangs of murderers, river. The inveiglers are sent out on the amounting to several thousands, could carry roads which lead from or run parallel to it, on their villainy almost undiscovered so long ; where they fall in with parties whose destina. for two or three centuries at least,
The tion is either up or down the stream. Hav. difficulty, however, nearly vanishes when we ing acquired the necessary information, reflect on the mode of travelling in India,desthe inveiglers pretend to be bound 10 the cribed at the head of this article,and on the pe. same place; talk of the delay and fatigue of culiar system of the Thugs. In the first place a land journey, and propose to proceed by they seldom murder near their own homes ; water. The travellers are then taken to the but even this would be a point of little imporspot where one of the Thug boats is waiting. tance when we consider, secondly,that travel. and, after some bargaining, are taken on lers, and generally from a distant part of the board. Often, to lull suspicion, much diff. country, are their victims : thirdly, that they culty is made about receiving them; the cap- invariably murder before they rob. tain of the boat objects on the pretence of ha "It is a maxim with these assassins that ving been already hired by others; and the dead men tell no tales,' and upon this maxThugs, .who figure as passengers, declare im they invariably act. They permit no that there is no room 10 spare. When at living witness to their crimes to escape, and length the traveliers are received, the boat therefore never attempt the murder of any pushes off, the Thugs familiarly chatting with party, until they can feel secure of being ihem : all being at length prepared and no able to murder the whole. They will travel other boat near, the steersman above gives days, and even weeks together; eat with them,
with a party of unsuspecting travellers for the signal by three taps, and the victims are sleep with them; attend worship with them strangled. The bodies are then stripped and at the holy shrines on the road; and live with thrown into the river.
them on the closest terms of intimacy, till The difficulty of eradicating the river they find time and place suitable for the Thugghee will be far greater than has been murder of the whole." -(p. 53.) found in dealing with this crime by land, on
Lastly, they avoid exciting suspicion by account of circumstantial evidence not being forthcoming. In the land Thugghee, the de being careful to leave behind them no marks
of a crime having been committed. positions of the approvers are corroboraled
The travellers who become their victims by digging up the bodies, hundreds of which have been brought to light; but this resource
* These custom houses bave since been abolfails in the river Thugghee, where the bodies ished to the great benefit of trade. VOL, XXI.
were men seeking for service; or returning escape, or some of the stolen properly being
may have been something in the ap- them as a source of revenue from which pearance or equipage of the travellers to they derived considerable sums annually, attract attention, the villagers and others who out of the profits of their plunder. The Thugs reside along the road would not recollect lived in villages like other people, and gewhether those inquired for had passed or not. nerally cultivated small portions of ground But even supposing (as has occasionally oc. to maintain appearances: so that the native curred) that the relations succeed in tracing chiefs, if questioned, pretended of course to the travellers to a certain spot, beyond which know nothing of their real character; as. all clue is lost; this gives a moral certainty serting that these people lived, cultivated, that they have been murdered at no great and paid their rent like others, and accountdistance, that is, within a few miles adjacent. ing for the absence of most of the male popu. -But how, within such a space, are they lation during several months, by saying that to pitch upon the spot where the bodies are they went for service and returned periodicalinterred ?--and more, - where are the mur- ly with the amount of their earnings. In other derers ? probably hundreds of miles away; cases, native chiefs who would have readily and even should they by chance be again punished agang ofthieves when apprehended, encamped on the very spot, what means are ivere deterred from doing so by superstitious there of detection?' In ordinary thefts, and dread. The Thugs always endeavoured to by local thieves, the tracing and discovery impress the belief that they were acting ac. of stolen property affords a very powerful cording to the injunctions of their deity means of bringing the matter home to the Bowavee, and that all who opposed them perpetrators; but this has but little effect would feel the vengeance of their goddess, against Thugs. They contrive to obtain The few instances in which Thugs were full knowledge of the persons, residence, and put to death by native chiefs were generally destination of those they murder, and are cases of personal vengeance, because these careful not to dispose of any recognizable villains had murdered some relation or de. articles where they might by chance be pendant of the chief, and were by good forperceived. Such as have any peculiar tune apprehended immediately, in the redmarks are destroyed.
hand." It has unfortunately in several inConsidering all these circumstances, it is stances occurred that after punishing Thugs, not astonishing that so little has been done the chief himself, his son,or some relation has towards suppressing this association of mis- died within a short tiine: whether some of the creants. The fact is, that until this five or Thug fraternity took secret means to ensure six years, no one had any correct notion of such an occurrence, cannot be ascertained; its extent: all that was known up to that pe but they seized all such opportunities to riod was, that travellers were occasionally substantiate the belief which they endeavourenticed and murdered by people calleded to inculcate. In general, a native chief Thugs, who assumed the garb of inoffensive would merely extort a sum of money from way-farers. By some extraordinary chance, the Thuge, or keep them in confinement for such as one of the victims having made his a short time, after which they were releas.
ed; and not unfrequently they were dis- feeling descends through the various ranks charged at once. Their own superstition of government servants, who generally however, as has just been explained, is now take their cue accordingly. It may be ob beginning to operate against them.
served too, that the majority of the officers The following will show what extraordi- of government, civil or military, are exnary proceedings occur sometimes in India. tremely ignorant of the natives of India, and A dispatch of dollars to the value of four thou of their real sentiments; and are therefore sand pounds sterling, made on account of a rich easily misled by a few designing favourites, merchant of Indoor, Dhun Raj, was carried who alone possess their ear, and have their off by Thugs, who murdered the attendant own ends to serve. guards, near a place called Burwaha Ghaut, To acknowledge, even had they been fulon the Nerbudda, Ele contrived to ascer. ly aivare of it, the existence of such an evil as tain who the Thugs were, and, being a man Thugghee over the whole of our provinces, of considerable influence, to occasion their was by no means agreeable to our governarrest and detention in gaol by the native ment: it rould have contradicted their repeatchiefs in whose jurisdiction they lived: af. ed assertions and representations. If an evil ler some time an agreement was made with could be suppressed quietly and without in. the Thugs to release them if they would re- curring any additional expense, it would fund the money or its amount.
have been a source of deep satisfaction ; but
the proceedings of government have almost "Some paid out of the fruits of former ex- warranted a belief that they would prefer peditions, others borrowed in anticipation of the existence of an evil, provided it were not future success; and those who had neither money nor credit, pledged themselves to pay remedy, if this should tend to produce a con
generally known, even to the discovery of a part of their future earnings.”—p. 190.
siderable sensation and excite inquiry. The Thugs durst not break their engage could at least instance several public officers ments for fear of Dhun Raj, and after some who have brought considerable annoyance time he realized the full sum of which he upon themselves by too broadly bringing to had been plundered. Finding, however, notice the existence of evils, or the enormous that he could turn his power and influence extent to which crimes of the deepest dye, to so good an account, he began to assume such as murders, gang robbery, and others, the character of a patron of Thugs: he had are perpetrated. Appearances are, howalways some of the principal leaders about ever, kept up. The zeal and ability of the his person, and yearly exacted large sums of officer are praised, and his praiseworthy money from the principal gangs in return motives duly appreciated;- but then come for his protection, threatening those who certain remarks indicating an "pprehenrefused with arrest and punishment: and sion of his being misinformed," doubts that such was his influence, that he could procure " the evil is not so bad as he has representthe release of a gang from almost any gaol ed;" with a conclurig observation that in central India.
copies of the correpondence will be sent to Though the British Indian government the superintenent of police, judge of cirwas free from the superstitions or the cor- cuit, or some superior officer, who will be ruption which prevented the native chiefs from desire to report on the subject. This indipunishing Thugs, it was not the less ham- visual, if he have any tact, or any thing to pered by prejudices of its own, and by real aope or fear from the favour of government, difficulties which lay in the way of the D-frames his report according to what he sees ject desired. Regarding the prejudias al. is wished or expected from him: states the luded to, it is necessary io explain e little of district to be not in worse order than others the secret springs that actuated the govern- (which perhaps is true enough, owing to the ment. The members at the nead of the ad- vigorous measures of the magistrate in quesininistration have always had a tolerably tion, by which crime has been abated); and, correct idea of the expressive nature of our by a careful adjustment, of words and rule in India, and of the light in which it is phrases, contrives to do away entirely with held by the mulives; but it has always been the impression which, in accordance with a primary object to prevent this knowledge truth, ought to have been received. Occafrom eaching the English public. To ef- sionally, where the magistrate has persisted frue this, the reports forwarded to the Court in his representations, the affair has actually of Directors have always descanted on the ended by his removal, while bis successor admirable system of internal government has reaped the full benefit of his exertions, which we have established in our territories; and gained the entire credit of them. the blessings which our native subjects en A strong instance of the way in which joy; and their consequent gratitude. The the ends of justice may be defeated by a mig.