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The Murderous ‘Thuggee’ Cult of India: A Lesson for the Modern Era?

A photograph of a group of elderly men sitting on a mat, taken in Peshawar, now in Pakistan, circa 1865. Two of the men are looking at each other with contempt, suggesting that they may actually be enemies who have been persuaded to be photographed together as examples of native "thugs." PHOTO: NPR/Getty

India suffered for nearly five centuries at the hands of a murderous tribe of cultists called Thugs (pronounced Tugs), or “Thuggee.” The Thugs conflated their religion with membership. The leadership of established Thug clans tended to be hereditary.

Members of the Thuggee cult, like other Hindus, worshiped Kali, the goddess of destruction. But the Thugs’ Kali was a male-oriented death cult and demanded endless sacrifices to satisfy her hunger. There was a complex system of rituals. It was, however, not a blood ritual. Thugs killed without remorse but “with pleasure,” mixed with omens before and prayers afterward. Has an iteration of the Thugge and the Frankist mindset gained dominance in the modern world?

When India’s British administrators began to rule around 1800, they heard reports of large numbers of travelers disappearing on the country’s roads. Discovery of a series of mass graves across India revealed the gravity of the situation. Each site was piled with the bodies of individuals ritually murdered and buried in the same meticulous fashion. These killings were the work of a single organization: the Thuggee.

Related imageThugs practiced extreme secrecy; which combined with their religion of murder, made them a most deadly secret society. In the early 19th century, they were credited with 40,000 deaths annually, and some estimates put the overall death toll in the several millions going back centuries.

Thug Behram, who was responsible for 931 deaths.

Whatever drove the Thugs — probably a mixture of greed, blood lust and corrupted religious fervor — their output and activities were astonishing. One boasted of 931 murders in a 40-year span.

Thugs tended to favor targeting travelers and might join a group in small, non-threatening increments. At its root, the word “Thuggee” means “deceivers,” a name that describes their modus operandi. The killing place needed to be out of sight and followed the dumping-ground model. Favored places of execution were known as beles.

Often the impostors would journey for days and hundreds of miles with their targets. When the time was opportune, a signal would be given — reportedly, the phrase “bring the tobacco” — and the Thugs would attack. Typically, three men would grab and hold a victim down and strangle them with a rumal, a yellow silk handkerchief. Actually, blood-letting was disapproved of. Thugs of the highest rank performed the actual killings.

The cult’s power was its pervasiveness within Indian society. In an era where strict caste divisions dominated every aspect of life, Thuggee was unique for transcending all such social barriers. Anyone from a farmer to an aristocrat could be a Thug. However, they were the prototypical in-group, closed to outsiders. Like the Frankists cult there was inbreeding.

As a murderous secret society Thugees seemed to enjoy a level of protection similar to modern-day Crime Syndicate types. Although they pre-date British rule, there is an alternative theory that the Brits were running one of their agitprops- and that the Thuggee were boogeyman creations like ISIS. When Thugs were arrested, they were almost invariably released for lack of evidence. Accordingly, like ISIS, they just seemed to persist, and were never reduced.

For further reading:

It also has the same MO as the Los Aztecas Juarez girl murder and exploitation death cult ring we recently addressed in “The Juárez Organized Crime Sex Trafficking and Murder Cartel.”

They clearly had the country living in fear, and a strange ambivalence toward the cult existed — mostly out of fear or superstition of crossing them and the vengeful goddess Kali. The rich and powerful had some vested interest in Thug activity in terms of payoffs from the looting of victims and bribes. The Crime Syndicate elites also benefited from the psychological fear at loose in the land. For the public, a see-no-evil, hear-no-evil, fear-no-evil cognitive dissonance attitude prevailed, which allowed this death cult to gain a foothold. It was as if the Thugs had managed to keep the country traumatized.

When they were executed for crimes, they showed no trace of emotion, often requesting to be allowed to place the noose around his own neck.

Finally in 1836, the British passed the “Act for the Suppression of Thuggee and Dacoity (bandits).” William Sleeman was its first superintendent. Thousands of thugs were imprisoned, executed or expelled from British India. The campaign relied on captured Thugs, who became informants. These informants were offered protection on the condition that they told everything that they knew. They were also baited and ensnared in traps.

After a drawn out pursuit, by the 1870s the murderous Thug cult was finally exterminated.

Read “New World Order Autotrons in America: Upper-Caste Supremacist Subcontinent Indians”

19 Comments on The Murderous ‘Thuggee’ Cult of India: A Lesson for the Modern Era?

    • According to the Bible of Aryan Invasion written by Prof. Uthaya Naidu, Thuggee were a PSYOPS cult created by the Brahmins.

      The Brahmins were also the ones that let the British invade (as they did for the Greeks, Mughals and other groups), since unlike a few thousand Anglos wouldn’t be able to conquer let alone administer the entire subcontinent without the collaboration of The Powers That Be.

  1. Thanks for this–very interesting. They say history repeats and rhymes, and this seems to fit:

    “Although they pre-date British rule, there is an alternative theory that the Brits were running one of their agitprops- and that the Thuggee were boogeyman creations like ISIS. When Thugs were arrested, they were almost invariably released for lack of evidence. Accordingly, like ISIS, they just seemed to persist, and were never reduced.”

    This makes sense to me–when you study the real history, you see the same patterns over and over.

  2. Winter Watch is the “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!” for the modern day world of lobotomized, smart phone addicted pajama people.
    Another tid-bit of history I had no clue about. ;<)

    • Its the thuggish ruggish bone. I am afraid i might be one if i have to ask, but what is a pajama person? I understand it loosely means someone not aware of what is really going on, but what do pajamas have to do with it? It is a funny term to me, but I missed the boat on this one ????

  3. Deceivers, eh? That Pierce Brosnan movie “The Deceivers” is THE movie to watch about the Thuggee cult, explains the mass burials, how they do travelers, rituals, hierarchy, and deal with so-called infiltrators.

    • Murderous Indian cults pop up in several old Hollyweird productions. I seem to remember one starring Gary Cooper.

      • You might be confusing “Lives of a Bengal Lancer”, which starred Cooper but lacked any thugs with “Gunga Din”, starring Cary Grant, Victor McLaglen, and Douglas Fairbanks Jr.,in which thugs were prominently featured. Both are great movies.

      • Spielberg’s Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom also featured an Indian death cult. I remember that because he was accused of racism for that movie.

  4. Pajama people is quite apropos here as the word pajama comes from the Hindi ‘pyjama’ (the long layered clothing that Hindus like to wear that look like fancy pajamas because … they basically are)

  5. Another great article, exposing the Thuggees and the unsung English hero William Sleeman. May I add a few more snippets of information I’ve been gathering for a few years now:

    Thuggees were Muslim, Sikh & Hindu gangs of assassins who attacked & murdered travellers, offering the hearts of the males to Kali as human sacrifices, killing the older women, gang-raping and enslaving the younger women & girls as temple prostitutes, training little boy captives to join the Thuggee gang. The Sikh kirpan daggers they still wear were used for disembowelling and gouging out the eyes of male captives, their topknot “rumal” hankies were used to garrotte victims by tying a coin in the middle, and their “Jagratta” wedding music still celebrates the Sikh Thuggees who played loud music all night to drown the screams of the victims.

    I haven’t read about the precise techniques used by Hindu & Muslim Thuggee gangs, but Sikhs chose gang members for specific roles, because they didn’t just attack passing travellers, who were often Christian pilgrims. Sikh Thuggees were particularly sneaking and cowardly, joining groups of travellers for a few days before attacking them, some Sikhs specializing in being very friendly, smiling and chatty, in order to disarm suspicion, even feigning to be “worried” about being attacked by Thuggees! Some Sikh Thuggees were the musicians, distracting the travellers around the evening campfires while the stranglers were busy in the surrounding darkness, garrotting any men who wandered away from the fire before attacking outright, while the “Jagratta” musicians played loudly all night to cover the screams of the rapes and eyes being gouged out.

    We in the West have been very successfully hoodwinked by Sikh Propaganda into viewing them as some kind of special “noble warrior type”, superior to Muslims, but it is all a lie. They are Kali-Worshippers into human sacrifice and ripping out hearts like all the rest, and their Thuggee Assassin kirpans, topknots and wedding music still preserve their true beliefs.

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