Rootsie Homepage | Weblog | Tracey | Ayanna | Reasoning Forum | AmonHotep
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
December 12, 2017, 02:53:29 PM
Home Help Search Login Register

+  Rootsie
|-+  HISTORY
| |-+  Historical Perspectives (Moderator: Rootsie)
| | |-+  origin of the word "thug"
« previous next »
Pages: [1] Print
Author Topic: origin of the word "thug"  (Read 37374 times)
three_sixty
Full Member
***
Posts: 386



View Profile
« on: June 19, 2006, 03:53:52 AM »

 found this interesting . . .
______________

Thuggee
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Thuggee (or tuggee) (from Hindi thag thief, from Sanskrit sthaga scoundrel, from sthagati to conceal) was an Indian network of secret fraternities sometimes described as the world's first mafia, operating from the 13th to the 19th centuries, whose members were known as Thugs. This is the origin of the term thug, as many Indian words passed into common English during British Imperial rule of India.

Contents [hide]
1 Origins and working method
2 Beliefs and practices
3 Number of victims
4 British destruction of the secret society
5 Possible misinterpretation of Thuggee by the British
6 Thuggee in popular culture
7 References and footnotes
8 External links
9 See also

[edit]
Origins and working method
The thuggee religion was allegedly a cult with Hindu, Muslim and some Sikh members who practiced large-scale robbery and murder of travellers. Their modus operandi was first to befriend unsuspecting travellers and win their trust. When the travellers allowed the thugs to join them, the group of thugs killed them at a suitable place and time before robbing them . [1] Their method of killing was very often strangulation. [2] Usually two or three thugs were needed to strangle one traveller so a group of travellers could only be robbed when the thugs outnumbered the travellers. The thugs hid the corpses often by burying them or sometimes by throwing them into wells .[3] Induction was sometimes passed from father to son. [4] The women of the household being kept ignorant of the cult's activities.[citation needed]

The two factions into which the Thuggee belonged were divided by the Nerbudda river.[citation needed] Also, both Thuggee factions laid claim to antiquity. While members of the northern faction , however, did not trace their origin further back than the period of the early Muslim kings of Delhi, members of the southern faction not only claimed an earlier and purer descent, but adhered also with greater strictness to the rules of their profession.[citation needed]

The earliest authenticated mention of the Thugs is found in the following passage of Ziau-d din Barni's History of Firoz Shah (written about 1356):

In the reign of that sultan (about 1290), some Thugs were taken in Delhi, and a man belonging to that fraternity was the means of about a thousand being captured. But not one of these did the sultan have killed. He gave orders for them to be put into boats and to be conveyed into the lower country, to the neighborhood of Lakhnauti, where they were to be set free. The Thugs would thus have to dwell about Lakhnauti and would not trouble the neighborhood of Delhi any more." (Sir HM Elliot's History of India, iii. 141).

Though they themselves trace their origin to seven Muslim tribes, the Hindu followers only seem to be related during the early periods of Islamic development; at any rate, their religious creed and staunch worship of Kali, one of the Hindu Tantric Goddesses, showed no Islamic influence. Assassination for gain was a religious duty for them, and was considered a holy and honorable profession, in which moral feelings did not come into play. It should be noted, however, that not all followers of Kali are thuggees, and the majority do not share the thuggee viewpoint.

[edit]
Beliefs and practices
The Thugs were a well-organized confederacy of professional assassins who travelled in various guises through India in gangs of 10 to 200, worming themselves into the confidence of wayfarers of the wealthier class. When a favorable opportunity arose, the Thug strangled his victim by throwing a yellow scarf or Rumal (symbolic of Kal Bhairab (Bhairav) around the neck, and then plundered and buried him. All this was done according to certain ancient and rigidly prescribed forms, and after the performance of special religious rites, in which the consecration of the pickaxe and the sacrifice of sugar formed a prominent part. Due to the fact that they used strangulation as the method of murder they were also frequently called "Phansigars", or "noose-operators."

The will of the goddess by whose command and in whose honor they followed their calling was revealed to them through a very complicated system of omens. In obedience to these, they often travelled hundreds of miles in company with, or in the wake of, their intended victims before a safe opportunity presented itself for executing their design. When the deed was done, rites were performed in the deity's honor, and a significant portion of the spoils was set apart for Her.

They believed each murder prevented Kali's (their goddess's) arrival for 1000 years. The fraternity also possessed a jargon of their own (the cant Ramasi), as well as certain signs by which its members recognized each other in the most remote parts of India. Even those who from age or infirmities could no longer take an active part in the ritual murder continued to aid the cause as watchers, spies, or dressers of food. Because of their thorough organization, the secrecy and security of their operation, and the religious pretext in which they shrouded their murders, they were recognized as a regular tax-paying profession and continued for centuries to practice their craft, free of inquiry from Hindu rulers.

[edit]
Number of victims
Estimates of the total number of victims depend heavily on the estimated length of existence of the thugs for which there are no reliable sources. In other words, no reliable estimates for the total number of victims are possible. According to the Guinness Book of Records the Thuggee cult was responsible for approximately 2,000,000 deaths.

Yearly figures for the early 19th century are better documented, but even they are inaccurate estimates. For example, gang leader Behram (or Burham) has often been considered to be the world's most prolific serial killer with 931 killings between 1790 and 1830 attributed to him. Reference to contemporary manuscript sources, however, shows that Behram actually gave inconsistent statements regarding the number of murders he had committed, and that while he did state that he had "been present at" more than 930 killings committed by his gang of 25-50 men, elsewhere he admitted that he had personally strangled around 125 people. Having turned King's Evidence and agreed to inform on his former companions, furthermore, Behram never stood trial for any of the killings attributed to him, the total of which must thus remain a matter of dispute [James Paton, 'Collections on Thuggee and Dacoitee', British Library Add.Mss. 41300].

[edit]
British destruction of the secret society
Thuggee was suppressed by the British rulers of India in the 1830s, due largely to the efforts of William Sleeman, who started an extensive campaign involving profiling, intelligence, and executions. The campaign was heavily based on informants recruited from captured thugs who were offered protection on the condition that they told everything that they knew. A police organisation known as the Thuggee and Dacoity Department was established within the Government of India and remained in existence until 1904 when it was replaced by the Central Criminal Intelligence Department. The defeat of the Thuggees played a part in securing Indian loyalty to the British Raj.

Previous attempts at prosecuting and eliminating the thugs had been largely unsuccessful due to the lack of evidence for their crimes. The thugs' modus operandi yielded very little evidence: no witnesses, no weapons, and no corpses. Besides the thugs usually made no confessions when captured. Another main reason was the fact that thug groups did not act locally, but all over the Indian subcontinent, including territories that did not belong to British India in combination with the fact that there was then no centralized criminal intelligence agency.

[edit]
Possible misinterpretation of Thuggee by the British
In her book The Strangled Traveler: Colonial Imaginings and the Thugs of India (2002), Martine van Woerkens suggests that evidence for the existence of a Thuggee 'cult' in the 19th century was in part the product of "colonial imaginings"—British fear of the little-known interior of India and limited understanding of the religious and social practices of its inhabitants.

But Krishna Dutta, in reviewing the book Thug: the true story of India's murderous cult by the British historian Dr. Mike Dash (ISBN 1862076049, 2005) in The Independent, argues:[1]

In recent years, the revisionist view that thugee was a British invention, a means to tighten their hold in the country, has been given credence in India, France and the US, but this well-researched book objectively questions that assertion."
Dash rejects in his book skepticism about the existence of a secret network of groups with a modus operandi, different from others groups e.g. dacoits, in robbing travellers. To prove his point Dash refers to the excavated corpses in graves of which the hidden locations were revealed to Sleeman's team by thug informants. In addition, Dash treats the extensive and thorough documentation that Sleeman made. Dash rejects the colonial emphasis on the religious motivation for robbing. He asserts that the Thugs were highly superstitious and that they worshipped the Hindu goddess Kali, but that their faith was not very different from their contemporary non-thugs. He admits though that the thugs had certain group-specific superstitions and rituals. Instead of the religious motivation, Dash asserts that monetary gain was the main motivation for thug and that men sometimes became thugs due to extreme poverty.

[edit]
Thuggee in popular culture
The story of Thuggee was popularized by books such as Philip Meadows Taylor's novel Confessions of a Thug, 1839, leading to the word "thug" entering the English language. John Masters' novel The Deceivers also deals with the subject. A more recent book is George Bruce's The Stranglers: The cult of Thuggee and its overthrow in British India (1968). The two most popular depictions of the cult in film are the 1939 film, Gunga Din and the 1984 Indiana Jones film, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Both films have the heroes fighting secret revivals of the cult to prevent them from resuming their reigns of terror.

In 1965, Thuggees were portrayed with bumbling malevolence in the Beatles film "Help!".

The 1968 Indian film Sunghursh, based on a story by Jnanpith Award winner Mahasweta Devi, presented the depiction of Thuggees that is considered to be very accurate.

The 1988 film version of The Deceivers, produced by Ismail Merchant and starring Pierce Brosnan, is a gripping account of the initial discovery and infiltration of the Thuggee sect by an imperial British administrator. Also, Italian writer Emilio Salgari (1862-1911) wrote about thugs in I Misteri della Jungla Nera (1895) Le Due tigri (1904) and other short stories.

Christopher Moore's novel, Lamb, describes a Thuggee ritual.

[edit]
References and footnotes
This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.
^ Dash, Mike Thug: the true story of India's murderous cult ISBN 1862076049, 2005, page ??
^ Dash, Mike Thug: the true story of India's murderous cult ISBN 1862076049, 2005, page ??
^ Dash, Mike Thug: the true story of India's murderous cult ISBN 1862076049, 2005, page ??
^ Dash, Mike Thug: the true story of India's murderous cult ISBN 1862076049, 2005, page ??
[edit]
External links
The Cult of Thuggee, An extensive website about the Thuggee.
Thug: Or A Million Murders by Colonel James L. Sleeman. Book on the suppression of the Thuggees. Full text.
Review by Krishna Dutta of Thug: the true story of India's murderous cult by Mike Dash
[edit]
See also
Garrote
D-Company
Indian mafia

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thuggee"
Categories: Articles with unsourced statements | 1911 Britannica | British rule in India | Criminal organizations | Indian murderers | Robbery | Secret societies

Logged
Moon-Shine
Newbie
*
Posts: 8


View Profile
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2006, 04:28:30 PM »

Symbols and words evolve over time. For instanse the cross was just a roman execution tool but got a whole nother meaning when they nailed "the man" on it.

Same thing with "thug". This post deals with the origins of it. I'd like to add the present conception of the word.

"Thug" is often synonymous with "bully", "thief", "criminal" etc. But talking about "thug" one can not leave 2Pac out of it. His "Thug Life" philosophy was an acronym for "the hate you give little infants fucks everyone". He defigned a thug as a person who holds his head high, walks with honor and pride and is never afraid to speak his mind - even if he/she smells, is broke, is homeless or whatever. One who knows own worth and the value of life and freedom dispite being labeled a failiure by the standards of babylon.
Logged
three_sixty
Full Member
***
Posts: 386



View Profile
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2006, 04:31:25 PM »

Symbols and words evolve over time. For instanse the cross was just a roman execution tool but got a whole nother meaning when they nailed "the man" on it.

Same thing with "thug". This post deals with the origins of it. I'd like to add the present conception of the word.

"Thug" is often synonymous with "bully", "thief", "criminal" etc. But talking about "thug" one can not leave 2Pac out of it. His "Thug Life" philosophy was an acronym for "the hate you give little infants fucks everyone". He defigned a thug as a person who holds his head high, walks with honor and pride and is never afraid to speak his mind - even if he/she smells, is broke, is homeless or whatever. One who knows own worth and the value of life and freedom dispite being labeled a failiure by the standards of babylon.

seen. similarly dead prez seem to insinuate redefining the term "gangster" in their music. i posted the origin of the word because although words change definition, it is interesting to know hte root meaning.

in a related idea, what do you think about the sacredness of language, i.e. wordsoundpower? . . .
Logged
Moon-Shine
Newbie
*
Posts: 8


View Profile
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2006, 12:57:42 AM »

I think words are for communication. To communicate ideas, viewpoints, emotions etc. ... to spread truth and love. Many terms used commonly today are distorted and do not reflect reality. I think the sacredness of languge is unquestionable, but sadly there's a lot of work to be done to get the words, terms to a point where they reflect reality and not, as often is the case, imply an illusion, a distortion, a lie... and therefor many people who predomanantly think in words are enslaved by a manipulated vocabulary.
Logged
Pages: [1] Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  


Login with username, password and session length

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!