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Presentation on theme: "THE THUGGEES BY JEFF BROMLEY TARA TAPIA WARREN BAUTISTA."— Presentation transcript:


2 THE THUGGEES Thuggee (or tuggee) (from the Sanskrit root sthag (Pāli, thak), to conceal, mainly applied to fraudulent concealment) was an Indian cult 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 occupation of India.

3 KALI Kali is an incarnation of the mother Goddess. She signifies the destruction of evil and the right to vengeance Kali is generally considered one of the consorts of Shiva. Her name seems to be a female version of the word 'kala' (euphemism for death) Skulls, cemeteries, and blood are associated with her worship. She may be shown wearing a girdle of severed arms and children's corpses as earrings

4 ORGIN Origins The thuggee religion was allegedly a cult with both Hindu and Muslim members who practiced large-scale robbery and murder of travelers by strangulation. Induction was typically passed from father to son, with the women of the household being kept ignorant of the cult's activities. Both of the factions into which the Thuggee belonged were divided by the Nerbudda river.

5 ORIGIN (CONT) 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.

6 BELIEFS AND PRACTICES OF THE THUGEES The Thugs were a well-organized confederacy of professional assassins, who traveled in various guises through India in gangs of 10 to 200, gaining the confidence of wealthier wayfarers. When an opportunity arose, they strangled the victim by throwing a yellow scarf (symbolic of Kal Bhairab) around the neck, and then plundered and buried him. The pickaxe was used in the consecration of the special religious rites. The sacrifice of sugar formed a prominent part.

7 BELIEFS AND PRACTICES OF THE THUGEES (CONT) When the deed was done, rites were performed in the Kali'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 (Ramasi), as well as certain signs by which its members recognized each other in the most remote parts of India. The aging who could not take an active part in the ritual murder continued be watchers or spies

8 BELIEFS AND PRACTICES OF THE THUGEES (CONT.) They lived typical lives as farmers, shop owners, merchants, and many other professions. The Thuggees were well known for friendliness and respectability. It was like they had a double life. The most common time they would take action would be just before dusk.

9 RULE ON WHO TO KILL They followed the Hindu religion code for honor killing They would not kill women, children, the sick, Sudras, the blind, Brahmans, or Europeans. Brahmans were not killed because of their purity. Killing of the sick was an unworthy sacrifice The killing of the Sudras was considered an impure and unworthy kill. Women were not killed because they were considered to be incarnations of Kali

10 THUGGEE BURIAL RITUALS The Thugees would sometimes dig up the graves before they killed someone so that the bodies couldn’t be found. Before burying the sacrifices, the joints were often broken and the body dismembered to allow for burying in the smallest possible space, and the body was cut open to prevent swelling. They buried their dead like the Muslims.However followed every other Hindu ritual

11 THE BURIAL TOOL The pickaxe was used to dig the graves it was a sacred representation of the tooth of Kali. Only the head of the tribe. Once made, incantations were performed, it was washed with sugar, water, milk, and dry cow dung, marked with seven red dots, and passed seven times through the fire.

12 SACRIFICE After the sacrifice and ritual feast of unrefined sugar, the loot was divided. It was prohibited to steal a person’s property without killing and burying them in accordance to ritual first. By sacrificing the travelers, they were helping Kali maintain worldly balance of good and evil. Both the Thugs and their victims would benefit from their actions in the afterlife.

13 TYPE OF WEAPON They would use a ruhmal. A ruhmal is a piece of cloth about thirty inches in length, and was usually twisted or wet to increase efficiency. Sometimes a knot was tied in one end and a rupee inserted into it, creating a counter weight it was a quiet and quick death

14 THE ROLES OF THE THUGGEES A Bykureea, was a scout who chose the path the gangs would take. They entered the villages and would find out information about the people in the town. They kept track of any good or bad omens that might influence the actions of the group. Newly initiated member would usually hold these positions. The next rank would be a Lughas. They would dig the graves and participate in the rituals of the sacrifices.

15 THE ROLES OF THE THUGGEES Cont. The next rank would be Shumseea. They would occupy the potential victim by talking to them, while the others took their place. He would then give a signal phrase that would start the attack. Once they have learned this well, the next rank would be Bhurtotes. These were the stranglers. This was the highest and most honorable position, given only to the most devoted, learned, and agile Thugs.

16 THE ROLES OF THE THUGGEES Cont. Incentives for advancement were found in the form of earning a larger share of loot, a greater degree of respect to the tribe, the reward of learning about the ritual practices, and the opportunity to more directly devote one’s self to Kali through playing a more influential role in the sacrificial rites, thus growing closer to the divine goddess.

17 RECRUITMENT Heredity was one of their tools. Fathers taught their teenage sons the customs of the group by taking them on their journeys and gradually introducing them to the way of the Thuggee. Another form of recruitment was the adoption of the sons of the travelers they murdered. If the son of the traveler was too young for sacrifice and deemed impressionable by the Thugs, he would be adopted by one the men taught the ways of the cult.

18 British destruction of the cult 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. A police organization known as the Thuggee and Dacoity Department was established within the Government of India and remained in existence until 1904 The defeat of the Thuggees played a part in securing Indian loyalty to the British Raj.

19 Transformation and not death While the British claimed to have ended the cult it still exists today The most prolific of them in recent times was Phoolan Devi The Ruhmal gave way to guns. While the reverence to Kali remained, they transformed into ruthless murders fighting oppression.

20 Modern Thugs Today There are myriad of groups that follow similar principles ranging from kidnapping to murder to robbery The Naxals in Andhra Pradesh and Bodo in Assam

21 Thugges-Modern transformation The atrocities heaped on the oppressed class of Sudras attracts the oppressed class to the modern day thugees. This picture depicts the type of punishments doled out on lower class sudra’s

22 REFERANCES Bandit Queen by Shekhar Kapoor (1996) Understanding Terrorism challenges, perspective and issues by Gus Martin (190) The rape of India by Arundhathi Roy (1998) New York Times Thuggees Encyclopedia Britannica the sand storm by Nandita Das (2003) dex.html dex.html m m


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