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Thuggee

Thuggee was an Indian cult worshipping Kali whose members were known as Thugs. It was allegedly a hereditary cult with both Muslim and Hindu members that practiced large-scale robbery and murder of travellers by strangulation. Induction was typically passed from father to son, with the women of the household being kept ignorant of the cult activity.

Thugee was suppressed by the British rulers of India in the 1830s, due largely to the extensive efforts of William Sleeman[?]. 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 story of Thuggee was popularised by books such as Philip Meadows Taylor's novel Confessions of a Thug, 1839, leading to the word "thug" entering the English language. A more recent book is George Bruce, The Stranglers: The cult of Thuggee and its overthrow in British India (1968).



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