Artur Karp hart at POLBOX.COM
Wed Dec 2 23:08:39 UTC 1998

At 14:05 2.12.98 -0500, you wrote:
>A quick bit of historical evidence can be found in Wilhelm Halbfass'
>Tradition and Reflection pp.102-107.
>Loriliai Biernacki
>University of Pennsylvania
>According to Jan Seifert:
>> dear list members,
>> i´m looking for information about the thugs (thuggees).
>> know bout dasguptas "obscure religuous cults" and a sheet in "journal of
>> indian history (is it 29?)".
>> where can i find more information?
>> thanks in advance
>> jan seifert
>> stud. univ. leipzig

Useful information on the term "thug" may be found in "Hobson-Jobson. The
Anglo-Indian Dictionary", pp. 915-917. On p. 916 data on a classic, but
rare, position: 

Sir William Sleeman's "Ramaseeana; or a Vocabulary of the Peculiar Language
used by the Thugs, with an Introduction and Appendix, descriptive of that
Fraternity, and of the Measures which have been adopted by the Supreme
Government of India for its Suppression", Calcutta, 1836 [I am not aware of
any newer edition of this book].

See also William Crooke's "Things Indian. Being Discursive Notes on Various
Subjects Connected with India", London, 1906, pp. 473-477 [Indian reprint:
Delhi, 1972 - Oriental Books Reprint Corporation (Distributed by Munshiram
Manoharlal)]; Crooke's article on Thugs is in part based on W. Sleeman's
"Report on Depredations committed by the Thug Gangs".

Some additional literature on the subject is to be found in John Campbell
Oman's "Cults, Customs and Superstitions of India", Indian Reprint Delhi
1972, pp. 248-252.

Try also  - I admit I enjoyed reading it - John Masters' "The Deceivers",
Penguin Books 1952 [reprinted many times since, and made into a popular

In the Postscript to his book [pp. 249-250] Masters says: "There are not
many source books about Thuggee. One of them is a novel, first published in
1839, by an officer who had taken part in operations against Thugs:
Confessions of a Thug by Meadows Taylor. If my story of this terrible byway
of man's religious faith has interested you, you will find more details in
three books by Sleeman himself: Ramaseeana, or a Vocabulary of the peculiar
language used by Thugs; Report on the depredations committed by the Thug
gangs of upper and central India; The Thugs or Phansigars of India, and in
one by Sleeman's grandson, Colonel James L. Sleeman - Thug or A Million

Hoping this is of help,

Artur Karp

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