- A corruption of thagi, from the Sanskrit sthaga for “scoundrel,” applied in India to a cult of Hindu, Muslim, and occasionally Sikh assassin-priests who preyed above all on travelers with large-scale robbery and murder, usually by strangulation. The practice was common all over India until its suppression by Lord William Bentinck in the 1830s. By 1837, some 3,000 thugs and been arrested and incarcerated on the power of an 1836 act that provided for a life sentence for the convicted. By 1840, the practice had been all but eradicated. The popular novel by Philip Meadows Taylor, Confessions of a Thug, introduced the word to the English language in 1839.See also <
>.FURTHER READING:Rosselli, John. Lord Willian Bentinck: The Making of a Liberal Imperialist, 1814–1839. London: Sussex University Press, 1974.CARL CAVANAGH HODGE
Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.