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William Henry Sleeman
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 897 pages of information about Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official.

21.  We have already seen how mistaken the author was concerning the army.

22.  This statement requires to be guarded by many qualifications.  The author’s following remarks only illustrate the well-known fact that in India official rank is ardently desired by the classes eligible for it, and carries with it great social advantages.

23.  Rampur is the small Rohilla state within the borders of the Bareilly District, United Provinces.

24.  This description of the class of officials alluded to is somewhat idealized, though it applies to a considerable proportion of the class.

25.  These propositions were, doubtless, literally correct in the author’s time, but they are not at all fully applicable to the existing state of affairs.

APPENDIX

THUGGEE, AND THE PART TAKEN IN ITS SUPPRESSION BY GENERAL SIR W. H. SLEEMAN, K.C.B.

NOTE BY CAPTAIN J. L. SLEEMAN, ROYAL SUSSEX REGIMENT

The religion of murder known as ‘Thuggee’ was established in India some centuries before the British Government first became aware of its existence, It is remarkable that, after an intercourse with India of nearly two centuries, and the exercise of sovereignty over a large part of the country for no inconsiderable period, the English should have been so ignorant of the existence and habits of a body so dangerous to the public peace.  The name ‘Thug’ signifies a ‘Deceiver’, and it will be generally admitted that this term was well earned.[1] There is reason to believe that between 1799 and 1808 the practice of ‘Thuggee’ (Thagi) reached its height and that thousands of persons were annually destroyed by its disciples.  It is interesting to note the legendary origin of this strange and horrible religion:  In remote ages a demon infested the earth and devoured mankind as soon as created.  The world was thus left unpeopled, until the goddess of the Thugs (Devi or Kali) came to the rescue.  She attacked the demon, and cut him down; but from every drop of his blood another demon arose; and though the goddess continued to cut down these rising demons, fresh broods of demons sprang from their blood, as from that of their progenitors; and the diabolical race consequently multiplied with fearful rapidity.  At length, fatigued and disheartened, the goddess found it necessary to change her tactics.  Accordingly, relinquishing all personal efforts for their suppression, she formed two men from perspiration brushed from her arms.  To each of these men she gave a handkerchief, and with these the two assistants of the goddess were commanded to put all the demons to death without shedding a drop of blood.  Her commands were immediately obeyed; and the demons were all strangled.  Having strangled all the demons, the two men offered to return the handkerchiefs; but the goddess desired that they should retain them, not merely as memorials of their heroism, but as the implements of a lucrative trade in which their descendants were to labour and thrive.  They were in fact commanded to strangle men as they had strangled demons.

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