The records summarized above prove that the Thug organization existed continuously on a large scale from the early part of the fourteenth century until Sir William Sleeman’s time, that is to say, for more than five centuries. In all probability its origin was much more ancient, but records are lacking. It is said that a sculpture representing a Thug strangulation exists among the sculptures at Ellora executed in the eighth century. No such sculpture, however, is mentioned in the detailed account of the Ellora caves by Dr. Burgess.
The magnitude of the organization with which Sleeman grappled is indicated by the following figures.
During the years 1831-7 3,266 Thugs were disposed
of one way or another, of whom 412 were hanged, and
483 were admitted as approvers. Amir Ali, whose
confessions are recorded in Meadows Taylor’s
fascinating book, The Confessions of a Thug,
written in 1837 and first published in 1839, proudly
admitted having taken part in the murders of 719 persons,
and regretted that an interruption of his career by
twelve years’ imprisonment in Oudh had prevented
him from completing a full thousand of victims.
He regarded his profession as affording sport of the
most exciting kind possible.
V. A. S.
1. Pronounced ‘T’ug’, a hard cerebral t, with some aspiration.
[Transcriber’s note: These have been incorporated into the e-text. The note numbers below correspond to the original text, not to the renumbered notes of the e-text.]
When the printing of the book was almost completed, the following additions and corrections were kindly communicated by Mr. J. S. Cotton, editor of I. G., 1907, 1908.
Page 14, text, line 13. For ‘leader’, read ‘barber’. Page 57, note 4, line 2. After ‘Baitul’, insert ‘Mandla’. Page 115, text, line 27. ‘G——’ appears to have been Robert Gregory, C.B. Page 115, note 2. Add, ’In 1911, Michael Filose of Gwalior was appointed K.C.I.E.’ Page 124, note 3. After ‘1860’, insert ’and constitutes the District called Panch Mahals in the Northern Division of the Bombay Presidency. The vernacular word panch, like the Persian panj, means ‘five’.
Page 124, note 3. Add at end, ‘and is still used by Maratha nobles.’ Page 146, note 3. For ‘may be’ read ‘is’. Dele. ’The name is common.’ Page 241, note 1, line 2. Dele ’in the Nizam’s territories ’. Page 262, note 2. The author may possibly have referred to Agra and Gwalior, rather than to Lucknow and Udaipur. Page 338, note 2. For the clause ‘From 1765 . . . English’, substitute, ’From 1765 to 1771 he was the dependant of the English at Allahabad. From 1771 to 1803 he was usually under the control of Maratha chiefs, and from the time of Lord Lake’s entry into Delhi, in 1803, he became