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A member of a religious organization of robbers and assassins in India. Devotees of the goddess Kali, the Thugs waylaid and strangled their victims, usually travellers, in a ritually prescribed manner. They were suppressed by the British in the 1830s. The name is recorded from the early 19th century and comes from Hindi ṭhag ‘swindler, thief’, based on Sanskrit sthagati ‘he covers or conceals’.

Subjects: Religion.

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