In transcribing this late Victorian description of various ethnic groups and tribes from Leonowens’s Life and Travel in India before the Days of Railroads (c. 1884), I have used the rough transcription made available by the Internet Archive, integrated some footnotes into the main text, and where possible added images and links to material elsewhere in the Victorian Web. — George P. Landow

The Thugs, or “stranglers,” are not unlike the Gonds in physical appearance and natural characteristics. They live by robbery and murder, and are banded together by certain vows which they religiously follow. One sect of Thugs are called Phansigars, or “throttlers.” It is their practice to strangle wayfarers, whence their name, and appropriate such spoils as may fall to their lot in these onslaughts.

Efforts have been made, through the British government, to put a stop to both these religious atrocities of the Meriah and the Thugs, and in some parts of the country with great success. [148]


Leonowens, Anna Harriette. Life and Travel in India being Recollections of a Journey before the Days of Railroads. Philadelphia: Porter and Coates; London: Trübner, n.d. [c. 1884]. Internet Archive online version of a copy in the University of California Library. Web. 3 December 2018.

Last modified 5 December 2018