The Strangled Traveler
Colonial Imaginings and the Thugs of India
Did the Thugs really exist, or did the British invent them as an excuse to seize tighter control of India? Drawing on historical and anthropological accounts, Indian tales and sacred texts, and detailed analyses of the secret Thug language, Martine van Woerkens reveals for the first time the real story of the Thugs. Many different groups of Thugs actually did exist over the centuries, but the monsters the British made of them had much more to do with colonial imaginings of India than with the real Thugs. Tracing these imaginings down to the present, van Woerkens reveals the ongoing roles of the Thugs in fiction and film from Frankenstein to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.