Thuggee (UK: /θʌˈɡiː/, US: /ˈθʌɡi/) are actions and crimes carried out by Thugs, historically, organised gangs of professional robbers and murderers in India. The English word thug traces its roots to the Hindi ठग (ṭhag), which means 'swindler' or 'deceiver'. Related words are the verb thugna ('to deceive'), from the Sanskrit स्थग (sthaga 'cunning, sly, fraudulent') and स्थगति (sthagati, 'he conceals'). This term, describing the murder and robbery of travellers, was popular in the northern parts of the Indian subcontinent, especially northern and eastern regions of historical India (present-day northern/eastern India and Bangladesh). Contemporary scholarship is increasingly skeptical of the thuggee concept, and has questioned the existence of such a phenomenon, which has led many historians to describe thuggee as the invention of the British colonial regime.
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