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Confessions of a Thug de Philip Meadows…
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Confessions of a Thug (original: 1839; edição: 2001)

de Philip Meadows Taylor (Autor)

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Philip Meadows Taylor's Confessions of a Thug (1839) is the most influential novel about India prior to Kipling's Kim and was one of the bestselling sensation novels of the nineteenth century. In the course of a confession to a white `sahib' the imprisoned Ameer Ali recounts his life as amember of the Thuggee, a secret religious cult practising ritual mass murder and robbery. Taylor uncovered evidence of the crimes committed by bands of Thugs as a Superintendent of Police inIndia during the 1820s. Introducing a new standard of ethnographic realism to western fiction about India,Confessions of a Thug is a strikingly vivid, chilling and immensely readable thriller. This unique critical edition makes available a fascinating and significant work of Empire writing.… (mais)
Membro:Mukundgowda
Título:Confessions of a Thug
Autores:Philip Meadows Taylor (Autor)
Informação:Rupa Publications Private Limited (2001), Edition: New edition, 572 pages
Coleções:Sua biblioteca
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Confessions of a Thug de Philip Meadows Taylor (1839)

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    The Deceivers de John Masters (FicusFan)
    FicusFan: The Deceivers is about the Thugee and the British Raj who wiped them out (supposedly). Part of the Savage Family Chronicles but they can be read as a stand alone.
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I am Indian, and I have known of the Thugs since I was a child. The origin of the word, Thug, comes from the Sanskrit, 'sthagati', meaning 'he who covers, or conceals'. From there it became 'thag' in the Hindi languages, and then 'Thug'. However, the way we pronounce the word is different from how a Westerner would pronounce it.

It is hard to say how much of this book is fictionalized, and how much is genuine narrative. However, I would suspect that 90% is genuine narrative. This does make for fascinating reading, and while many of the modern readers may be alarmed at the thirst for blood, and the desire to kill humans for profit, it is not that far removed from the modern day purveyors of weapons of mass destruction!

The tale itself is fascinating. At times, it does get heavy, in that Ameer Ali's constant tale of killing can get to you. However, this is what it was about. Yet, there are indeed codes of conduct, brotherhood, and genuine emotion that make their way through the pages.

The origins, in the desire to strike a balance between the 'destroyer' and the 'sustainer' of worlds is striking, as is the mythological connection with Kali, the Dark Goddess - she who is the darker aspect of Parvati, wife of Shiva.

For the Western reader - Indian Gods have many aspects. There are shades of grey that have to be explored, and this is indeed how the cult or practice of Thuggee was born, or sanctified.

A fascinating tale, and it does provide a great insight into the little known aspects of Indian history. ( )
  RajivC | Oct 24, 2018 |
Philip Meadows Taylor was a British police commissioner in India in the 1830's. At that time, there existed a cult of ritual murderers and robbers called Thugs. Its practitioners were both Hindu and Muslim, and they worshiped Kali (Goddess of Strife and Destruction), or as they called her, Bhowanee.

Thugs travelled in bands and preyed on fellow travelers. They often inveigled their way into the confidence of fellow travellers with offers of mutual support and protection on the road. Or they simply ambushed travellers as the opportunity arose.

Each thug in a band had a specific duty. The sotha was the conman who was supposed to gain the confidence of potential victims. The bhuttote was the strangler, and the lugha was the gravedigger. The bodies were disposed of in carefully chosen and concealed mass common graves called bhils.

This novel is ostensibly the confession of Ameer Ali, a master thug, who is narrating his confession to a British police commissioner. In it, he describes periods of maurauding and murder followed by years of quiet family life living on the booty obtained through his Thug activities.

In his autobiography, Taylor says, 'Day after day I recorded tales of murder, which though horribly monotonous, possessed an intense interest.' In the novel, Ali confesses to personally murdering more that 700 victims. The stories of the victims, the tactics and ruses used, the interplay among the Thugs, the fear of discovery--all of these elements make for fascinating reading.

Throughout the confession, the police commissioner is largely silent. Taylor does have him say at one point, 'That man, the perpetrator of so many hundred murders, thinks on the past with satisfaction and pleasure; nay, he takes pride in recalling the events of his life, almost every one of which is a murder, and glories in describing the minutest particulars of his victims and the share he had in their destruction with scarcely a symptom of remorse...' And it is true, that the Thugs had a curious code of ethics as to who, when and where it was acceptable to murder a victim.

Taylor has written several other novels based on Indian History. One, Seeta, which deals with the Indian Mutiny of 1857-8, is the only novel by a 19th century British author that is at all sympathetic to the mutineers. Confessions of a Thug has been described as the first 'true crime' novel. Since it is narrated in the first person by a Thug, some of the incidents seem exaggerated and self-aggrandizing, but on the whole this is an excellent book. ( )
1 vote arubabookwoman | Jan 12, 2012 |
The word "thug" comes from the Thuggee (deceivers) who allegedly plagued India prior to the arrival of the British. Though there is some controversy nowadays as to the extent of their existence, tales of their exploits made a strong impression on the 19th Century British and helped justify a stronger colonial presence on the Indian subcontinent.

Confessions of a Thug is the story of one of these men, Ameer Ali, a Muslim thug who led a long and successful career as a Thug before his luck ran out. Ali relats his story to an English interviewer, starting with the death of his father at the hands of thugs and his adoption by the band's leader. Soon, he is grown up and interested in taking up the family trade, which his bravery and cleverness make him particularly suited to.

Though the interviewer occasionally interjects to render moral observations on the action, the voice that predominates is that of Ali, who comes across as an interesting anti-hero. With his cunning and boldness and his travels across India in search of those to rob, he comes across as an exotic adventurer-criminal, like some mix of Sinbad the Sailor and Tony Soprano. This is somewhat underscored by his tales of commanding men under the Pindaris, using freebooting armies to extort treasure from defenseless communities. Ali is as proud of his battlefield exploits as of his work with the strangling cloth.

An interesting story of crime and death on the Indian subcontinent, with many interesting local details. Somewhat dated nowadays, especially in its transliterations from Hindi, but still an interesting read. ( )
  CarlosMcRey | Jan 18, 2009 |
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You ask me, sahib, for an account of my life; my relation of it will be understood by you, as you are acquainted with the peculiar habits of my countrymen; and if, as you say, you intend it for the information of your own, I have no hesitation in relating the whole; for though I have accepted the service of Europeans, in my case one of bondage, I cannot help looking back with pride and exultation the many daring feats I have performed.
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Philip Meadows Taylor's Confessions of a Thug (1839) is the most influential novel about India prior to Kipling's Kim and was one of the bestselling sensation novels of the nineteenth century. In the course of a confession to a white `sahib' the imprisoned Ameer Ali recounts his life as amember of the Thuggee, a secret religious cult practising ritual mass murder and robbery. Taylor uncovered evidence of the crimes committed by bands of Thugs as a Superintendent of Police inIndia during the 1820s. Introducing a new standard of ethnographic realism to western fiction about India,Confessions of a Thug is a strikingly vivid, chilling and immensely readable thriller. This unique critical edition makes available a fascinating and significant work of Empire writing.

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823.8 — Literature English (not North America) English fiction Victorian period 1837-1900

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