THAKOOR, s. Hind. thakur, from Skt. thakkura, ‘ an idol, a deity.’ Used as a term of respect, Lord, Master, &c., but with a variety of specific application s, of which the most familiar is as the style of Rajput nobles. It is also in some parts the honorific designation of a barber, after the odd fashion which styles a tailor khalifa (see CALEEFA); a bihishti, jama’-dar (see JEMADAR); a sweeper, mehtar. And in Bengal it is the name of a Brahman family, which its members have Anglicised as Tagore, of whom several have been men of character and note, the best known being Dwarkanath Tagore, “a man of liberal opinions and enterprising character” (Wilson), who died in London in 1840.

[c. 1610.—“The nobles in blood (in the Maldives) add to their name Tacourou.”—Pyrard de Laval, Hak. Soc. i. 217.

[1798.—“The Thacur (so Rajput chieftains are called) was naked from the waist upwards, except the sacrificial thread or scarf on his shoulders and a turban on his head.”—L. of Colebrooke, 462.

[1881.—“After the sons have gone to their respective offices, the mother changing her clothes retires into the thakurghar (the place of worship), and goes through her morning service. … ”—S. C. Bose, The Hindoos as they are, 13.]

THERMANTIDOTE, s. This learned word (“heat-antidote”) was applied originally, we believe, about 1830–32 to the invention of the instrument which it designates, or rather to the application of the instrument, which is in fact a winnowing machine fitted to a window aperture, and incased in wet tatties (q.v.), so as to drive a current of cooled air into a house during hot, dry weather. We have a dim remembrance that the invention was ascribed to Dr. Spilsbury.

1831.—“To the 21st of June, this oppressive weather held its sway; our only consolation grapes, iced- water, and the thermantidote, which answers admirably, almost too well, as on the 22d. I was laid up with rheumatic fever and lumbago, occasioned … by standing or sleeping before it.”—Wanderings of a Pilgrim, i. 208.

[Mrs Parkes saw for the first time a thermantidote at Cawnpore in 1830.—Ibid. i. 134.]

1840.—“ … The thermometer at 112° all day in our tents, notwithstanding tatties, phermanticlotes,1 and every possible invention that was likely to lessen the stifling heat.”—Osborne, Court and Camp of Runjeet Singh, 132.

1853.—“ … then came punkahs by day, and next punkahs by night, and then tatties, and then therm-antidotes, till at last May came round again, and found the unhappy Anglo-Indian world once more surrounded with all the necessary but uncomfortable sweltering panoply of the hot weather.”—Oakfield, i. 263-4.

1878.—“They now began (c. 1840) to have the benefit of thermantidotes, which however were first introduced in 1831; the name of the inventor is not recorded.”—Calcutta Rev. cxxiv. 718.

1880.—“ … low and heavy punkahs swing overhead; a sweet breathing of wet khaskhas grass comes out of the thermantidote.”—Sir Ali Baba, 112.

THUG, s. Hind. thag, Mahr. thak, Skt. sthaga, ‘a cheat, a swindler.’ And this is the only meaning given and illustrated in R. Drummond’s Illustrations of Guzerattee, &c. (1808). But it has acquired a specific meaning, which cannot be exhibited more precisely or tersely than by Wilson: “Latterly applied to a robber and assassin of a peculiar class, who sallying forth in a gang…and in the character of wayfarers, either on business or pilgrimage, fall in with other travellers on the road, and having gained their confidence, take a favourable opportunity of strangling them by throwing their handkerchiefs round their necks, and then plundering them and burying their bodies.” The proper specific designation of these criminals was phansigar or phansigar, from phansi, ‘a noose.’

According to Mackenzie (in As. Res. xiii.) the existence of gangs of these murderers was unknown to Europeans till shortly after the capture of Seringapatam in 1799, when about 100 were apprehended in Bangalore. But Fryer had, a century earlier, described a similar gang caught and executed near Surat. The Phansigars (under that name) figured prominently in an Anglo-Indian novel called, we think, “The English in India,” which one of the present writers read in early boyhood, but cannot now trace. It must have been published between 1826 and 1830.

But the name of Thug first became thoroughly familiar not merely to that part of the British public taking an interest in Indian affairs, but even to the mass of Anglo-Indian society, through the publication of the late Sir William Sleeman’s book “Ramaseeana; or a Vocabulary of the peculiar language used by the Thugs, with an Introduction and Appendix, descriptive of that Fraternity, and of the Measures which have been adopted by the Supreme Government of India for its Suppression,” Calcutta, 1836; and by an article on it which appeared in the Edinburgh Review, for Jan. 1837, (lxiv. 357). One of Col. Meadows Taylor’s

  By PanEris using Melati.

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