Dacoits and Phansigars

I’m currently reading The Insidious Dr. Fu-Manchu by Sax Rohmer. I’m really enjoying it. The character of Dr. Fu-Manchu is fascinating. I’ll blog about it later. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, however, I’d like to briefly mention a couple of words used in the book.


A Dacoit

A dacoit is essentially an Indian bandit. Dr. Fu-Manchu employs many dacoits for his nefarious purposes. Here is a quote from the book using the word:

You remember the cry in the back lane? It suggested something to me, and I tested my idea – successfully. It was the cry of a dacoit. Oh, dacoity, though quiescent, is by no means extinct. Fu-Manchu has dacoits in his train, and probably it is one who operates the Zayat Kiss, since it was a dacoit who watched the the window of the study this evening. To such a man an ivy-covered wall is a grand staircase.


Thugs (Phansigars)

Phansigar is another word for Thuggee. A thuggee is also an Indian bandit or assassin. It is also the origin of our word thug. Here is yet another quote from the book:

“The man was a phansigar – a religious strangler. Since Fu-Manchu has dacoits in his service I might have expected that he would have Thugs. A group of these fiends would seem to have fled into Burma; so that the mysterious epidemic in Rangoon was really an outbreak of thuggee – on slightly improved lines!”

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