Thuggees, a Sanskrit word meaning concealment, were an organized gang of professional assassins, sometimes described as the world's first mafia, who operated from the 13th to the 19th centuries in India. Members of the fanatical religious group, who were infamous for their ritualistic assassinations carried out in the name of the Hindu Goddess Kali, were known as Thugs, a word that passed into common English during the British occupation of India.Thuggees worked by joining groups of travellers and gaining their trust before surprising them in the night and typically strangling them with a handkerchief or noose, a quick and quiet method, which left no blood and required no special weapons. LookThe Hindu members worshipped the goddess of destruction and renewal, Kali, and for at least some of the Thuggees, this formed the basis of their actions, as it is said that they believed they were helping Kali maintain the worldly balance of good and evil.There is evidence, however, that all Thuggee assassins were united by common superstitions and rituals, which led to the gang being branded a cult or sect. The fraternity possessed a jargon of their own (Ramasi), as well as certain signs by which its members recognized each other in the most remote parts of India. They were also bound by a set of rules, such as the prohibition to steal a person’s property without killing them in accordance with ritual first. Brahmans were not killed because of their purity, killing of the sick was considered an unworthy sacrifice, and women were not killed because they were considered to be incarnations of Kali. Membership to the fraternity of Thuggees was often through hereditary lines, passed down from father to son. Others trained with a guru, similar to an apprenticeship, or tried to align themselves with other Thugs in the hope of being recruited. Sometimes the children of travellers who were killed were groomed to become Thugs themselves, as the presence of children would help allay suspicion. The Thuggee assassins were eventually suppressed by the British rulers of India in the 1830s, after the implementation of the Thuggee and Dacoity Suppression Acts.