Ashok Behram is the son of Thug Behram, leader of the Thuggee murder cult of India that killed thousands of people during their reign of terror that lasted from the late 17th until the mid-19th century. Thug, the “King of Thugs” admitted to taking part in 927 murders, and personally strangling 125 men, before he was hanged in 1840,
Membership in the Thuggee cult began at birth, and the tradition was passed down from father to son. Their weapon was their ceremonial rumāl, a garrote made by taking their cummerbund or headwrap and sewing a large medallion of a Kali, the Hindu Goddess of Death, into it. The Thugs would throw the garrote around victim’s neck, and as they strangled the victim, the medallion around the crush the Adam’s apple.
The Thuggee would join caravans and wagon trains, pretending to be traveling soldier and guides, slowly gaining the trust of their intended victims. But by the 1830’s British Queen Victoria had finally had enough of the terrorism and sends a massive force into the Ghat Mountains to rid India of the Thuggee plague. In 1839, the British capture and execute his father, and at age 11, Ashok flees with his uncle to the U.S., only to be kidnapped when raiding Comanche Indians attack his wagon train.
By the time Francois Devol encounters him in the 1846, in the Texas Plains, Ashok has grown into a nearly 7-foot-tall giant. He is a skilled warrior, experienced in the savagery and brutality of the nomadic Plains Indian bands of hunters and warriors. Delighted to discover in Ashok a cruelty that even exceeded his own, Devol hires him immediately and grooms him as his personal assassin.
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