Children of Kali by Kevin Rushby
Through India in Search of Bandits, the Thug Cult, and the British Raj

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In the early 1800s, the greatest criminal gang in history operated throughout India. Its members were inspired by religious fanatics and came from many faiths, yet they worshiped one goddess, Kali. In her name, they murdered more than one million Indian travelers—all without spilling a drop of blood. Their weapon was the handkerchief, their sacrament sugar, and the gang was supposedly eradicated by the British in the 1830s.

Today, a modern-day bandit named Veerappan is India’s most-wanted man and most notorious criminal, responsible for more than one hundred murders. Some say he is a freedom fighter, others that he is a vicious killer. Still at large in the jungles of southwestern India, he avoids capture, his followers claim, by magical powers.

In Children of Kali, Kevin Rushby researches these two criminal legends, both of which have been distorted and misused by those in power. As intrepid an investigator as he is an elegant writer, Rushby recounts his quest both to gain a meeting with Veerappan and to untangle the legends of the Thug Cult and the British policeman, William Sleeman, responsible for its suppression. He visits prisons and gangster hideouts, exploring the nature of crime and punishment in a country where good and evil may be as murky as the Ganges.

A compelling blend of travel journalism and history, infused with Rushby’s infectious spirit and with memorable characters, Children of Kali connects past with present and reexamines the legacy of the British Raj.

About Kevin Rushby

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Kevin Rushby has lived and worked in Sudan, Malaysia, Thailand, and Yemen. He is the author of Eating the Flowers of Paradise: A Journey through the Drug Fields of Ethiopia and Yemen, Chasing the Mountain of Light: Across India on the Trail of the Koh-I-Noor Diamond, and Hunting Pirate Heaven: In Search of the Lost Pirate Utopias of the Indian Ocean. He lives in York, England.
Published April 1, 2003 by Walker & Company. 292 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Travel. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Children of Kali

The Guardian

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In Jabalpur a rickshaw takes Rushby to a "deluxe" hotel where the manager shows him to a "premier room" of cheap laminate furniture, "scabbed and smelly, a room in which opening the wardrobe was an act of courage, a room of ragged stained curtains, a room without a single redeeming feature, a bed...

Nov 02 2002 | Read Full Review of Children of Kali: Through Ind...

Publishers Weekly

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Over the course of centuries, the Indian thug cult (thug is a Hindi word meaning "deceiver") murdered an estimated one million travelers before it was eradicated by the British Raj.

| Read Full Review of Children of Kali: Through Ind...

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