The thugs were professional assassins who rampaged across India for several centuries before being suppressed by the British in the 1830s.
This week, the All Blacks, in general, and Andrew Hore, in particular, became honorary members of the sect. Such was the ridiculous over-reaction to the stiff arm Hore applied to Welsh player Bradley Davies.
If this was an unfathomable act by a player whose previous 72 tests had shown no inkling of such behaviour, so much of the subsequent commentary, notably in the British media, was utterly incomprehensible.
This was not intentional foul play of the sort employed by practitioners of eye-gouging and the like. Nor did it pose such a threat to a player's wellbeing as Dean Greyling's forearm to Richie McCaw's face in Dunedin this year. Yet the Springbok was banned for just two weeks.
Whatever the opinions on the five weeks handed to Hore, it is certainly excessive in comparison, and highlights serious inequities in the International Rugby Board's judicial system.
The hooker's reputation in this country will forever be blighted by a seal-shooting incident. That was given another wearisome, and irrelevant, trip around the block this week. So, too, was the British media's tiresome contention that the All Blacks are repeatedly guilty of dirty deeds.
Fewer than a handful of examples in more than a century of international rugby hardly offers convincing evidence. Hore's offence was as much to do with committing it in their backyard as the act itself.