"believing he had fallen into the hands of bandits"
A segment of a fresco on a wall in Dunhuang depicting a group of merchants being robbed by bandits.
Public DomainA segment of a fresco on a wall in Dunhuang depicting a group of merchants being robbed by bandits. - Credit: The Silk Road: Two Thousand Years in the Heart of Asia

Bandits were a class of robbers in the Indian subcontinent, who plundered in armed mobs. The term was also used for the pirates who roamed the Ganges between Calcutta and Burhampore.

Bandit Queen is a film based upon the life of Phoolan Devi, a notorious female bandit in modern India. The story is also available in paperback - India's Bandit Queen: The True Story of Phoolan Devi by Mala Sen. For history of bandits in India read, Stranglers and Bandits: A Historical Anthology of Thuggee by Kim A. Wagner. Another interesting article is available on Tabish Khair's book, The Things about Thugs on the Mid-day website.