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The Economics of Ecstasy: Tantra, Secrecy and Power in Colonial Bengal
     

The Economics of Ecstasy: Tantra, Secrecy and Power in Colonial Bengal

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by Hugh B. Urban, Wendy Doniger (Foreword by)
 

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This is a study of the Bengali Kartabhaja sect and its place in the broader movement of Tantrism, an Indian religious movement employing purposely shocking sexual language and rituals. Urban looks closely at the relationship between the rise of the Kartabhajas, who flourished at the turn of the 19th century, and the changing economic context of colonial Bengal.

Overview

This is a study of the Bengali Kartabhaja sect and its place in the broader movement of Tantrism, an Indian religious movement employing purposely shocking sexual language and rituals. Urban looks closely at the relationship between the rise of the Kartabhajas, who flourished at the turn of the 19th century, and the changing economic context of colonial Bengal. Made up of the poor lower classes laboring in the marketplaces and factories of Calcutta, the Kartabhajas represent "the underworld of the imperial city." Urban shows that their esoteric poetry and songs are in fact saturated with the language of the marketplace and the bazaar, which becomes for them the key metaphor used to communicate secret knowledge and mystical teachings.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Urban's two volumes offer a magisterial overview and theoretically sophisticated interpretation of a group that is notoriously difficult to approach, either linguistically or in terms of context." —Journal of the American Oriental Society

"A refreshing blend of archival and field research, history of religions, postmodernism, and postcolonial studies."— The Journal of Religion

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195139020
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
11/29/2001
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

Meet the Author

Ohio State University

University of Chicago

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The Economics of Ecstasy: Tantra, Secrecy and Power in Colonial Bengal 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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