By Hugh B. Urban
It is a research of the Bengali Kartabhaja sect and its position within the broader move of Tantrism, an Indian non secular move making use of purposely stunning sexual language and rituals. city seems to be heavily on the dating among the increase of the Kartabhajas, who flourished on the flip of the nineteenth century, and the altering monetary context of colonial Bengal. made from the terrible reduce periods laboring within the marketplaces and factories of Calcutta, the Kartabhajas characterize "the underworld of the imperial city." city indicates that their esoteric poetry and songs are in reality saturated with the language of and the bazaar, which turns into for them the foremost metaphor used to speak mystery wisdom and mystical teachings.
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Extra resources for The Economics of Ecstasy: Tantra, Secrecy and Power in Colonial Bengal
However, the more honest among them—for example Edward C. 71 Similarly, in his work on South Indian Tantra, Douglas Brooks has argued that the only way the scholar can gain access to esoteric knowledge is by tapping into the living representatives of the oral, commentarial tradition, as it has been handed down from guru to disciple over centuries: "Since Tantrics maintain a vigilant guard over the secret meanings of texts, the scholar's access to tradition is limited to those living Tantrics willing to discuss openly Tantric concepts and practices.
48 As we will see, this is especially problematic in the case of colonial India, which represents an extremely complex interaction between indigenous and European factions. As recent historians such as C. A. Bayly and David Washbrook have argued, India was by no means suddenly and radically transformed from a pre-capitalist feudal society into a modern capitalist one. Not only were there many varieties of pre-colonial Indian capitalism, but even after the arrival of the British East India Company, the British were but one of several players in a complex field of economic relations.
117 The Kartabhaja tradition, as we see in the remainder of this book, stands out as among the most acute examples of this dialectic of secrecy and censorship. Regularly singled out as the most threatening, most dangerous, and potentially most subversive of the so-called deviant sects of colonial Bengal, the Kartabhajas cultivated the skills of dissimulation in ever new and more ingenious ways. With the Kartabhajas, however, we find two different kinds of self-imposed censorship at work—tactics of both deodorization and disguise.