By Hugh B. Urban

This ebook bargains the 1st English translation of a physique of hugely esoteric, mystical poetry and songs linked to the Khartabhajas, a Bengali sect dedicated to Tantrism. The interval from the past due 18th to the early nineteenth century, in which those lyrics have been written, used to be an period of swap, experimentation, and transition from the older medieval kinds to the hot literary different types of "modern" Bengal. The hugely unique songs provided listed below are an incredible a part of this transitional interval, reflecting the hunt for brand new literary kinds and experimentation in new poetic types.

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Extra info for Songs of Ecstasy: Tantric and Devotional Songs from Colonial Bengal

Sample text

The wise Broker can attain anything, finite or infinite; they devise the means for whatever comes and goes. And that's why, without any power of their own, they come and sit as if they were Princes! " The Brokers say, "it's genuine," but give them the fakes! . The wretched Brokers have become a terrible nuisance! 38) In contrast to the incessant greed and thievery of this marketplace of the world, the Kartabhajas sing of a wondrous new marketplace—the bazaar of love (prema bajar), ruled by the just merchants, the Karta, and his Mahasays.

65 THK SPIRITUALITY OF TIIK SUBALTERN 21 The Marketplace or Ecstasy: Mercantile Discourse and Economic imagery in trie Kartannaja Songs Ten, twenty, thirty Poor men gather together and become a Company. There's an account book, in which so many things are recorded— so many imported and exported goods! Examining all the permission slips and seals, item by item, the shopkeepers engage in business. 1) Perhaps the most unusual feature of the Kartabhaja songs is their extensive use of mercantile imagery and the economic discourse of colonial Calcutta.

Hence, it would be a mistake to romanticize the Kartabhajas simply as an example of "native resistance" or a triumph of the oppressed over their colonial oppressors. Indeed, these lower-class peasants and urban workers appear to have been reinscribed into a new, in some ways equally exploitative, hierarchy in which the primary benefits were received by the Kartas and upper-level gurus. J. C. "94Thus, the poor company of the Kartabhajas appears to have appropriated not only the economic terminology but also some of the lucrative business practices of the British East India Company.

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