Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Economics of Ecstasy – Tantra, Secrecy and Power in Colonial Bengal - Oxford Scholarship Online
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

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

Hugh B. Urban


This is a study of the Bengali Kartābhajā sect and its place in the broader movement of Tantrism, which is an Indian religious movement, notorious for its alleged use of shocking sexual language and rituals. The author looks closely at the relationship between the rise of the Kartābhajās, who flourished at the turn of the nineteenth century, and the changing economic context of colonial Bengal. Made up of the poor lower classes labouring in the marketplaces and factories of Calcutta (India), the Kartābhajās represent “the underworld of the imperial city.” It is shown that their esoteric poetry ... More

Keywords: Bengal, colonialism, cults, culture, esotericism, imagery, India, Kartābhajās, language, metaphors, poetry, religion, secrecy, sects, songs, Tantrism

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2001 Print ISBN-13: 9780195139020
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003 DOI:10.1093/019513902X.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Hugh B. Urban, author
Ohio State University
Author Webpage