Songs from the “Secret Marketplace”

Hugh B. Urban

in Songs of Ecstasy

Published in print December 2001 | ISBN: 9780195139013
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199871674 | DOI:
 Songs from the “Secret Marketplace”

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In addition to the songs of the Bhāver Gīta (the main song text of the Kartābhajās, a Bengali sect devoted to Tantra in colonial Calcutta), there is also a large body of other Kartābhajā songs scattered over a wide range of sources. Most of these are quite different in form and structure from the songs of the Bhāver Gīta, and many are almost indistinguishable from more popular folk forms like the Bāul songs. These have been gathered together, and translations of them are presented in three groups under the titles: Popular songs of unknown origin; Songs from the works of Manulāl Miśra (the Kartābhajā theologian of the early twentieth century); and Songs of the “Wealthy Gentlemen” (Sāhebdhanī): Other Kartābhajās and related groups. The Sāhebdhanīs are most important of the related groups and are a closely related sister movement to the Kartābhajās; they spawned some of the most important folk songs of rural West Bengal. Each set of songs is introduced by explanatory text.

Keywords: Bengal; colonialism; India; Kartābhajā; Sāhebdhanī; sects; songs; Tantrism; translations

Chapter.  6654 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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