Divided into two parts, the book first reconstructs the political world of the peasants of Punjab and forms the empirical base on which rests the subsequent theoretical and methodological discussion. It captures their struggles at the national level as well as their everyday struggles on purely class or peasant issues.
The second part makes important interventions in the theoretical debates regarding the role of peasants in revolutionary transformation in the modern world. The author argues that the automatic association of revolution with large-scale violence has resulted in the refusal to recognize the non-violent yet revolutionary political practice of peasants in the Indian National Movement. The author subjects to critical scrutiny a wide range of theoretical models and argues that the political practice of the Indian peasants cannot be fit into any theoretical straightjacket.