Emphasizing micro-level revolts—which, rather than subaltern militancy, express a collective endeavour by the people to solve their local problems by wresting immediate and tangible concessions—this book:
- Details the multiple forms of mobilization and resistance among various groups—women, peasants, elites, lower castes and tribals.
- Explores issues such as the nature of social conditions, leadership and participants; the development of mass consciousness; the moralities and methods of mobilization; and, the role of religious symbols and popular culture in such mobilizations.
- Delineates various facets of peasant mobilization over 1934–47, including the peasants` response to political processes and their relationship with political associations, and the nature of agrarian conflicts as well as that of peasants` identity.
- Studies both the collective action of tribals—in the form of crimes for survival, religious reform and politically motivated struggle—and Dalit mobilization around the issue of untouchability.
- Contributes to the theoretical debate on nationalism and identity while critiquing the three main strands of nationalist thought as represented by Ernest Gellner, Anthony D Smith and Benedict Anderson.