The salient features of the book are:
- In contrast to the existing literature on the subject, it carries a context-driven conceptualisation of the major strands of political thought that emerged in India in the past two centuries. It focuses on India's peculiar socio-political processes under colonialism that influenced the evolution of such thought.
- Incorporates new ideas and issues that have been articulated, though not as extensively, in contemporary works on Indian nationalist thought and movement.
- Discusses the development and articulation of political thought by leaders like Gandhi, Tagore, Ambedkar, JP, Nehru and Lohia.
- Covers the Indian freedom struggle in detail.
The distinguishing feature of this book is its linking of the text of Indian political thought with the context. In doing so, it challenges the ethno-centric interpretation of nationalism that, despite its roots in Western Enlightenment, evolved differently because of the context in which it was articulated.