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The book focused on a range of essays covering agrarian unrest, caste oppression, land, labour and wages, the centrality of class struggle, the early promise of change, the radical course of left struggles, the coercive apparatus of the state, issues of impunity and the way the Emergency worked out on the ground.
The essays in the book are divided into seven sections. These include writings about the Dalit poor, on the ideological content of the Dravidian movement, on questions of land and labour, essays on workers and unions written during the 1970s, a period marked by industrial unrest in Tamil Nadu, on electoral politics, on state violence, including an essay on the murder of Seeralan, and finally on socialism, including a piece written on Cuba, which she visited while working in the U.N. in the U.S., at the height of friction between the two countries. These pieces have been drawn from various journals and magazines, including The Radical Review which she edited from 1969-1974.