This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book describes the village understandings of National Rural Employment Guarantee Schemes in Bengal. It focuses on the intensity of their labour than on how the villagers understood this employment. The book aims to explain about the untouchable Musahars whom he studied in rural Bihar is the new space that they have managed to carve out for themselves to resist the hegemony of their superiors and to assert their equality. It is concerned with the way in which the reliance of the poor on local political big men and brokers is perpetuated. The book also focuses on six villages in central Tamilnad, representing two different ecotypes three ‘wet’ villages and three ‘dry’. It argues that the Scheduled Castes were significantly worse off and lived in residentially segregated parts of the village.