Raja Rao's work examines the life of a village in the time of Gandhi's Salt March and activity in the Indian independence movement. Told from the point of view of a village elder, the story is about how a village comes to terms with a changing reality. Implicit within this is the clash between elements of modernity and traditionalist forces and how the village navigates this dynamic. Such a broad conflict also envelops more conflicts such as the ones between youth and age, men and women, and the notion of how one defines freedom. On many levels, the story is about India, itself, as so much of it is set in the village, comprising most of India at the time period.