For years powerful landlords have held sway over the poor illiterate farmers, keeping them impoverished, making them work as bonded laborers for paltry loans they had taken years ago, but which now have ballooned with the interest charged on the principal. One such story is of Mukhiya Hardayal, who is on the Panchayat, and is opposed to the cruel practices of Thakur Sher Bahadur Singh. When Hardayal's wife, Krishna, passes away while delivering their second son, Karamveer, he begins to hate, treat him contemptuously, generally ignore him and holds him responsible for his wife's death. Hardayal spends all his love for his elder son, Suraj, who does live up to his father's expectations and excel in his studies, so much so that the Thakur himself loans some money to Hardayal so that Suraj can further his studies in Bombay. After Suraj leaves, Hardayal finds himself enmeshed in the Thakur's loan, unable to re-pay it with the interest, he is severely whipped and made to work as a bonded ...