One of the greatest novel in the Bengali language, this is Manik’s first fictional protest against those who make puppets of human beings and play with their lives. Critics who misinterpret the novel as fatalistic ignore the interplay of several sets of conflicts embedded in an enthralling exposition of rural life in Bengal. The central conflict is one between idealism and materialism. Sashi,a man of scientific temper and training stay back in his village to fight the anti-rational and the superstitious which dominate rural lives , thwarting reason and progress. The authorial irony targets not only the negative forces but also their critic , Sashi , the author maintaining a “distance”. This new NBA edition of the classic includes a useful preface by Chandramalli Sengupta.