Purnendu Ranjan attempts at reconstructing the history of the Kabirpanth, a devotional religious sect, which hardly had any tradition of preserving its non-didactic affairs in a written form. While the paucity of the historical evidence makes this task all the more challenging, it does make a significant statement about the sect's socio-educational composition-the bulk of the Panth followers coming from the unlettered Hindu low-castes. Such inherent limitation of the sect has a definite bearing on the over-all schema of the work-heavy dependence on the oral tradition and confining the study to a specific region to make intensive study successful. At the same time, these constraints have led the scholar to discover some unconventional reliable sources; such as, genealogies of Mahants, the songs and didactic text of the sect, Sanads, a legal judgement and a number of erected Samadhis etc.
Yet the study breaks a new ground in the history and process of sect-formation by the low-castes almost over the last three centuries. It traces the earliest math in the region back to the pre-colonial times and plots the career of the movement and its institution down towards the close of the 20th century. Here, we also have a fresh insight into the institutional set-up and functional centres. We also come to know about the oppositional symbolic order which followers have woven around the sect to bolster its postion. Recognizing the political underpinnings of a religious sect, Dr. Ranjan has also analysed the specific colonial and post-colonial encounter and political adjustments of the active followers along with the changing circumstances.