When W. S. S. Mackay, general manager of the James Finlay-owned Kanan Devan Plantations (1925-46) remarked that the planters were a ‘state within a state’, they were law and order, and they were everything, right up to the Second World War (see Chapter 5), he would not have imagined that it would remain so even in the post-colonial phase. The plantations remained a system wherein labouring families were exploited and hegemonised by the patriarchs of fragmented social identities. Occupying as they did a peripheral position in the capitalist plantations, the workers remained peripheral to the capitalist world economy and the local social structure and their fate was determined by the complex interactive processes therein. More importantly, at least in the immediate post-Independence phase, the hegemony of global capital continued to hold sway over the newly carved out states when it re-appeared within new power relations in the post-neo-liberal phase. The plantation worker-families saw little change in their living conditions, and their history continued to be a story of servitude and misery despite the fact that this was also the period of radical trade unionism on the plantations. The overarching presence of global capital was felt nowhere else more keenly than in the state of Kerala, when the fi rst Communist regime came into effect in 1957 after the linguistic re-organisation of Indian states in 1956; in neighbouring Tamil Nadu, too, violence on plantations reached unprecedented levels implying that Independence brought little change to the workers save for the passing of the Plantation Labour Act, 1951, which again was more thwarted than abided by. With the passage of time, the plantation sector has come to represent multiple relations of production: while some workers in certain estates and planting companies managed to escape further immiserisation, the majority entered the new millennium in an impoverished state.