The year is 1951, India is a free country, and Hariram lives a poor lifestyle along with his wife, Bela, and a young son, Rattan. He is in debt, but continues to borrow money so that he could provide a better life for his family. On the occasion of Diwali, he borrows some more money, returns home laden with gifts, fire-crackers, and sweetmeats, and together they celebrate. That night a snake enters their hut and bites Bela, killing her, leaving both father and son devastated, so much so that Hariram takes to alcohol, loses his job, and is unable to re-pay his loan. His moneylender assaults Rattan, and an enraged Hariram threatens to kill him. That night the moneylender is killed, and the Police arrest Hariram, he is tried in court, found guilty, and sentenced to be hanged. With the help of a pickpocket named Ghasita, Rattan finds out that his father is innocent, and both set out to travel to Delhi to meet the Indian Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru so that Hariram can be freed. On the way there, Ghasita gets run-over by a truck, but before dying gives a written statement to Rattan, thumb-printing it with his blood. Now alone, Rattan travels all the way by foot to Delhi’s Dariya Ganj, and assisted by some street urchins, he hopes to meet Nehru – all in vain. It is then that the real killer shows up, and his motive is to prevent Rattan from meeting Nehru at any and all costs – even if it means killing him and his new-found friends.