The Fire Within documents the devastating impact the coal mining industry has had on northern Jharkhand since its origins over 200 years ago to today. Currently, over 600,000 people are "employed" in this sector, plus an undefined number of "informal" workers. Rich in coal, the area once belonged to aboriginal tribal populations (Adivasis, Oraon and Bhumi) before being requisitioned by the British. With the arrival of the railroad and since WWI, extraction rates have increased. Privatization has led to widespread worker exploitation and deterioration of the social fabric: the mafia, martinets, insecure jobs. The result is that for each rupee the government receives, five go into the hands of a black market economy prospering around the mines, while the aborigines sink further into poverty.