This book is the outcome of a workshop on participation organised by Duryog Nivaran, a South-Asian network of individuals and organisations concerned with large scale disruptions in society due either to natural disasters or conflicts. This introductory chapter gives a glimpse of papers included in the above book. The papers come from a group who have not only encountered the notion of participation in different capacities but have also understood it in different ways. Four of the seven papers included in the book look at participation primarily in the context of development and development projects; two of the papers look at the link between participation and political process at the macro level and raise questions about the relationship between development projects and political processes in wider society. Finally, one paper attempts to straddle these two worlds. The book contends that it is important to promote healthy critical debates on the concept and the experience of participation in various contexts. However, the emergence of participation as a new development orthodoxy needs to be questioned.