Shilpa Raj’s first book, The Elephant Chaser’s Daughter, to be published later this month has the potential to become a literary success. The advance review copy of the book has already received a lot of applause from prominent reviewers and authors.
Shilpa began keeping a journal about her life from the age of sixteen, and over a period of seven years, she transformed it into a moving and candid story about her experiences as a female born into an “untouchable” family bound by age-old traditions and the oppressive practices of upper castes. It reveals, without finger-pointing or rancor, the unpleasant truths about the lives of the social underclass in modern day India. Written in an honest, descriptive style, the narrative flows fast, capturing in its path everything that Shilpa discovers about her family – poverty, social indignity, violence and murder – and the opportunities offered by the education she received in a boarding school started by a philanthropist.
From her school days, Shilpa aspired to be an author, and her passion for writing takes her on a journey to discover her roots. Now, the twenty-four years old author has completed her Master’s degree in psychology; she is the first in her family to have studied in a college. Over the course of her life’s journey, she straddles two worlds: one of hardship, servitude, and injustice; and the other of opportunity and empowerment. In traversing her past to discover her true identity and make choices for herself, Shilpa attempts to answer the question, “In which world do I belong?”
Shilpa has been featured in a Netflix Original Series, Daughters of Destiny, to be released later this month. In this documentary, she will be seen reading excerpts from her book. “I am a product of two distinct worlds, and each has given me a reason to love, to be kind, and to grow strong,” she says.
This is the first time someone so young from a backward community in India has written her memoir. It is a special treat that offers hope for what is possible and redeeming. The Elephant Chaser’s Daughter is simply an inspiring and heart-warming memoir, and has all that is refreshing and unique to offer us, and is surely going to be a best-seller. Watch out for it at your nearest bookstore or online.
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