The Elephant Chaser’s Daughter is a memoir by Shilpa Raj. This book special is in its own way. It is already one of the most awaited book of this year. People are talking about it much before its release. You may think what’s so special in it that it is the book of this month. Let me tell you about it.
In this book, Twenty-three-year-old author Shilpa Anthony Raj chronicles the lives of three generations of her family and describes her attempt to transcend what had been the destiny of untouchables for centuries. Born in a remote, rural Indian village, Shilpa recounts the story of a family bound by age-old traditions and oppressive practices of upper castes, the contrasting realities experienced by hundreds of millions of her caste and how she overcomes them to pursue a life she wants to live. Her desire to embrace modernity and pursue education for a professional career brings her in conflict with the wishes of her family as they pressure her to marry her uncle and live in the village with them. She finds herself rejected by her own family with her choice of the world she finally decides to live in, and faces the realities of the obstacles she must overcome in the future.
The Elephant Chaser’s Daughter is not only the story of Shilpa but also it talks about many such daughters who are facing or have overcome such situation. This book may show the way to others to rise above the society to do better for themselves. Shilpa’s memoir is an inspirational tale which will motivate many of us. This book and the author Shilpa have also featured in Netflix film Daughters of Destiny.
Saved by her grandmother from being killed at birth for having been born a female, Shilpa’s life took many unexpected turns and twists through her early years. She faced abandonment by her mother, the formidable constraints placed on her by her family, and the barbs of village elders bound by hundreds of years of oppressive practices and customs that subjugate women. Shilpa is torn between the contrasting lives she leads: one of servitude and injustice experienced by her family; the other of opportunity and empowerment offered by a good education in a school started by a philanthropist.
Just when all seems settled, an unforeseen death under mysterious circumstances shatters whatever stability remains in her life. Pulled in opposite directions, and torn between despair and dreams, Shilpa finally makes a choice for her future. Is she strong enough to stand up to the people she loves, and pursue what she wants?
At its heart The Elephant Chaser’s Daughter is about hope, when all seems lost. Written with raw honesty and grit, this is a deeply moving memoir of a young girl confronting her ‘untouchable’ status in a caste-based society, and her aspirations for modernity.
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About The Author:
The daughter of a housemaid and an elephant chaser from a South Indian village, Shilpa Raj’s life changed dramatically when she was selected at the age of four to attend Shanti Bhavan, a boarding school for poor children.
At sixteen, her need for self-discovery drove her to write this moving memoir of her turbulent past.
Shilpa Raj completed high school with distinction in 2011-the first in her family to do so-and received a Master’s degree in psychological counseling.
Shilpa Raj completed high school with distinction in 2011—the first in her family to do so—and received a Master’s degree in psychological counselling.
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