The Elephant Chaser’s Daughter is the debut book by an emerging author Shilpa Raj. Her book, which has earned recognition for the themes and writing style, has impressed many book critics in India as well as the general readers. Launched in India on 28th of July 2017, the book has started getting encouraging responses from the readers as well as institutions which review the books. I have been tracking the book’s development for a long time now and finally, I am going to post the review of this book. And first things first, I haven’t read anything like this in a long time and I must admit that Shilpa, the author, has the potential to speak for everyone just by speaking for herself! Amazing!
What I found at the fulcrum of the memoir (yes, the genre of the book is memoir) is Shilpa’s urge to break free from the jaws of darkness and explore the world outside. And this urge takes her through various phases of life, of which, she spends a good chunk at Shanti Bhavan, from early childhood to the present, for her education. Shilpa Raj mentions her life at Shanti Bhavan as the ‘world’ which was far advanced than the world which she got at her native place with her parents.
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The Elephant Chaser’s Daughter is divided into many chapters and each chapter tells a part of the story of Shilpa’s life. As this is a memoir, Shilpa has been honest in letting the world know how her days have passed. She does not take away the elements or fabricates those with the colour of fictional creativity.
The interesting part of the book is the seriousness of the themes. Shilpa Raj, surprising for a debutant, has raised the serious themes like untouchability, sex-based discrimination, women issues, child marriages and many issues which are seldom expected from an author who is just making a debut! She even goes to the extent to talk about the space of freedom in the conjugal life…
You will like the book for the narrative, the honest narrative that it offers you. You will also look up to the author because she has dealt with the vivid aspects of troubles that a girl born into a poor family of ‘Dalits’ has to undergo. Shilpa has hinted at the storms that she has braved in order to come to the stage on which she stands today – an author who talks about the duplicity of the society. Can we accept the traditions like untouchability and female foeticide? Can we accept the tradition which does not allow women to get out in the public and work as they want? Can we deny education to the children just because their parents belong to a community which is thought to be ‘lower’? Many questions are there which you will find.
Shilpa Raj’s The Elephant Chaser’s Daughter has come as a ray of hope for so many young children who think they cannot do anything because society is hostile to their ambitions. You only need the determination and hard work and you can achieve anything! This is the message that Shilpa has to deliver through the story of her life.
You can get a copy of the book on Amazon and read it digitally on your Kindle readers too. The link is:
Review by Rupesh Madhukar