Launched nationwide on 28 July 2017, Shilpa Raj’s The Elephant Chaser’s Daughter is her debut book. The book, since its launch, has been making new records. The first and the most important one being the author of the book, Shilpa has become the first lady from a lower section(traditionally supposed as per the caste system) to have written a memoir. And this is a testimony to her determination and hard work. Feedbacks for the book have been encouraging. Shilpa has received the recognition which places her among the forerunners in the field of writing. The Elephant Chaser’s Daughter is a work which challenges the accepted notions of the society as well as tells the story of Shilpa Raj’s life. Quite surprisingly, there have not been many debuts in the writing with a memoir and this fact also makes Shilpa a writer different from the league.
The Elephant Chaser’s Daughter is not a desultory work; it has a purpose attached to the very concept of the book. For the overview, in Indian rural areas, an elephant chaser is not an important person on whom a book might be written. The very title of the book is ironical as well as challenging. Moving ahead, we find that Shilpa Raj has candidly talked about her life, her family, her ancestors, her youth, and many other things. By reading these words, one might feel that this is just a leisure task writing about one’s personal account. However, you need to read this book and you will find that Shilpa has wonderfully made her personal matters universal – she has posed herself not only as the daughter of a mere elephant chaser in some south Indian village but as every daughter who is born in a poor family and has to face several challenges in life from the very birth!
The author has raised many issues in her book and important ones are discrimination in the name of caste, sex discrimination and condition of women in Indian society. Shilpa Raj has challenged the predominant notion of our society that women have to be near the stoves and inside the walls. She has given the example of her mother as well as herself. If Shilpa was also to follow the same tradition, she could never have written a book and would have settled herself into a marriage with her maternal uncle. In an implicit undertone, the issue of honour killing has also been raised through the story of Kavya, Shilpa’s sister and her boyfriend.
The most remarkable thing in the book is Shilpa Raj’s determination to acquire education, not only basic but higher. She does it and becomes the first person in her family to have seen the college and university! Her story, howsoever personal, becomes an inspirational one for the girls and women who belong to the lower section of society and feel that they are helpless. Shilpa writes in detail about her life at Shanti Bhavan, a school for the poor children whose parents cannot afford the cost of education. She mentions how her life has been in a see-saw between her native place and Shanti Bhavan. She has lived both the lives – a life full of hopelessness, confusion and restlessness and another full of aspiration, ambition and ‘social’ faculties.
The Elephant Chaser’s Daughter is a book which tells the story of a brave girl born into a family which did not want her. It is a story of the girl who was forced to marry her maternal uncle but resisted and won. It is a memoir of someone from the ‘traditionally lower section’ of the society. Shilpa has many questions to ask and many stories to tell. Will you care to read those? Will you dare to answer those?
You can buy the book from the link below:
Special Discounted Price on Amazon: The Elephant Chaser’s Daughter
review by – Rohan V