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Summary

The human drama captured in this memoir is nothing short of amazing - a young woman's struggle between the two worlds of her existence.

Saved by her grandmother from being killed at birth for being a female, and abandoned by her mother at a young age, Shilpa faces the formidable constraints placed on her by her family and the village elders.

The values with which she is being brought up in a school for poor children started by a philanthropist come in conflict with those of her family, tearing each other apart. 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 escape. But 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 woman confronting her "untouchable" status in a caste-based society, and her aspirations for a good future.

©2017 Shilpa Raj and George Foundation Inc., New Jersey (P)2018 Tantor

What listeners say about The Elephant Chaser's Daughter

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Beautiful, fascinating, heartwarming and breaking.

This beautifully written and expertly narrated true story of a young girl plucked from poorest Indian village life for a different and better future, delights and moves the reader by turns. The unique insight into village life from Shilpa, the first of her family to gain entry to University, is second to none. As featured on BBC iplayers "daughters of destiny" we also see in this book, the uplifting work of Dr George, in his giving an education to those otherwise destined to do the lowliest and toughest work and in giving a home to some that had none.
I cannot recommend this highly enough. Well done to Shilpa Raj. I look forward to your next book when it comes.

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lovely

wanted to read this book for a long time and was happy to be able to listen to it.

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Very hard to find an answer

I struggled to get to the end of this very unhappy story and I remain as confused as the main character.

Are all families in thirld world India as dysfunctional as Shilpa's? Were any of the problems really addressed by parachuting Shilpa and a tiny number of others into an alien world?

I daresay the school's intentions were entirely honourable, but I'm not at all convinced that the experience will have made much difference to the sum total of Shilpa's lifelong happiness (or lack of it).

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  • Big
  • 20-01-20

Beautifully written!

Shilpa’s story introduced me to a world I knew nothing about. She expertly describes her feelings, environment, struggles in a life fractured by being selected to attend a special school for the extremely poor. I could feel her pain and joy and wish her well on this journey we call life.

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  • Jamie Fairchild
  • 06-11-21

A very moving story

This is a very deeply moving story of a young untouchable girl in India who has the opportunity to go to school and get an education. It is beautifully narrated. Heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time. I would recommend this book to anyone. And now I am very interested in watching the Netflix series about the school.

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  • Vikram
  • 19-06-21

Inspiring story

The story is very well told. Shilpa's story is amazing: she sets the scene very well and describes her family and their issues in depth. However, I don't really care for the narrator. She does one voice for Shilpa, and one for all female characters, and one for all male characters (which is only slightly different from the female character voice). I prefer a single voice for everyone or recognizably different voices for all main characters, but that may just be my preference.

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  • Kate McKenna
  • 25-04-21

I SIGNED UP

After reading this book and watching Daughters of Destiny on Netflix, I signed up for a monthly contribution to help a child at Shanti Bhavan. Thank you for your work, Shilpa Raj, and thank you Dr. George.

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  • ChristinaB
  • 01-04-21

Beautiful

A beautiful story! I saw the Netflix documentary “Daughters of Destiny” and was amazed by the compassion and triumph in it. Thank you so much for writing your Truth!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 28-12-20

The extraordinary memoir of a brave woman from the “untouchable” caste

The heroic, thought provoking memoirs of Shilpa Raj labeled and “untouchable” in her Indian culture. Full of inspiration even through the most troubling events of the author’s life it speaks to the struggles and plight of many children trapped in poverty and hopeless despair. Ms. Raj’s ability to capture in her recollection her transformation as a long time student at Shanti Bhavan, a school that rescues and educates thousands of children in Tamil Nadu, 1.5 hours southeast of Bangalore, India. I look forward to reading much more from Shilpa Raj who has a voice in her writing and a powerful life mission to impart to the world

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  • Amazon Customer-Okierican/Boriokie
  • 28-07-20

Well written!

Fantastic and very moving. it kept my interest all the time. Perfect read after watching her at the Netflix documentary

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  • Kay
  • 11-07-20

Loved it!

After watching Daughters of Destiny on Netflix, I was touched by Shilpa’s story as well as the other girls. I immediately researched to see what the girls were up to and was so excited that Shilpa had written a book. I loved every bit of it. Thank you for sharing your story with the world. I enjoyed everything even the narration. I hope to hear more from you. God Bless

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-07-20

Inspiration and Hoped During A Time of Uncertainty

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! The narration is wonderful and transports you to the village and Shanti Bhavan as you follow Shilpa's story. Honest, heartbreaking and truly inspiring!

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  • Dana
  • 22-06-20

A triumphant story!

I enjoyed this book immensely! After watching the Netflix series, Daughters of Destiny, I learned about this book and decided to give it a try.It was extremely well written and kept me interested from beginning to end. If Shilpa Raj writes any more books, I will be reading them! I highly recommend it!