Ants Among Elephants: An Untouchable Family and the Making of Modern India by Sujatha Gidla

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Read Ants Among Elephants: An Untouchable Family and the Making of Modern India Online Free - The stunning true story of an untouchable family who become teachers, and one, a poet and revolutionary

Like one in six people in India, Sujatha Gidla was born an untouchable. While most untouchables are illiterate, her family was educated by Canadian missionaries in the 1930s, making it possible for Gidla to attend elite schools and move to America at the age of twenty-six. It was only then that she saw how extraordinary—and yet how typical—her family history truly was. Her mother, Manjula, and uncles Satyam and Carey were born in the last days of British colonial rule. They grew up in a world marked by poverty and injustice, but also full of possibility. In the slums where they lived, everyone had a political side, and rallies, agitations, and arrests were commonplace. The Independence movement promised freedom. Yet for untouchables and other poor and working people, little changed. Satyam, the eldest, switched allegiance to the Communist Party. Gidla recounts his incredible life—how he became a famous poet, student, labor organizer, and founder of a left-wing guerrilla movement. And Gidla charts her mother’s battles with caste and women’s oppression. Page by page, Gidla takes us into a complicated, close-knit family as they desperately strive for a decent life and a more just society.

A moving portrait of love, hardship, and struggle, Ants Among Elephants is also that rare thing: a personal history of modern India told from the bottom up.

Title : Ants Among Elephants: An Untouchable Family and the Making of Modern India
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 0865478112
Edition Language : English
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 400 pages


Pond rated it ★★★★☆

August 08, 2017

**SPOILER ALERT** This is a stunning biography of an untouchable family involved in the Naxalite insurgency in 1940-70's India. The author's uncle was a leader in this revolutionary movement and the author herself, now working as a subway conductor in New York City, was a student agitator in her y...

Subashini rated it ★★★★☆

September 30, 2017

I wavered between 3 and 4 stars, so went with 3.5 stars rounded up. But what the hell do stars matter, in the end. I would recommend this book to anyone, and especially so if you want to learn about the ingrained brutality and injustice of the caste system in India. It's also a great look at radi...

Adarsh rated it ★★★★☆

September 02, 2017

A better formatted of this review is available at "Your life is your caste, your caste is your life." Sujatha Gidla was born a Dalit-Christian - an untouchable. She had to move to a different country, the USA, to realize the unfairness of her life in India....

kathyrn rated it ★★★★☆

July 19, 2017

thanks to Farrar, Straus and Giroux and netgalley for an ARC. I've just started reading this and honestly thought the caste system in India didn't exist anymore. This memoir is captivating and engaging. A moving portrait of love, hardship, and struggle, Ants Among Elephants is also that rare thing:...

Arthi rated it ★★★★☆

September 02, 2017

This book is a difficult read for a practicing Hindu. I felt guilty all through its 300 odd pages. But the story is not about that guilt. It's far far more important. What it means to be an untouchable in India. Sujata Gidla writes factual prose. The emotions are there, layered throughout. The pa...

Ann rated it ★★☆☆☆

September 03, 2017

The word that kept coming to mind while reading this book was chaos--unbelievable chaos in the lives of those depicted, but also in the writing. Fascinating subject bogged down by style. Glossary and family tree would have been helpful.

Oeendrila rated it ★★★★★

August 16, 2017

Proof that you can tell a story honestly and forcefully by writing it in simple language sans artifice. And it is no surprise that she could tell it so powerfully for it is her lived reality and the truth of the subcontinent.

Asha rated it ★★☆☆☆

August 20, 2017

Perhaps I had the wrong impression of what this book was about, I had thought it was about how an untouchable family rose above odds and stigma to 'rise like elephants' and achieve success in life despite obstacles; but found instead a very boring political book about family joining in, and rise...

Robert rated it ★★★☆☆

July 31, 2017

Glad I read this one, because it showed me a lot about a world that I knew only a bit about. I had friends from India, and they'd talk a wee bit about the lingering effects of caste prejudice if prompted, but mostly they steered very clear of the subject (for understandable reasons). This book di...

Sabeeha rated it ★★★★☆

October 24, 2017

Heart wrenching memoir of a family of Untouchables in India. She tells the story of her family, Christian Untouchables, who were at the bottom of the social rung in India, and could never move out of the class of untouchables. They lived outside the town, segregated and considered 'filthy'. The a...

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