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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 and uncles 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. The Independence movement promised freedom. Yet for untouchables and other poor people, little changed. In rich, novelistic prose, Ants Among Elephants tells Gidla’s extraordinary family story detailing her uncle’s emergence as a poet and revolutionary and her mother’s struggle for emancipation through education.
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