Ants Among Elephants: An Untouchable Family and the Making of Modern India
Sujatha Gidla was born into the lowest level of India's caste system, the untouchables. In Ants Among Elephants, Gidla tells her family's history, of her great-grandparents, grandparents and parents who came of age when the caste system was still in full force--when India was becoming an independent nation, shaking off the mantle of British rule.
Throughout, Gidla does not hide the atrocities of the caste system. She discusses how untouchable women are forced to clean public toilets using their hands, a broom and a tin plate to fill baskets to carry away the waste on their heads; how they are forced to become mistresses to those higher on the social ladder; and how they are not allowed to marry above their class. Gidla's family history is intertwined with the evolution of an India in which society severely restricts people's lives based on beliefs and long-held principles. Ants Among Elephants is a fascinating and moving portrayal of one family's struggle to live. --Lee E. Cart, freelance writer and book reviewer