Author in Focus : Shilpa Raj : The Girl who embraced her roots to find her wings

While creative writing is an open field that gives a platform for writers from all walks of life to showcase their talents and hidden stories, the author in focus today is special. Shilpa has chosen to write her memoir at a young age when others would have played it safe with romance novels. She has delved into her roots to bring to surface India’s dark, brushed up secrets about its society without finger-pointing or acrimony. But she has done so with the bold, gritty, unapologetic and fierce elements of her book, with no bars in explaining the societal issues her family faced because of their caste. Ladies and Gentlemen, let’s find out more about the author of the much awaited book, The Elephant Chaser’s Daughter, and the documentary that features the author in the Netflix Original Series called Daughters of Destiny that will begin streaming around the globe from July 28.

Early Beginnings

At the tender age of 16 when she dreamt of becoming a journalist and a writer, Shilpa started penning down her life history which slowly transformed into this literary masterpiece. Her encounters with the harsh realities of her ‘untouchable’ social status and the hardships faced by her family turned a simple autobiography into a hard hitting and bold book.

Her journey: from roots to wings

Through exploring her past, Shilpa ventured back to the small south Indian village she hailed from, and from then on, she encountered every hurdle and constraint placed on her by her family that adhered to age-old customs and practices. Traversing each obstacle, she found her own identity and pursued her dream of a good education and a successful future. She is the only person in her family to have crossed the threshold of high school education and seized the opportunity given to her by Shanti Bhavan, an organisation that helped her in her upbringing, to gain a Master’s degree in Psychological Counselling.

The Elephant Chaser’s Daughter 

This memoir by a young, 24-year-old brings to light the plight of her people through characters and settings described to her by her family. In her own words, she says that she knows her parents better as the characters of her book than in real life. She understands the power of education and how it has helped her escape a future as destined for others in her own family. She hopes that through this book, people would recognise what can be accomplished with opportunity for a good education. This is a stunning and inspiring story filled with grit and hope.

When she isn’t writing 

Shilpa loves teaching English and writing, as she understands the power of language and education. The years she has spent gathering details about her family history and about her friends have now motivated her to discover others without a voice.

To be aired later this month, the film, Daughters of Destiny, will feature the stories of five young women who defied their destined future. Shilpa Raj is one of them, and we can watch her while reading her memoir.

Book release and pre-release verdicts


The book, The Elephant Chaser’s Daughter, is published by Rupa Publications. It has already garnered good reviews all over the blogging and book community for being an offbeat, courageous book that redefines the contemporary literature in India. 

Here’s wishing this young, bold writer good luck. Kudos!

Find out more about the author here : 

Official website : 

Daughters of Destiny : 

The Elephant Chaser’s Daughter pre-order link :

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