While most untouchables are illiterate, Sujatha Gidla’s family stood different, belonging to the Mala caste they were educated by Canadian missionaries in the 1930s.This made it possible for Gidla to attend elite schools and move to America at the age of twenty-six.
She slowly recognised how extraordinary – and yet how typical – her family history truly was. Determined to uncover that history, and understand the social and political forces that made it possible, she traveled back to India to record the testimonies of her mother, her uncles, and their friends.
In Ants Among Elephants, she tells their story. Gidla’s mother, Manjula, and uncles Satyam and Carey were born in the last days of British rule. They grew up in a world marked by poverty and injustice, but also full of possibility.
Gidla recounts his incredible transformation from student and labor organizer to famous poet and co-founder of the People’s War Group, the most notorious and successful Naxalite party.
Page by page, she takes us into a complicated, close-knit family as they desperately strive for a decent life and a more just society.