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Ants Among Elephants exposes the reality of caste in modern India

Sujatha Gidla's wonderful memoir works within the rhetorical tradition of Dalit memoirs

By Gaiutra Bahadur   July 2018

Sujatha Gidla with, left to right, her grandmother, father, brother, mother and sister. Photo courtesy Sujatha Gidla

As a graduate student newly arrived in the United States in 1990, Sujatha Gidla told a man at a bar that she was untouchable. His flirtatious response—“Oh, but you’re so touchable”—captures the steep contrast between life as a Dalit in India and life as a South Asian woman in the US. (Dalit, which means “ground down” or “oppressed,” has replaced untouchable as the term for a lower-caste person.)

Early in her remarkable…

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