Gods in Shackles : What Elephants Can Teach Us About Empathy, Resilience and Freedom

This moving memoir follows a journalist and filmmaker as she finds her purpose in advocacy for the Asian elephants in her hometown of Kerala, India. Foreword by Jane Goodall. ‘I was shocked, saddened and angered by the cruelty towards the elephants who are forced to take part in religious ceremonies – cruelty that is described in this extraordinary book. I was amazed and moved by the courage shown by its author, Sangita Iyer.’ Dr Jane Goodall DBE, UN Messenger of Peace Elephants are self-aware, conscious beings. They can forge strong bonds and grieve the loss of elephants and humans alike. But despite all the empathy that elephants shower on humans, we continue to inflict pain and suffering on these caring, sentient beings. In 2013 Sangita Iyer visited her childhood home of Kerala, India, where over 700 Asian elephants, owned by individuals and temples, were forced to perform in crowded, noisy festivals. These gentle creatures who people claimed to revere were chained, abused and exploited for the entertainment of tourists and for profit. When she found herself in the presence of these divine creatures and witnessed their suffering first hand, Sangita felt a deep connection to their pain. She too had been shackled and silenced by her patriarchal upbringing and by the many ‘me too’ moments in her work life that were swept under the rug. Now she speaks up for elephants, herself and anyone who has been suppressed, inspiring with her story of healing, perseverance and hope. Her work to save elephants has saved her.