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The Caravan

The Caravan November 2020

The Caravan is India’s first narrative journalism magazine. Stories are reported in a style that uses elements usually reserved for fiction—plot, characters, scenes and setting—to bring the subject to life. Like The New Yorker, The Atlantic and Granta, the context of a Caravan story is something more substantial. In India, this niche—one for the intellectually curious, the aesthetically inclined and the upwardly mobile, has remained vacant. That is, until The Caravan.

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Delhi Press Patra Prakashan Pte LTD
12 Issues

in this issue

4 min
true media needs true allies.

I think that there will come a time when people will ask of the Indian media: What were you doing in those five years when a government came to power that spread hate and poison, that controlled the media, what were you doing then? And very few in the Indian media will be able to hold their heads up and say that we were calling the powerful to account. I think Caravan is one of the few magazines that will be able to hold its head up, if it stays afloat. And I hope it stays afloat, which is why I’m saying, please read Caravan. ARUNDHATI ROY, Author I love reading The Caravan, because the kind of reportage it does, is away from the din of fast news, of something which is…

5 min
force of habitat

The Chhattisgarh government decided to create a 450-square-kilometre elephant reserve in Lemru, located in Korba district, in 2005. Even though the union environment ministry, which has been releasing funds to state governments under Project Elephant since 1992, sanctioned the project in 2007, the Raman Singh administration shelved the project the following year. Media reports claimed that the decision was taken to facilitate coal mining in Korba, a major industrial hub. The state’s current chief minister, Bhupesh Baghel, decided to go ahead with the project upon assuming office, in December 2018. Wildlife activists and experts believe the reserve will benefit elephants and reduce conflict between the animals and humans. “There is considerable elephant movement in the state from Odisha and Jharkhand due to forest fragmentation and environmental degradation,” Prathmesh Mishra, a Bilaspur-based…

7 min
troubled waters

On 29 December 2019, police in Japan’s Sado Island found the remains of at least five people, including two severed heads, in a wooden boat that had washed ashore. It was the second “ghost boat”—as battered wooden vessels containing the corpses of North Korean fishermen are popularly known in Japan—to wash up at Sado that month. Across the country, over a hundred and fifty ghost boats were found in 2019 alone, and there have been more than five hundred of them in the past five years. The Japanese coast guard stated that it had found over fifty bodies in such vessels last year. Encrusted with shells and algae, these flat-bottomed boats are typically around five metres in length. They have no toilets or beds, and typically contain just a few jugs…

12 min
raging against the machine

Mohsin Dawar began writing in 2016. His first article, written on the encouragement of an academic friend, was about the new social contract being offered to internally displaced people returning to Waziristan, part of the Pashtun heartland of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, after the Pakistan army successfully concluded operations against militant groups in the region. Dawar had led the Awami National Party’s humanitarian efforts among the IDPs over the past three years, raising money, distributing rations and establishing a school. Now, in his writings and speeches, he raised a number of issues faced by the returnees, including the army’s demolition of thousands of shops in his hometown of Miranshah. Dawar’s great-grandfather had been close to the pre-Independence Pashtun leader Abdul Ghaffar Khan, whose son founded the ANP. While attending Gomal University, Dawar was…

9 min
helpless spectators

The compromise of India’s democratic institutions in recent years has been well documented in the national and international media. Since this threat to democracy has come from the executive, people have naturally looked to the judiciary to put the actions of the government under constitutional scrutiny. The characteristic function of a constitutional court is to be counter-majoritarian, so that it ensures the government treats all citizens fairly and not only those who voted it into power. The legitimacy of the courts is derived from independent and effective review of the state’s actions. However, over the last few years, the Supreme Court has failed in performing this primary function. The conduct of the apex court is not an aberration or an unintended mistake, but follows a pattern in which certain tactics are…

7 min
pushing the limits

On 6 March, the Indian government reconstituted the Delimitation Commission for Jammu and Kashmir, and for four northeastern states: Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Nagaland. Delimitation is the process through which boundaries are redrawn for state assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies, in order to reflect changes in population. This is done on the basis of the preceding census. While the last delimitation exercise was conducted across India between 2002 and 2008, it was held back for these states. Various political actors, especially from Assam, had strongly objected to the use of the 2001 census on the grounds that the National Register of Citizens had not yet been updated. Two shifts under the Modi administration—the revocation of Article 370 and bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories, and the updation…