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The Caravan

The Caravan March 2021

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

7 min
rainbow coalition

In November last year, the Polish artist Przemek Branas completed his latest performance piece, “Miner’s Kiss.” The work centres on the twentieth-century writer Jaroslaw Iwaszkiewicz and a homosexual lover he had lost in his youth, echoing a largely forgotten queer history of communist Poland. While it is a slight departure from the religious iconography and pop elements seen in Branas’s previous works, the central theme has not changed: the homophobia modern Poland has come to reckon with, prompting many to feel disenfranchised in their own country. In early 2019, a previously unknown resolution, to declare certain areas “LGBT-free zones,” became a political agenda in Poland’s conservative heartland. Two years later, around a hundred municipalities in the southeastern part of the country have already embraced the statement. This has sparked fury at…

40 min
a man of the people

ON 28 OCTOBER LAST YEAR, Heera Singh Markam, a former member of the legislative assembly in Chhattisgarh and a co-founder of the Gondwana Gantantra Party, passed away at a hospital in Bilaspur after a prolonged illness. None of the short obituaries published in the national newspapers or the tickers on news channels did any justice to the legacy Heera left behind. They mentioned that he was a “prominent tribal leader,” that he “served as the national president of the GGP,” and that he is “survived by his wife and two sons,” among other inane details. Even in Chhattisgarh, Heera’s native state, no single obituary seemed to show any grasp of his legacy and work. Among the English-language national media, only Outlook India, The Week and Republic World covered his death, and…

6 min
sacred and profane

One afternoon in early November 2019, Mega Trisnawatii posed for a photograph on the waterfront of Ancol, a seaside zone in the far north of Jakarta, which fills up with locals and tourists over the weekend. The photographer, her husband, Febry, had a digital camera around his neck and held a sleeping one-year-old boy in a baby carrier. After taking the shot, along with their other three-year-old son in tow, the family headed to their car. Mega is a 27-year-old Instagram celebrity with over fifty-four thousand followers. In the photos on her account, her head is covered by coloured hi-jabs and her body wrapped in floating dresses that reach her ankles. She was the brand ambassador of Amily, an Indonesian clothing brand, in 2019, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, she took…

3 min
the bookshelf

BUDDHA IN GANDHARA Sunita Dwivedi This book draws on the writer’s research and conversations during her travels in the region of Gandhara, stretching across parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan. It focusses on the art and architecture of ancient Buddhist cities, revisits the history of monastic centres and antiquities, and reveals stories about ancient cities and trade routes that connected India with Central Asia and China. RUPA PUBLICATIONS, R 795, 295 PAGES BORN A MUSLIM SOME TRUTHS ABOUT ISLAM IN INDIA Ghazala Wahab The journalist Ghazala Wahab uses personal memoir, reportage and historical sources to present the history of Islam from the seventh century onwards, looking at its arrival in India and transformation over centuries. She writes about what it means to live as a Muslim in present-day India, speaking to a range of people, including middle-class…

49 min
mandi, market and modi

IF WE WERE TO BELIEVE the Narendra Modi government and the neoliberal commentariat, over a hundred thousand protesting farmers—most of whom have spent their lives working their farms, producing crops and selling them at local mandis—know nothing about farming, are being misled by rogue elements and do not realise what is being done for their own good. The three farm laws that were rammed through by the government in 2020, and are now on hold, are aimed at remaking India’s agricultural economy. According to the new laws, the buying and selling of farm produce can now occur in “any place of production, collection, aggregation,” apart from government-run mandis; private players can enter into negotiations with farmers on pre-arranged contracts and arrive at their own pricing; and the government can no longer…

49 min
money talks

{ONE} ON 27 MARCH 2013 , Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Aaron Schock and Cynthia Lummis—three Republican members of the United States Congress—touched down in Ahmedabad. In the travel disclosure form that McMorris Rodgers later submitted to the US House of Representatives Committee on Ethics, she reported that the delegation came to India to discuss “trade relations with the state of Gujarat” and “mutual security concerns resulting from global terrorism.” Their sponsor’s organisational interest in the trip was for “American congressmen and business leaders to first hand experience the culture, traditions and values of India and develop a deeper understanding and friendship between the two peoples.” This sponsor was the Indian-American businessman Shalabh “Shalli” Kumar. Fifteen hours after their arrival, McMorris Rodgers, Schock and Lummis sat in Gandhinagar, the capital of Gujarat, for their…