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The Caravan

The Caravan April 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

11 min
where’s the beef?

Nascimento Fernandes is a third-generation beef trader in Goa. Ubaldo’s Beef Shop, set up by his grandfather in the 1920s, overlooks Calangute’s bustling fish market. Fresh beef from Belgaum, in neighbouring Karnataka, is brought in daily. Five minivans make deliveries in Panjim, Mapusa, Ponda, Vasco and Margao—about fifteen to twenty tonnes a day—between 7 am and 10 am. These supplies then make their way to traders like Fernandes, who caters to both residents of the village and the restaurants and beach shacks in the area. During festivals, live buffalos and bulls have often been transported from Karnataka to a state-run abattoir. All of this, however, stands to change. On 9 December, the Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill, 2020 was passed in the Vidhan Sabha without discussion, despite…

5 min
act of faith

On 15 March, at the sixth protest gathering of the National Adivasi Indigenous Religion Coordination Committee, Adivasis from across the country came together at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar to demand a separate column for “tribal religion” in the census. They also appealed for the inclusion of Adivasi languages in the eighth schedule of the Constitution. A month earlier, speaking at a conference organised by Harvard University, Jharkhand’s chief minister Hemant Soren said that “Adivasis were never Hindus, neither they will ever be.” He added, “Adivasis are nature worshipers, their culture, religious rituals, and lifestyle is entirely different than Hindus.” Soren’s comments, which became a point of criticism for right-wing leaders, echoed the voices of Adivasis in Jharkhand who follow their own distinct belief systems, which have been transmitted orally through generations. In…

4 min
home brew

Post lunchtime on a crisp winter afternoon, Rupesh Khakholia settled into a black leather chair at his tea shop in Fancy Bazaar, a bustling market in Guwahati. His tiny office was lined by posters and boxes for various kinds of tea—CTC, green and orthodox, and numerous speciality varieties. Outside, a few employees worked frantically to package teas and keep pace as new crates arrived from nearby warehouses. Last October, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Khakholia bought a batch of Manohari Gold tea—a highly prized speciality tea from the Manohari Tea Estate in Assam’s Dibrugarh district—at ₹ 75,000 per kilogram. This was a record price, confirming Manohari Gold one of the most expensive teas in the world, and it made for many giddy headlines. Khakholia placed his winning bid from his office computer,…

19 min
on repeat

The Bharatiya Janata Party looks set for more electoral success in the four states and one union territory going to the polls this summer. The Congress is struggling in all of them, and obituaries have been written in advance for regional parties such as the Trinamool Congress. On cue, the liberal commentariat is back to its usual debate on Rahul Gandhi and the Congress. One set, impatient with the Congress’s perennially stalled revival, wants him to step aside from de facto leadership of the party, making way for other people who can pull it out of the morass; another set defends him and voices its confidence that he remains the right man for the task. If Narendra Modi returns as prime minister in 2024 for his third consecutive term, “a big…

23 min
the biased referee

On 12 March, the Election Commission announced an unprecedented eight-phase polling schedule for West Bengal’s 294 assembly seats and a three-phase one for 126 seats in Assam. The way the phases have been marked out has drawn attention, especially since Bihar’s elections, in 243 seats last year, were divided into just three phases, and polling in Tamil Nadu (234 seats), Kerala (140 seats) and Puducherry (30 seats) would all be over in one day, on 6 April. The EC says the prolonged schedule in West Bengal would help make available adequate security forces in all the areas. But concerns are being raised that the scheduling will load the dice in favour of the Bharatiya Janata Party. Since the BJP has fewer workers on the ground in West Bengal, dividing the polls…

6 min
learning experience

Every few decades, India gets a new National Education Policy—a framework to guide the development of education in the country. The first education policy was passed in 1968, the second in 1986 and the third was approved by the cabinet on 29 July last year. This policy will provide the vision for India’s education not just now, but for decades to come. The 2020 edition of the NEP promises some sweeping changes in India’s education system. It plans to overhaul the 10+2 structure of school education into a 5+3+3+4 model, bringing preschool education into the ambit of formal schooling. It seeks to introduce pedagogic and curriculum reforms, including with respect to the flexibility of subjects and synergy between streams of learning, as well as changes in the assessment system. It aims…