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The Caravan

The Caravan May 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

34 min
the belly of the beast

POLICE OFFICERS are usually happy to be interviewed about successful operations. They might narrate the details with great flair, while juniors who are around may chip in now and then with additional bits of information. But Bhanu Pratap Singh, the station house officer at the Nawabganj police station, in Uttar Pradesh’s Gonda district, was far from enthusiastic when I asked him about a successful raid he had led on 4 January 2019. In that operation, a joint team of the Nawabganj police and the Uttar Pradesh police’s Special Weapons and Tactics unit rescued nearly a hundred cows and bulls from smugglers. The arrested smugglers told the police that they had planned to transport the animals to the city of Faizabad, twenty kilometres away. From there, they intended to make their way…

6 min
plague tales

In March 2020, as COVID-19 lock-downs started to engulf the world, Sunila Galappatti—a dramaturg, editor, and writer—mulled over an experiment in Colombo. The news of the lockdown made her wonder if people were at risk of shrinking into enclosed realities, shunted away in isolation. Could airing people’s experience of the pandemic amount to something? With this thought, she set up lockdownjournal.com. Galappatti told me she had a desire to build a quiet place, where one could think “not about moments and quick-fire exchanges, but about whole days at a time.” The journal houses a collection of first-person accounts of the pandemic—musings, reflections, families reuniting or being forced to live apart, young worrying about the old, journalists working in empty newsrooms, people venturing on walks, tackling tall grocery lists, coping with loneliness,…

12 min
flight response

These are tough times for the Indian Air Force. Over the past year, the IAF has been stretched thin due to a border crisis in Ladakh. In order “to conserve flying hours and equipment,” it recently cancelled its showpiece training exercise Iron Fist, which is supposed to be held every three years. The need to conserve came because its fleet only has around thirty squadrons of fighter jets against the 42 authorised by the government. More importantly, it is in desperate need of a qualitative upgrade. After the embarrassing outcome of the limited aerial skirmish over Jammu and Kashmir skies during the 2019 Balakot crisis, an upgrade would at least restore the IAF’s technological superiority over its Pakistani counterpart. The IAF seems to consider the induction of 36 French Rafale…

36 min
rescue effort

ON 27 FEBRUARY 2002 , as 59 karsevaks burnt to death in the Sabarmati Express’s S6 coach in the central Gujarat town of Godhra, Narendra Modi, then the chief minister of the state, rushed to the spot. Later that day, the Gujarat government released a press note in which Modi termed the horrendous incident a “pre-planned inhuman collective violent act of terrorism.” The Vishwa Hindu Parishad—a militant Hindu-nationalist group—called for a statewide bandh the next day, while the Gujarat government allowed the VHP to carry out a public procession with the dead bodies of the karsevaks. One of the worst massacres of Muslims in post-independent India followed this bandh, centred in and around Ahmedabad and Vadodara districts, and killing at least a thousand people. Following the train-burning incident, mobs, often led…

12 min
the price of meat

ON 2 APRIL 2014 , Narendra Modi, the chief minister of Gujarat at the time and the Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime-ministerial candidate, addressed an election rally in Bihar’s Newada district. “The same Yaduvanshi which worships Krishna, which rears and serves cows, who are they with?” Modi asked. “With whom is their leader practising politics? With those who feel proud of slaughtering animals in India.” Yaduvanshi is a reference to the Yadav community, who rear cattle by caste vocation and are a crucial vote base for the Rashtriya Janata Dal in Bihar and the Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh. Modi seemed to be taking a dig at the Samajwadi party for courting Muslim voters. Pitching animal protection as an electoral issue, Modi added, “Brothers and sisters, the government in Delhi neither…

2 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…