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The Caravan July 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.

Delhi Press Patra Prakashan Pte LTD
12 Issues

in this issue

2 min

THE LEDE 8 Kalpana Karunakaran teaches in the department of humanities and social sciences at IIT Madras. Her research is in the field of women’s studies. 11 Aman Gupta is a freelance journalist. 14 Tejas Harad is currently writing a book on the lives of Savitribai Phule and Jotirao Phule. PERSPECTIVES 16 Riyaz Wani is a freelance journalist based in Kashmir. Previously a journalist for the Indian Express and Tehelka, he received a Ramnath Goenka Award in 2015 and a Certificate of Honour at the 2014 Red Ink Awards. 19 Vignesh Karthik KR is a doctoral researcher at King’s College London. Pulari Meera Baskar is studying literature and political science at Ashoka University and is an intern at the Trivedi Centre for Political Data. 22 Disha Wadekar is an advocate practising in the Supreme Court of India…

8 min
kindred spirits

On 19 November 2020, the Indian embassy in Russia announced that Alexander Dubiansky, a professor of Tamil studies at Moscow State University, had died of COVID-19 at the age of 79. Dubiansky was a reputed scholar of the Tamil language and its literature, and the news of his death led to an outpouring of grief through social-media posts by writers, scholars and leaders across the political spectrum in Tamil Nadu. He was remembered as “an adopted son of Mother Tamil,” whose devotion to the language had “linked the Volga and the Vaigai rivers.” Dubiansky’s scholarship contributed to, and was in turn shaped by, a rich exchange of ideas between Tamil and Russian writers, readers and scholars. D Ravikumar, a Tamil author and member of the Lok Sabha, wrote an extended obituary…

7 min
antisocial justice

In the early hours of 3 July 2020, a team of the Uttar Pradesh police went to the village of Bikru, in Kanpur Dehat district, to arrest the gangster Vikas Dubey on charges of attempted murder. Eight policemen, including a deputy superintendent, were killed in an ambush. A few hours later, the police killed two of Dubey’s relatives. Dubey was declared a fugitive and, six days later, was arrested in the town of Ujjain, in neighbouring Madhya Pradesh. On 10 July, as he was being transported back to Kanpur, the police shot him dead—they claimed he had been trying to escape. Six months later, the terror of Vikas Dubey could still be felt in Bikru. Most villagers would ignore me, or abruptly end our conversation, whenever I brought his name up.…

6 min
rites and wrongs

On 25 April, 32-year-old Bhanuj Kappal was scheduled to get married in Goa in a Satyashodhak ceremony—a type of wedding that eschews the services of a Brahmin priest, Brahmanical rituals and unintelligible Sanskrit verses. The bride and bridegroom also write their vows—they decide what goes into those vows—which they recite on the day of the wedding in front of the guests. Kappal’s wedding, which had to be postponed due to the second wave of COVID-19, is among the growing number of Satyashodhak weddings in Maharashtra and beyond. Jotirao Phule co-founded the Satyashodhak Samaj, or Truth Seekers’ Society, on 24 September 1873. The organisation’s primary aim was to revolt against the hegemony of Brahmins and their ideology that preached the enslavement of the lower castes. It was also supposed to be a…

8 min
out in the cold

This February, India and Pakistan made a surprise re-affirmation of their 2003 ceasefire agreement, drawing mixed reactions across party lines. The agreement, the first formal verbal declaration by both countries to maintain peace along the Line of Control, had come four years after the Kargil War. Relations between the two countries took a nosedive in August 2019, when India revoked Article 370, which granted Jammu and Kashmir semi-autonomous status within the Indian Union. This was a body blow to the complex system of relations in the region and left the people of Kashmir seething. The Indian government enforced a communication blackout, ramped up its military presence in the valley and put Kashmir’s elected leaders under house arrest. Following this, in 2020, there were over five thousand ceasefire violations, the most…

10 min
towards equal terms

As the results of the Tamil Nadu election were announced in early May, the strides achieved by the Dravidian politics of representation became apparent. The new state assembly, headed by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, is perhaps the most representative in terms of caste and religion in all of India, and stands in stark contrast to legislative assemblies in many other parts of the country. However, akin to other progressive states such as Kerala, Tamil Nadu’s diverse and otherwise representative legislature is yet to encompass a representative share of women. The rival alliances led by the DMK and the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam both fielded considerably fewer female candidates compared to the last state elections. The AIADMK went from 30 to 17 female candidates (nine of whom contested seats reserved…