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The CaravanThe Caravan

The Caravan December 2018

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.

Country:
India
Language:
English
Publisher:
Delhi Press Patra Prakashan Pte LTD
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12 Issues

IN THIS ISSUE

access_time8 min.
brave new words

For 33-year-old Kholoud Waleed, August is the cruellest month. It was a punishingly hot day in August 2012 on which Syrian government forces stormed her birthplace of Darayya. The Damascus suburb had been active in protests during the Arab Spring and was a stronghold of the Free Syrian Army. There was no option for her family but to flee. When they returned a week later, the civil war that had already raged for a year seemed much closer. “All I could see were mortar shells, pieces of windows thrown onto the powdery ground,” Waleed told me when we met in London this June, her voice breaking and her sea-green eyes filled with angst. The four years that followed the retaking of Darayya by rebel forces in November 2012 saw an unprecedented…

access_time8 min.
the byline is dead

The word “byline” first appeared about a century ago in Ernest Hemingway’s novel The Sun Also Rises. Over time, for idealists among us, the byline came to represent the power of journalism—the courage it provided an ordinary reporter to challenge the high and mighty. As a young journalist, this was the sort of byline I aspired for, whose sanctity, I believed, was to be doggedly protected by editors. Over my career, I have watched the byline die a slow and violent death. It has been killed not only by power-hungry politicians and corporate barons, but also by media owners and their servile editors. More than a decade ago, I opened a folder in my email called “Morgue.” I began saving in it stories I had written that met journalistic standards but…

access_time10 min.
edited out

The “unmanageable” editor is a vanishing breed in India. Most of India’s political class, including the central and state governments and their opposition parties, finds strong, independent editors undesirable. Corporate bosses remain disdainful of professional editors. Owners of media houses, who handpick pliant journalists, are most unhappy if an editor turns out to have an intrepid streak. Even within news organisations, colleagues prefer to have a weakling at the helm. The absence of an editor who has a mind of her own suits all those who define our zeitgeist. Over the years, with the corporatisation of the media and the advent of the media-savvy politician, unmanageable editors have been replaced by managers. Not long ago, Indian media was defined by strong editors—Durga Das, Frank Moraes, S Mulgaonkar and, in recent years,…

access_time10 min.
into the void

“Did you know all our Tehelka stories are gone?” I asked a friend and former colleague from my time at the magazine. As the words hung in the air, I saw his face fluctuate between the shock and horror that had dawned on me just a few weeks before. In mid-August, I had settled down with my laptop to tackle the tedious task of updating my résumé. A handful of my Tehelka stories have been a fixture since I left the magazine in early 2014. It had been my first job—I was tossed into the deep end of reporting and expected to teach myself to swim—and I had produced some of my best work as a rookie journalist. I clicked on the links that I had stored for years, but instead of…

access_time9 min.
the unsung

The Carnatic musician TM Krishna was scheduled to perform in Delhi on 17 and 18 November, in a concert organised by the Airport Authority of India and the non-profit SPIC MACAY. However, after incessantly being trolled on social media, the AAI decided to cancel the event. The trolls had criticised Krishna for performing Christian Carnatic hymns. The grouse, as one anonymous Twitter handle put it, was “Caranatic music is identified only with Hindu religion and you have no rights to change it.” Several musicians faced similar attacks earlier this year. On 25 August, the renowned Carnatic singer OS Arun was to perform at a concert called Yesuvin Sangama Sangeetham, or a Confluence of Jesus’ Music. When he shared the poster on social media, he was subjected to a storm of abuse…

access_time73 min.
same old news

{ONE} SHOBHANA BHARTIA CULTIVATES an image of herself in the mould of Katharine Graham. She has brought up her connection to Graham in multiple interviews and public appearances—at an event in 2015, she spoke of “a very deep engagement and a personal bond with Mrs Graham”—and reporters inclined towards stenography have played up the parallels between the two. Bhartia, as the chairperson and editorial director of HT Media, is the publisher of the Hindustan Times—the third most-read English-language newspaper in India, and the most-read one in the country’s capital. Graham was the publisher of the Washington Post, in the US capital, in the 1960s and 1970s. Both inherited control of their newspapers from their families—Graham from her husband; Bhartia from her father, the industrialist KK Birla. As women in positions of…

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