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The Caravan

The Caravan February 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.

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Delhi Press Patra Prakashan Pte LTD
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12 Issues

in this issue

6 min.
a pack of troubles

On a windy afternoon in July, Moolchand walked into Kibber, a village in the Spiti Valley in northeastern Himachal Pradesh, following closely at the heels of a foreign tourist. “Moolchand ji,” a passerby called out. “Izzat toh deni chahiye”—you should show some respect. A group of people, waiting for the daily bus out of Kibber, laughed. Moolchand, a friendly and trusting dog, is regarded with affection by tourists and tolerated by villagers, even when he wanders near the sheep pens. But the treatment he receives is rare. In this corner of the Himalayas, dogs are entangled in a difficult conflict with locals. Spiti has long been a pastoral economy, and it depends on livestock—sheep, goats, horses, yak, donkeys and dzo—to provide resources such as meat, manure and wool. A study published…

5 min.
barren land

Mohammad Habib Mir looked pensive as he walked towards his saffron field on a cold day in November. Fifty years ago, the 67-year-old farmer was accustomed to collecting between 20 and 40 kilograms of saffron from each kanal—around 4,500 square feet—in large baskets made from willow twigs. Nowadays, he is lucky if he manages to collect around two kilograms, and he only needs a small bag. Mir, who was brought up in Pampore, a town around 13 kilometres from Srinagar, took up saffron cultivation full-time to support his family after his father’s death in 1967. “My grandfather used to tell me, the deeper you dig, the land will become more viable for sowing, and you will produce more,” he said, referring to the labour-intensive nature of saffron production. Since farmers have to…

7 min.
shifting impressions

Miroslav Brož, holding a can of Krušovice beer, greeted me and Eli Naegele, a Czech reporter, one April afternoon last year. We had just arrived at Předlice, a neighbourhood 15 minutes by bus from the desolate centre of Ústí nad Labem, a visibly poor industrial town near the Czech-German border. Gesturing at the graffiti, grime and abandoned buildings that bordered the open field in front of us, Brož, the 38-year-old president of Konexe, a Prague-based Roma-rights NGO, described Předlice and its dilapidated housing as “the worst Roma ghetto in the country.” The conditions under which the Roma or Romani—a traditionally itinerant group, comprising between 10 and 12 million people in Europe—live in the Czech Republic are particularly dire. According to a survey conducted in 2015 by the European Commission, respondents in…

8 min.
temple run

On 7 December 2017, Karnataka’s chief minister, the Congress leader Siddaramaiah, addressed an event in the Uttara Kannada district marking the inauguration of several public-works programmes by the state government. “They accuse us of being anti-Hindu. Are we not Hindus?” he asked the audience. “My name is Siddarama. My name too has bhagwan Ram’s name. We are the devotees of Lord Rama and Hanuman. … The real Hindu is one who loves all religions. You judge who the real Hindus are. Us or BJP leaders?” Then, the minister for public works in Siddaramaiah’s government, HC Mahadevappa, took the stage and also declared his allegiance to Hinduism. And soon after, the medium- and large-scale industries minister, RV Deshpande, informed the audience that he too was a devout Hindu. “By birth, I am…

10 min.
a modest proposal

The roads of the capital are shrouded in a haze. The toxicity of the air is at many times the permitted level by global standards. International flights are being cancelled. Visiting cricket teams refuse to play on our fields. Schools are often closed. Simply breathing in Delhi is now equivalent to smoking around 40 cigarettes a day. We act as if we had not expected this occurrence and cannot understand how to solve it. We purchase face masks and air purifiers and grumble about the air. We wait for it to pass. But it never passes, because the air is toxic all year round. Only for a very short period, in the rainy season, does the amount of particulate matter dip to permissible levels. As a father, I am deeply concerned…

59 min.
model minority

“MY NAME IS JAGMEET SINGH, a member of provincial parliament for Bramalea-Gore-Malton. I want to thank all the organisers and all the volunteers who made this event possible.” It was December 2013, and Jagmeet Singh was addressing an award ceremony taking place in Punjab, hosted by the Social Educational Welfare Association, in association with International Fateh Academy. A legislator in Ontario—Canada’s largest province—Jagmeet was receiving SEWA’s “Sikh of the Year” award, given to a Sikh who has “overcome challenges to restore the honour and pride of Sikhism and to spread its fragrance in the entire world.” He made it clear why he was, quite literally, an attractive choice. “The largest daily newspaper in Canada, the Toronto Star, recognised me as one of 2012’s top 12 people or 12 personalities for the year,”…