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The Caravan

The Caravan March 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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Country:
India
Language:
English
Publisher:
Delhi Press Patra Prakashan Pte LTD
Frequency:
Monthly
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12 Issues

in this issue

6 min.
boundaries of belief

Taki in West Bengal is a town of green paddies and greener ponds on the banks of the Ichamati river separating India and Bangladesh. Like the rest of the state, it sees enthusiastic Durga Puja celebrations every year. The streets are lit up in canopies of fairy lights, Bengali songs and Bollywood hits blare from loudspeakers, and pandals, or marquees, compete for who carries the tallest, glossiest pratimas— idols—of the goddess Durga. But what distinguishes Taki from other border towns is a particular tradition on the final day of the Puja. As its residents gear up for the immersion of idols, so do its counterparts in Satkhira, a district across the border in Bangladesh. The inhabitants of both towns place the pratimas in their respective boats and sail up to border…

5 min.
re-rooting

On the main street in Mugeuk, a mountainous village around 90 minutes from Seoul, there are two markets a few hundred metres apart. The older of the two, which has been around for over 100 years, is a traditional bazaar, a high-ceilinged labyrinth of stalls and restaurants selling Korean dishes and produce from nearby farms. It was the centre of village life for decades, but nowadays it is mostly quiet, open only one out of every five days. Down the street is Asia Mart, a store in operation for the last 15 years, which caters primarily to the area’s growing population of migrant workers. Inside, there is a table with fruits from Southeast Asia, packets of instant Indian curry, shelves of Chinese grain liquor and canned fish with Russian language labels.…

9 min.
squandered chances

On 10 February, Sri Lanka held elections for 341 local government institutions. The polls were the freest and the most peaceful in living memory. The newly established Election Commission managed the polling process. The police implemented the law with a level of impartiality unfamiliar to Sri Lankans. No one died and there were no major outbreaks of violence, before, during or after the voting. This, too, was unprecedented for the country. In many ways, this should have been a moment of triumph for the unity government of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. The United National Party, or UNP, and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, or SLFP, assumed office with Sirisena at its helm in August 2015, after Sirisena defeated the then president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s attempt to win a…

7 min.
cropped out

Around mid March last year, a group of roughly 40 farmers from Tiruchirappalli in Tamil Nadu began a protest at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar. The protest was part of a larger agitation in the state where farmers had been demanding a waiver of all debts from nationalised banks, a drought-relief package of R 40,000 crore, the inter-linking of Tamil Nadu’s rivers and the setting up of a water-management board for the Kaveri. The farmers decided to come to Delhi to attract the attention of the national media and thus tailored their protests for its consumption. They came up with innovative, even provocative, ways to protest: they held rats and snakes between their teeth, wore a garland of skulls which they claimed belonged to farmers who had committed suicide, threatened to consume their…

12 min.
remembrance of things past

One of the most arresting objects on display at the 5000 Years of Science and Innovation exhibition, on until the end of March at the Science Museum in London as part of its “Illuminating India” programme, is the index to the Great Trigonometrical Survey of India, published in 1860. “No map in the world at that time,” an accompanying signboard reads, “could rival it for scale, detail and accuracy.” Hundreds of criss-crossing red and blue lines form a tight network of triangles within the index—each, the signboard says, “the sum of hundreds of distance and angle measurements.” Another signboard nearby displays a small lithograph of men, all Indian, lugging around surveying equipment. The caption reads, “Thousands of British soldiers and Indian men lost their lives in completing the 70-year project.” Who…

4 min.
path breaker

It so happens that to set oneself apart one often does different things. but as the old saying goes, you need to do things differently instead. an alternative to the usual, a road less travelled and all that. We wanted to experience it but without heading into the unknown. The New Mahindra kUV100 NXT claims to be different from the vanilla car crowd, and we were keen to test its claims, too. Joining us for the trip was the young star from bollywood, kartik aaryan. One of the few of his ilk to break stereotypes, he’s made the tag ‘bromantic hero’ sound cool. Like the kUV100 NXT Compact SUV — which offers style and a multitude of abilities — he also believes in taking the road less travelled. His original idea…