ZINIO logo
News & Politics
The Caravan

The Caravan June 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.

Read More
Delhi Press Patra Prakashan Pte LTD
SPECIAL: Save 40% on your subscription!
12 Issues

in this issue

4 min.
need for speed

Bharat Namdeo Sonawane bought a bicycle four years ago, looking to speed up his commute. Every day he travelled from his village, near Nashik, to a cement plant five kilometres away, where he worked as a wage labourer. Now, Sonawane is a semi-professional cyclist for most of the year, competing in races with the backing of two coaches. In the off-season—through the summer and monsoon—he still works as a wage labourer. I spoke with Sonawane on 25 March, right after he finished the Mumbai-Pune Cyclothon: a historic race that stretches across the old highway between the two cities. “Every time my wife asks me to get a job, I tell her that if I excel at a race like this, the job will come to me through cycling,” he said, lying,…

7 min.
on the run

During a late-summer road trip last September, Stanzin Saldon and Murtaza Agha unexpectedly showed up at their friend’s house, overlooking Manasbal Lake near Srinagar. They could not contact him beforehand because they had abandoned their phones to conceal their exact whereabouts. While Saldon and Agha breakfasted with his parents in the morning, the friend bolted out and ran around the neighbourhood, retrieving the daily paper from the neighbours’ doorsteps. He did not want people to see the front page, which featured his guests’ faces. That month, Saldon and Agha were breaking news. He kept the couple’s secret for a week. Only on their way out the door did they finally reveal to his family that they were not just on a summer holiday. They were on the run from the Ladakh Buddhist…

4 min.
not a drop to drink

Altaf Masih, a sanitary worker and resident of Joseph Colony, a neighbourhood in Lahore, sat on a mattress in a single room that houses his entire family. It was an afternoon in July. The walls, painted a warm brown, displayed family portraits and paintings of Jesus. Masih moved his dog to make space for three students from the environmental-activist group Team Awaaz who had just arrived—Zoya Ali, Zameer Ahmed and Anum Qayyum. “The conditions for families living in this colony are extremely challenging,” Ali said. “I am not even sure that is a strong enough word,” she added, pointing to one of Masih’s daughters. “Look at the rashes on their legs.” A predominantly Christian area, Joseph Colony is located in Badami Bagh, an area that derives its name from a massive…

10 min.
post mortem

On 25 April, the Allahabad High Court granted bail to Kafeel Khan—a doctor widely believed to have been framed in the case of the deaths at a Gorakhpur hospital last August. A substantial amount of reporting suggests that many patients—34 children and 18 adults—died because of a shortage of oxygen. The oxygen provider had cut the supply after the administration repeatedly delayed payments. Instead of questioning officials responsible for procuring the oxygen, the state government has accused doctors of medical negligence. “After observing the presented facts,” the judge Yashwant Verma said, “it is the opinion of this court that there is nothing in the records that can prove Dr Kafeel guilty of negligence on an individual level.” Verma added, “The court should also keep in mind that in the affidavit…

10 min.
silencing sita

From the beginning, the Ramayana resisted singularity. Valmiki’s Sanskrit Ramayana is the earliest extant version of Rama’s story, written 2,000 years ago, give or take a few centuries. Thousands of handwritten manuscripts of Valmiki’s text survive today, and no two are identical. Like the Mahabharata, its sister epic, Valmiki’s Ramayana was an “open” text, subject to alterations and additions with every new handwritten copy in premodernity. Over time, the thousands of editors substantially changed Valmiki’s epic. Valmiki, or at least some single individual, likely authored the bulk of books two through six of the seven-book text, and most of the first and seventh books were added later. Notably, for Valmiki, Rama was probably more a man than a god. His deification was grafted onto the epic—or at least seriously amplified—in later…

20 min.
thinking fast and slow

ON A FRIDAY EVENING in November 2016, a 20-year-old medical student sat behind a mound of papers in a crowded college library, cramming for an upcoming examination on pathology and forensic medicine. The student, in his second year at DY Patil Medical College in Pune, was panicking about the amount that he had left to study. Later that night, he complained to a friend about the formidable syllabus. The friend gave him a small, white pill, insisting that it would help with concentration. He took it on Saturday evening and revised through the night, then took another one on Sunday evening, and studied all of the following night as well. The student managed to make it to the examination hall on time on Monday morning, but blanked out when the question…