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The Caravan

The Caravan April 2019

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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12 Issues

in this issue

7 min.
home improvement

Shiva Raj was born on a footpath. He grew up on the streets. As a five year old, unable to afford a real football, he would kick around broken clay cups and paper balls. His earliest memories are of a sky bracketed by foliage, decrepit buildings and perforated plastic sheets, of huddling under cornices to prevent getting wet in the rains, of fighting for a little shade when the summer sun baked the tar on Chennai’s roads. His father repaired umbrellas and plastic buckets for a living. In the Margazhi month—which stretches from the middle of December to mid January—his parents managed to earn a little more as fortune tellers for slum dwellers preparing for the festival of Pongal. But these odd jobs did little to make ends meet, and a…

11 min.
uncharted territory

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s entry into Uttar Pradesh’s politics is linked to the odd predicament that the Congress faces in the state. It won 44 seats in 2014 and must at least triple its tally in this year’s Lok Sabha elections in order to lead a coalition government, in the event that the National Democratic Alliance is unable to form one. The Congress could achieve this by performing exceptionally well in states where it is in direct competition with the Bharatiya Janata Party, which spearheads the NDA, or where it is part of an alliance. In states where the Congress is a marginal player, it is dependent on regional outfits to substantially reduce the BJP’s 2014 tally of 282 seats. Uttar Pradesh is one of the states where the Congress has been…

10 min.
supporting role

When Aditya Dhar’s Uri: The Surgical Strike released in January this year, the defence minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, tweeted a series of videos from a cinema hall in Bengaluru, where she watched the film with war veterans. One video showed a crowd brandishing national flags and shouting slogans such as “Indian army zindabad!” Another showed Sitharaman gleefully leading the chorus of the film’s tagline. “How’s the josh?” she called. “High, sir!” the viewers responded. She went on to tag the producer, director and actors of the film, commending the latter for their “brilliant performances.” As the country readies itself for elections this year, a spate of films featuring blatant support of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has been released. Apart from Uri, there is Abhijit Panse’s Thackeray and Vijay Ratnakar Gutte’s The…

4 min.
true media needs true allies.

I think that there will come a time when people will ask of the Indian media: What were you doing in those five years when a government came to power that spread hate and poison, that controlled the media, what were you doing then? And very few in the Indian media will be able to hold their heads up and say that we were calling the powerful to account. I think Caravan is one of the few magazines that will be able to hold its head up, if it stays afloat. And I hope it stays afloat, which is why I’m saying, please read Caravan. ARUNDHATI ROY, Author I love reading The Caravan, because the kind of reportage it does, is away from the din of fast news, of something which is…

34 min.
the takeover

FOR TWO DAYS IN MARCH 2017 , over seven hundred academics and vice chancellors from 51 state and central universities gathered in Delhi University to learn how to bring the “true nationalist narrative” to academia. The closed-door event was called the Gyan Sangam—knowledge summit—and one of its main speakers was Mohan Bhagwat, the sarsanghchalak—supreme leader—of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the ideological parent of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. The topics under discussion, reportedly, were the “cultural onslaught on educational system,” the “colonisation” of intellectuals and the resurgence of nationalism in academia. According to its website, the Gyan Sangam is an “initiative started in 2016 to create a platform for positive nationalistic academicians.” The site quotes Vivekananda, stating “all sciences originated in Bharat.” These workshops are organised by the RSS-affiliated Prajna Pravah—a…

4 min.
breaking the mould

Liberal arts, an already well established course in the West, is gaining momentum in India. The course, which combines multiple subjects such as English literature, Sociology, Political Science, Maths, Modern languages, History, and Economics, is increasing in popularity. The idea of combining a variety of subjects to form one degree program is to enable students to locate their true passion. A liberal arts degree prepares students for work in a wide variety of fields. Preparing for Changing Times The Symbiosis Liberal Arts course equips students with the necessary skills to meet the demands of our constantly changing world. Students leave with the ability to formulate strong opinions, and will have cultivated an inquisitive mind capable of delving deeper into the complex environment we live in. The course’s favourable student-teacher ratio, enables staff…