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The Caravan

The Caravan November 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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Delhi Press Patra Prakashan Pte LTD
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12 Issues

in this issue

2 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…

7 min.
in other words

Every Saturday, Chander Shekhar, a professor of Persian at Delhi University, meets old friends at the Iran Culture House, opposite the Supreme Court. Over many cups of tea and gentle banter, with Abida Parveen’s ghazals playing in the background, their agenda has been the same for the last thirty years: to work on the Farhang-e-Aryan, a lexicon of the Persian language, with translations of words into Urdu, Hindi and English. Dictionaries are essential to imagining the social, cultural and material histories of a people—they are full of minute descriptions of objects, customs, ideas and beliefs, drawing on idioms, colloquialisms and poetry. “We have gathered over seven hundred and fifty dictionaries, in Persian, French, German, Hindi, Urdu, Sanskrit and Arabic,” Abdur Rasheed told me. Rasheed is a professor of Urdu at Jamia…

5 min.
a serpentine quest

In 1969, in the small village of Umbraj, in the Junnar taluka of Pune district, an eight-year-old boy, who could not yet comprehend the idea of death, stood dumbstruck at the sight of people wailing over a woman who had just died of a snakebite. It was his first brush with snakebites, a menace that kills thousands of people in India every year. This early encounter would foreshadow the course of his life. The boy, Sadanand Raut, grew up to become a doctor. In 1992, he established a small dispensary and clinic in Junnar. One day in 1994, Raut was informed that the eight-year-old daughter of a farm labourer had been bitten by a viper in the nearby town of Narayangaon. She was rushed to his clinic, but it was too…

5 min.
bridging the gap

Every day at dawn, Valentina Betaba, a 16-year-old Venezuelan student, crosses the Simón Bolívar International Bridge to reach the Megacolegio La Frontera, a school in Villa del Rosario, a border town in the Colombian province of Norte de Santander. According to Gladys Myriam Carbajal Ortegon, the school’s coordinator, eighty percent of the school’s students are Venezuelans who make the crossing daily. “In Venezuela, we went to class only twice a week,” Betaba, who lives about a half hour’s walk from the Colombian border, told me when we met in June. “There were power cuts, and many professors no longer came because they did not receive their wages.” The Megacolegio, which was originally located close to the bridge and had eight hundred students, was moved in 2016 to its current location, about…

6 min.
memory plays

On a warm July afternoon, in a large, airy room, three elderly actors chatted away behind a white curtain, as they waited for their audience to be seated. Next to them lay an open brown leather suitcase with metallic edges, a radio set that dated back to before the collapse of the Berlin Wall and an old songbook. The walls were splashed with photos from Italy. It took a while for the spectators to arrive from the upper levels, as the elevator could fit in only three wheelchairs at a time. Those who could walk independently settled down on neatly aligned brown, cushioned chairs. Those in wheelchairs were positioned so that they left enough space for the actors to walk through and reach every viewer. The venue of the performance was the…

9 min.
the gathering storm

On 4 October, the Reserve Bank of India announced that India’s projected growth rate for 2019-20 was 6.1 percent, and admitted that the economy has considerably slowed down. The latest government data for the April-to-June quarter showed the growth rate declining to five percent—falling from 5.8 percent in the last quarter of the previous year. This was an unexpectedly sharp decline from the eight-percent growth rate five quarters ago. Since the indications for the current quarter are that the economy has further slowed down, the likely growth rate may turn out to be 4.5 percent, or even less. Four days after the announcement, the new chief of International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, said that the effects of slowdown in the world economy would be “more pronounced” in India this year. However,…