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The Caravan

The Caravan December 2019

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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
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…

6 min.
the intruders

The residents of the Jhuggi Jhopri Resettlement Colony in Delhi’s Savda Ghevra are not residents by choice. They have been pushed to the outskirts of the city after waves of evictions, most recently in the run-up to the 2010 Commonwealth Games. On 2 November, I visited the colony to meet a 16-year-old girl whose words had managed to find their way to central Delhi. Aanchal, an eleventh-standard student, had had her first story published, in the October issue of Hans, India’s most prestigious Hindi literary magazine. Aanchal’s short story, titled “Saikal ke Sapne”—Dreams of a Bicycle—is about a young girl’s yearning for a bicycle, with an intensely detailed account of her thoughts as she waits for her parents to come home with it. “Like Premchand, I want to write to expose…

7 min.
growing pains

On 15 September, 26 candidates faced off in Tunisia’s presidential election, the second since the 23-year-long dictatorship of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali was overthrown in the first protests of the 2011 Arab Spring. In the runoff, held on 13 October, the independent candidate Kais Saied, a former professor of constitutional law at the University of Tunis who was a political outsider when he declared his candidacy, defeated Nabil Karoui, a media baron who owns the television channel Nessma but has never held political office, in a landslide. Other countries in North Africa and West Asia have seen popular uprisings against authoritarian governments in 2011 not having success in the long run. Tunisia, on the other hand, has been able to hold on to its hard-won democracy, albeit with transitional challenges…

6 min.
still life

The year is 1972. From a poppy-red podium, Indira Gandhi, then the prime minister of India, addresses a large crowd in Srinagar. She cuts an imposing silhouette against the void separating her from an audience of thousands. A few metres behind her are the reporters. Nestled among them, an American photographer in her forties captures the scene using a 35-millimetre camera. Marilyn Stafford never set out to become a photographer. Trained in acting as a child, she was destined for a life in front of the camera, not behind it. Through a series of chance encounters, she found herself drawn to the storytelling potential of photography, championing the form’s power as both witness to life and catalyst for change. Stafford, who was born in Cleveland, Ohio, was 23 years old when she…

1 min.
true media needs true allies.

Democracy just cannot survive without a free press. And certainly, a country like India, which is so diverse, can absolutely not survive without a free expression of facts and views. And because the mainstream media is now shutting its mouth, out of greed or out of fear, the role of magazines like Caravan becomes all-important. It is very important that all of us should subscribe to magazines like Caravan, so that they get an independent source of funds and can continue to be doing completely independent and fearless work. ARUN SHOURIE, Journalist and Politician My favourite literary genre is long nonfiction, and no one does a better job of it than Caravan magazine in India. I recall that the very best review that I read about my book The Difficulty of Being…

9 min.
the ministry of truth

On 24 October, amendments made a few months earlier by the central government to the Right to Information Act, 2005 came into effect. These changes have severely compromised the independence of the commission—among other distressing alterations to the act are provisions that give the government power over deciding the tenure, salary and dismissal of information commissioners. When the RTI Act was passed, 14 years ago, it seemed to present a powerful tool for journalism to expose malfeasance at the highest levels of government. And yet, there has been no concerted pushback from media houses about the government’s current move. It is only activists and a few opposition parties who have protested. But those who have worked in the Indian media for some time know why journalism will be minimally affected by…