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The Caravan

The Caravan April 2020

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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

3 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.
elixir of lies

Shortly after noon on 14 March, in a makeshift tent next to a temple on Delhi’s Mandir Marg, a bizarre religious ritual was underway. A man in Hindu religious garb faced a flex banner that carried the image of a demon with the word “Corona” stamped across its chest, as well as photos, taken from tourism websites, of Chinese people eating bees, an octopus, a frog and a lobster, with speech bubbles saying, “Save us Corona!” As he sprinkled generous quantities of gaumutra—cow urine—on the image of the demon, the man chanted, “Corona shant ho jao, shant ho jao corona”—Calm down, corona. One of the assembled priests started distributing earthen cups of gaumutra as prasad, while another showered gulal mixed with gaumutra as “a blessing from god.” Two days before, the…

7 min.
risk of exposure

In April 2019, as part of its preparations for the Asian under-16 championship this year, the Indian under-15 football team visited Italy for an “exposure tour.” In a press release, the All India Football Federation stated that its squad for matches against the United States, Mexico and Slovenia included players “born on or after January, 1 2004”—the cut-off date for the Asian championship. The team against Slovenia was captained by Eric Lalsangzuala, whose date of birth, according to the AIFF’s central registration system, is 15 June 2002, making him almost eighteen months too old. Lalsangzuala’s CRS entry had been approved by the AIFF on 20 November 2018, and could be readily accessed by AIFF officials, clubs, agents and scouts. His birth certificate was registered on 16 June 2002, confirming his…

6 min.
notes from a village

Prahlad Gaikwad, a sugarcane farmer from Wathar village, in Maharashtra’s Satara district, woke up excited on the morning of 19 October 2019. He drove for about two hours to the village of Aundh, reaching just in time for the first recital of its annual festival of Hindustani classical music. Now in his eighties, Gaikwad has attended the Aundh Sangeet Mahotsav for the past 15 years, ever since he moved back to his native village from Mumbai, where he had worked in a cotton mill for several decades. Every year, he has sat through the entire 24-hour festival, which begins in the morning a week before Diwali and ends at dawn the following day. “I want to take in all the musical fragrances, particularly the tabla solo,” he told me. An established feature…

5 min.
blood feuds

“He was standing in front of the Ganesh temple in Paris. I went up to him, pulled out my katana and sliced his arm.” At a shabby café in southern Paris, last September, a former member of the Viluthus, one of the oldest gangs among the Sri Lankan Tamil community in the French capital, recalled his time with the gang. The man whose arm he had sliced off in 2006, he said, had “disrespected” the Viluthus. He could not remember how. Such acts of violence have become commonplace over the past few years in “Little Jaffna,” a neighbourhood near the Gare du Nord railway station where a large number of Tamil migrants have set up shops and restaurants. Brawls frequently break out among groups of young men from the community. Mutilated…

6 min.
in sickness and in health

On the evening of 12 March, 46-year-old Wilma Sangalang Naguit was returning home from work. She was waiting for the subway not far from Milan Central Station, wearing a mask to protect herself from a possible COVID-19 infection, when a man approached her to ask for alms. Wilma asked him to keep his distance, but the man spat on her. “He didn’t catch me, but I was very scared,” Wilma told me. “There was nobody else around, I felt like crying. When I got home I took off my clothes and took a shower.” Wilma works as a domestic employee, but after this experience she took a week off from work and decided not to leave the house anymore. So did her husband Benedict, who works in a pastry laboratory. Wilma and…