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The Caravan

The Caravan September 2017

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

6 min.
home cooking

Because of the language barrier, “one day’s work sometimes takes ten days,” Tarikh said. “Nobody here understands me as they do back home.” When I walked into Asharq al-Awsat on a morning in early July, a man named Anas was praising Abdullah, the restaurant’s head chef, for helping him feel like he was back in his native Syria. Anas’s praise was prompted by Abdullah’s kibbeh labaniyeh—a yoghurt-based meat dish that is a staple of Arab cooking. Like many of the guests who frequent Asharq al-Awsat, Anas was receiving treatment at a medical centre nearby. Over the past several years, Sarita Vihar has become a hub for medical tourists from all over the world, especially West Asia, who come to receive affordable medical treatment at nearby private hospitals. While here, many patients from…

6 min.
bone of contention

Boys in the Raju family are raised to practise bone-setting. “Only gents have a right to the hospital,” Kishore said. “Ladies do not even enter the hospital.” On a July morning in the town of Tirupattur, Tamil Nadu, a woman named Padmapriya fell down in her bathroom and fractured her wrist. Some of her neighbours brought her to a hospital in Puttur, a small town in southern Andhra Pradesh that is a four-hour drive from Tirupattur. In the hospital’s waiting area, I met Sheikh Kamal, a middle-aged philosophy teacher from Tirupattur, who had been the one to suggest that Padmapriya be brought to this hospital. Kamal told me he had first heard about the place after one of his relatives, a lorry driver, severely injured his leg in a road accident. Orthopaedic…

7 min.
gone girl

On the evening of 13 January, Birna Brjansdottir—a 20-year-old woman who worked as a salesperson at a department store—went out with a friend to an indie bar in downtown Reykjavik, Iceland. Brjansdottir’s friend headed home at 2 am, but Brjansdottir wanted to stay out longer. Shortly after 5 am, she left the bar on her own. “Even if people can show that a crime happened, is this the price we want to pay for it?” Sigridur Andersen, Iceland’s justice minister, asked. After that, Brjansdottir was filmed by at least five CCTV cameras in the downtown area. In footage that would be viewed thousands of time in the coming weeks, she walks unsteadily down a well-lit street, bumps into a man, drops a few coins and almost falls over as she collects them.…

9 min.
darjeeling limited

Access to developmental funds required maintaining friendly relations with the very state government that the movement’s leaders officially challenged in order to demand Gorkhaland. In August, the Gorkhaland protests in Darjeeling entered their third month. They had begun in mid June, after fears spread that the state government would make the study of Bengali compulsory for school students in West Bengal, including in the Nepali-speaking areas administered by the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, or the GTA. After an initial protest directed specifically against the move, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, or GJM—the political party that controls the GTA—expanded the scope of the agitations by reviving a demand that has its roots in the twentieth century: that a slice of the northern part of West Bengal, including the districts of Darjeeling and Kalimpong, be…

8 min.
dictators and dissenters

Imran Khan has in the past even referred to the Pakistani Taliban as “our estranged brothers” and recommended that they be permitted to open a political office. At the end of July, Pakistan’s prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, resigned from his post following a supreme court ruling that disqualified him from office. He had been targeted over months of protests for alleged corruption, after reports about the Panama Papers in April 2016 revealed links between his family and several offshore companies. In November, the supreme court agreed to hold an inquiry into the allegations and, eight months later, Sharif became the second elected head of state—after Iceland’s prime minister—to fall from power as a result of the leaked documents. Among the most triumphant reactions after Sharif’s fall came from his rival Imran Khan,…

9 min.
herd mentality

Even as the country has convulsed internally over the question of cattle slaughter, the government’s economic policies show that it recognises that bovine meat is an important part of the export economy. In mid August, news broke that more than 200 cows had starved to death in a shelter in Chhattisgarh owned by a Bharatiya Janata Party leader named Harish Verma. After the reports appeared, Verma protested that he had not received funds that the government had promised him for the shelter. But the irony could not have been starker. The BJP has long been opposed to cow slaughter, and the central government as well as the state governments that it heads have clamped down on it. The years since 2014, when the party came to power at the centre, have seen…