For any magazine, the purpose is to ignite the minds of their readers with write ups so powerful that they compel them to associate with the publication. The constraints are as challenging as the ambition itself, the hunt for a unique story which would appeal to readers is definitely a challenge to meet.
The May issue of Caravan Magazine is widening the horizon of its readers with stories from across the country in varying genres. The issue lives up to being India’s only magazine practising narrative journalism with extensive articles. The Lede ranges from an immigrant Chinese family’s history to the make-up room of Bangaluru’s theatre circuit. Short and precise while commanding and captivating the section instils curiosity for the light reader. Initiating on virtually unexplored topics the magazine is quick to capture the essence of serious issues with an insight into Jordan which by estimates is basking in the Arab Spring but in a regulated demeanour.
Issues closer to national politics are addressed in the Perspectives section with a hard hitting expression on the hypocrisy of Non-alignment prevalent about the foreign policy of the country. Armed with detailed analysis of the stance adopted by India at times of crisis, the author is rightly demanding the absolution of falsifying amidst the international community.
The cover story follows under the section Reporting & Essays and exhibits the flair that the magazine is famed for. Segregated into five segments each of which is written par excellence, Jagan Reddy’s rise to prominence is well complimented with references to his father and grandfather. Utilizing time to research prior to writing, Praveen Donthi has ensured to instil a deep insight into the minds of the reader about Jagan, YSR and Raja Reddy. References about the family’s past and bloodshed that ensued post YSR’s ascent into the power corridors allow ample opinion formulation opportunity. A mention of the acceptability of corruption among the masses of Karnataka is enough to suggest the changing parameters of appreciation among the populace.
Following the cover story was deep analysis of Subramanian Swamy, the Janta Party and the future of one the most educated politicians in India. Buoying through leaderships the journey of Swamy through his days at Hindu College, Harvard, Oxford, and political parties is no less than inspirational. Swamy insisted on being a lone player, fighting throughout his lifetime with authorities and established doctrines; rightly pointed out by the author as “always only been his wits against the world”. Sorted into six essays, there is enough to invite both brickbats and bouquets for the sole face of the Janta Party. The need for Swamy to be a team player is being considered as the only prerequisite remaining for him to be a mass leader in the years to come.
With Subramanian Swamy, politics for this issue of the magazine is culminated and the focus is transferred to the cultural aspects. The Caravan wisely imports social aspects into the fray of the cultural sphere with a powerful write up expressing the anguish of the Dalit Community. A reference to Ambedkar is a necessity for any piece that elucidates the struggle against the caste system and is aptly made.
The fiction and poetry section comes to life with Ganga Building Chronicles written by Prasad Shetty. The captivating story revolves around a 100 year building in Mumbai which is renovated as the need of the hour asks for. The story peers into the conscience of Mumbai as the city has transited over a lifetime. Well written book reviews in the distinct narrative genre are exhibited followed by short and precise suggestions for the bookshelf in the remainder of the publication.
The magazine on a comparative analysis has distanced itself from the state election results and challenges before the newly formed governments in 5 provinces and the Delhi local body elections. From the perspective of the North Indian reader, there has been utter negligence of major political states. Adhering to studied silence, the Indian film industry too has been side-lined while maintaining the focus on serious journalism.
On the whole the May issue captivates the reader and ensures the acceptability and prevalence of sombre journalism in the times of sensationalism.