The Ideological Affiliations of The Caravan

This is the third part of the series on anti-Hinduism as an industry written by…

This is the third part of the series on anti-Hinduism as an industry written by Pankaj Saxena.

The choice of the editorial team of The Caravan is interesting to say the least.

Anant Nath, the Editor belongs to the third generation of the owners of Delhi Press, the parent group of the magazine. He has an MBA from IIM (Lucknow) and an MA in politics from Columbia University. Inspired by the political climate in the university, he came home and took the decision of relaunching The Caravan. Outside his Editor’s Corner column at The Caravan, not much is known of his writing or editorial capabilities.

Anant Nath

His columns are often not more than two or three para-long quips, revolving around the ideological pole of the magazine. Nath tries hard to prove himself as a liberated, westernized Indian, who has abandoned Hindu superstitions.

Thus, while talking about smallpox and its history in India, he inserts a line about how Hindu beliefs caused many deaths. (May 2015). He writes about how Israel destroys mosques and minarets in Palestine (September 2014), while making no comment on Palestinian rocket attacks on Israeli citizens. While expressing concern over the BJP’s election in May 2014, he gushes with glee over Kejriwal’s election as Chief Minister of Delhi. (November, 2013)

He is allegedly inspired by long-form journalism of The New Yorker, The Atlantic and Granta and is said to have modelled The Caravan on them.

The Caravan occupies a singular position among Indian magazines. Our stories present a unique mix of detailed reporting, lively and vivid writing, and a commitment to the art of storytelling whether the subject is politics, culture, travel or art.[i]

The New Yorker is one of the pioneers of narrative style of non-fiction/journalism. John McPhee is said to be the father of narrative non-fiction. It is characterized by a narrative style reminiscent of story-telling. The New Yorker particularly refrains from commenting directly on politics. It engages in satire at best.

The articles of The Caravan, though long, obviously do not treat politics with any distance. The editors and the contributors of The Caravan are heavily invested in politics and take strong and extreme sides in political and social issues.

 Vinod K Jose

Vinod K Jose is the Executive Editor of the magazine. Another alumni of Columbia University, he earned his PhD from Jamia Milia Islamia, one of the popular breeding grounds of anti-Hinduism. His claim to journalism comes from his previous stint at Free Press, a Malayali language long-form magazine founded by him, published between 2003 and 2006.

Vinod K. Jose

A vocal supporter of Islamic terrorists like Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mulakat Afzal Guru, the masterminds of 2001 Indian Parliament Attack,[ii] he has all but been their mouthpiece. He considered Afzal, his ‘fellow Indian’.[iii] Jose took an active part in their clemency campaign, being the Communications Secretary of SPDPR (Society for the Protection of Detainees’ and Prisoners’ Rights), a front for lobbying for Islamic terrorists.

On the other hand, Vinod Jose considers Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad and its affiliate organizations as the real culprits behind the disturbing of communal harmony in India. He has worked relentlessly to prove that these are no better than terrorist groups. Naturally enough, he is a vocal supporter of the Maoists too.[iv]

He established his anti-Hindu credentials well in Free Press. In 2009, he was handpicked by his Columbia University co-student Anant Nath for relaunching The Caravan. Since then, he is contributing his own share to the anti-Hindu propaganda churned out by the magazine. The Columbia University connection will pop-up again as we shall see.

 Hartosh Singh Bal, Political Editor

Hartosh Singh Bal, the political editor of The Caravan is a well-known critic of Narendra Modi and the BJP, harping on Modi’s role in the 2002 Gujarat riots, ignoring the decision of the Supreme Court, just like every secularist worth his salt. While taking the involvement of Bajrang Dal and VHP in Gujarat as absolutely certain, he considers the Godhra train massacre of Hindus, an ‘accident’.[v]

In his June 2012 Caravan article, he puts another Hindu matter into ‘perspective’. Proceeding to ‘set the record straight’ he tells his readers that Bhojshala is not actually a Hindu structure but a mosque and its full name is Bhojshala Kamal Maula Mosque. For Bal, the Islamic part of the name apparently confirms that it is indisputably a mosque. He even proceeds to call it just “Kamal Maula Mosque”. Apparently the Sanskritized prefix of the mosque is unpalatable to him.

Prominent Indologist and scholar Koenraad Elst, in his book, Ram Janmabhoomi vs. Babri Masjid: A Case Study in Hindu Muslim Conflict, explains that communities do not forget their holy places. They do not assign holiness to random places and start worshipping them on a whim. If Hindus remember Bhojshala as a centre for studies, it must be for a reason. The site may or not may not have been the particular institution started by legendary King Bhoja, but it did have some connection to it. Let us see what ASI says about Bhojshala:

Bhojshala Kamal Maula Mosque

Bhojshala Kamal Maula Mosque

It is believed that it was originally a temple of goddess Sarasvati built by Parawara King Bhoja in circa 11th Century AD. The mosque is built using structural members of the temple. The monument also retains some slabs inscribed with Sanskrit and Prakrit literary works. Noted as a great patron of art and literature, Bhoja is said to have established a school, now known as Bhojashala.[vi]

Even this candid explanation is not enough for the secular logic of Hartosh Singh Bal. There is ample visual evidence at Bhojshala that it was a Hindu temple: the pillared mandapa with characteristics carvings of Hindu temples; defaced statues of Hindu deities; just besides the minbar, there is the doorjam of the garbh-griha, with Ganga and Yamuna and other deities on either sides of the gate in the characteristic Paramara style of Central Indian Hindu architecture.

Apparently, all of this is still not sufficient to prove that the structure was once a Hindu temple. According to Bal, the fact that it is now called Kamal Mauala mosque somehow proves that it must always have been a mosque. If the political editor of The Caravan is so ideologically motivated, one can imagine the level of anti-Hinduism that the magazine enshrines in its founding principles.

 The Associate Editors

The Columbia University connection pops up once again, when we turn to Sonal Shah, an Associate Editor at The Caravan. She is a self-styled journalist and editor, based in New Delhi. Her twitter handle shows why she qualified for The Caravan magazine elite group of editors, besides her Columbia connection.

Sonal Shah is terrified over the BJP MP’s efforts to get the Aurangzeb Road renamed to Dr. Abdul Kalam Road. She fails to understand the cultural value of Shri Rama Setu to Hindus in tweets like “Disbelievers beware… A Russian engineer broke his leg inspecting the Ram Setu!” and “Combining such scientific methods as oceanography and mythology!”, referring to Lalit Kala Akademi’s post on Ram Setu and its mythical connections.

 Ajay Krishnan is one of the youngest Associate Editors in any magazine in India. He is basically a playwright who also comments on political and cultural matters. His anti-Hinduism is evident from his twitter handle. He is shocked at Modi’s ‘subservience’ to the RSS.

He makes fun of the fact that some Sanskrit scriptures suggest using cannabis in the month of Bhadrapada, and that a Hindu prisoner has demanded that.

He retweets the Caravan’s lies on how Modi praised Swami Aseemanand and his work. Ajay is shocked at how Aseemanand is out on bail. However, at the same time, he campaigns for the abolition of the death penalty when the issue of hanging Islamic terrorists comes up.

Given this background, it seems apparent that anti-Hinduism is the mandatory qualification to work for The Caravan. Ajay Krishnan’s eligibility is proved just by the playwrights he publicly admires and follows: Girish Karnad, Vijay Tendulkar and Badal Sircar.[vii]

All three have pedaled leftist anti-Hindu propaganda as art in their plays, which requires another full-length article on its own. Suffice to say that Ajay Krishnan is a model of the anti-Hindu journalism that The Caravan espouses.

 Supriya Nair, who has penned just one article so far on The Caravan, is also an Associate Editor. For her, the BJP at best follows the ‘old-fashioned Hindu patriarchy’. Apart from repeating Soviet-era slogans about Hindu society, she has not much to her credit except her anti-Hindu credentials.

 Chandrahas Choudhary is the Fiction and Poetry Editor at The Caravan. He started off his career as an art critic, frequenting literary festivals managed and regulated by the New Delhi left-liberals of India. A fawning devotee of William Dalrymple, he is a regular presence at the Jaipur Literature Festival organized yearly.

His most serious claim to journalistic excellence, are his columns in The Dawn, the Pakistani newspaper. One wonders why an Indian journalist would regularly write for a Pakistani newspaper, while he is almost completely absent from all mainstream Indian newspapers, even though Indian newspapers are not averse to printing anti-Indian propaganda. The Dawn was started by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan and the Muslim League. It was started as a mouthpiece of Muslims and Islamist voices. It still serves anti-Indian propaganda to its audience, a must to survive in the journalistic space of Pakistan.

A brief glance at Chandrahas’ articles in The Dawn will tell us the reason why he is prized so much in Pakistan: “Modi’s Rise: A Defeat for Freedom in India”, “The fable of ‘India First’”, “A New Vision of India: 100% Hindu”, “The Campaign to Glorify Gandhi’s Assassin”, “Modi’s Convenient New Religious Tolerance”.

Here is an Indian journalist writing for a Pakistani newspaper, and not one of these articles talk about the religious intolerance in Pakistan, about the ceaseless attacks on Hindus, Christians, Shias, about Islamic terrorism or about suppression of freedom of expression. Apparently his anti-Hindu colours, evident from his articles at too, are so immaculate that he is singled out to be one of the few Indian journalists writing almost exclusively for a Pakistani newspaper.

 The Contributing Editors

The Caravan’s anti-Hindu and anti-Indian credentials become even more evident as we check out their contributing editors.

Fatima Bhutto

Fatima Bhutto is the granddaughter of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Nusrat Bhutto, niece of Benazir Bhutto and Shahnawaz Bhutto, and obviously not a friend of India.

 Siddhartha Deb, another Columbia University connection – he was the recipient of a University fellowship – talks about the discrimination against north-eastern Indians in Delhi, as racism in his book, The Beautiful and the Damned: A Portrait of the New India.

Siddharth Dube is an activist for the rights of Maoists in Central India.

Christophe Jaffrelot, Caravan’s star contributing editor is known for his antagonism towards Hindu nationalism. Regarding his book, Religion, Caste & Politics in India, Koenraad Elst comments:

Jaffrelot emulates the secularists in getting his facts plainly wrong. Thus, he complains of RSS killings of Marxist Communist Party activists (p.312), yet usually the killing is in the other direction. Like the secularists, he falsely presents the Muslims as a poor and vulnerable minority, rather than as the local arm of a worldwide movement flush with money and military resources. He always minimizes Muslim rioting, only starts describing it when Hindus start retaliating (as if they started it), and hastens to call it “retaliatory” (e.g. p.639).[viii]

Jaffrelot considers everything with the Hindu tag as something to be suspicious about. He calls Swami Ramdev a “political animal”, (July 2011) while making no attempt to understand the dubious character of Mother Teresa. The anti-Hindu bias of this French contributing editor of The Caravan is palpable.

Mira Kamdar, another contributing editor, is analyzed in detail by Koenraad Elst.[ix] On issues like Islam, Pakistan, Gujarat riots, Godhra carnage, Hindutva, Aryan Invasion Theory, she just parrots the secular lies without taking pains to analyze the truth in them.

The most pressing concern of Samanth Subramaniam, contributing editor at The Caravan is the persecution of Muslims in Sri Lanka (June 2013) and Myanmar (July 2014). The suffering of Tamil Sri Lankans is not a major concern for him, nor is the plight of Buddhist monks in Myanmar. However, he plays his audience on the ‘Muslims-are-victims’ card.

 Amitava Kumar is a supporter of 9/11 deniers, an admirer of Arundhati Roy and everything that entails her work.

This in short is a peek at the ideological leanings of the editors of The Caravan. They are all staunch leftists, determined anti-Hindus and have an animus against Hindu civilization.

The Caravan has not employed even a single editor of a different political or ideological orientation. There is no one at the magazine to represent the other side of the story.

Can such a magazine claim to be objective?

The next part of this series will analyse The Caravan’s take on major issues concerning India, such as Kashmir, Gujarat riots, Narendra Modi, the Congress and the BJP.




[ii] Jose, Vinod K. “Mulakat Afzal – The first interview Mohammad Afzal gave from inside Tihar jail, in 2006.” Caravan Magazine. February 2006.

[iii] Jose, Vinod K. “‘I don’t want a fellow Indian to get the death penalty’.” November 07, 2006.

[iv]Documentary on Indian Maoists. Radio Pacifica. 2009.

[v]Bal, Hartosh Singh. “A New Awkward Ally: Why Washington shouldn’t be so quick to embrace India’s new prime minister.” Politico Magazine. September 28, 2014.


[vii]<> June, 2011.

[viii] Elst, Koenraad. “Views on Hindu Contemporary Activism”. Februray, 2015.

[ix] Elst, Koenraad. “TheStruggle for India’s Soul A reply to Mira Kamdar.”'
Pankaj Saxena is a scholar of History, Hindu Architecture and Literature. He has visited more than 400 sites of ancient Hindu temples and has photographed the evidence. He’s also writes articles, research papers and reviews in various print and online newspapers and magazines and is the author of three books.
  • P G Kutty Nair

    Pankaj Saxena’s article has quoted several facts. Those who wish to repudiate the charges made against them must come clean by citing facts, rather than dismissing them as the typical mutterings of a fanatical Hindu. The issues raised here are very serious, for journalism of this kind can vitiate the atmosphere of whatever social peace and harmony now prevails despite the secular politicians and their stooges and pimps. At the same time I cannot but help feeling that the Hindu community has brought this upon themselves through their own internecine quarrels and an attitude of indifference towards their detractors. Something seems to be holding us back all the time; and I think it is our obsession to be seen as doing right, no matter what the provocation. This is a complete misunderstanding of what Hindu Dharma is. We are not being seen as dharmics, but as cowards. Lord Krishna openly scolded Arjuna as a eunuch (kleeba, in ‘klaibyam ma sma gama paartha’) and exhorted him to get up and fight like a man. ” hato vaa praapsyasi swargam, jitvaa vaa bhokshyase mahim; tasmaaduttishtha kaunteya, yuddhaaya kritanischayah” (If you get killed, you will attain heaven; if you win you will rule the earth. Therefore, get up Arjuna, determined to fight.)
    It is time we paid heed to what the Lord said.

  • byeignance

    Wow, so Fatima Bhutto, being a citizen of Pakistan, is automatically deemed not a friend of India. Do you know anything about Ms. Bhutto? Do you know anything about any of the people you’re inadequately profiling and slandering here? I am no Muslim apologist, but I certainly don’t see how you come to your conclusions about these people. The editors of Caravan are not out to demonise Hindus and Hinduism. Their job is to report objectively and provide quality analysis of contemporary affairs. For you to launch superficial attacks on their character based on a few articles is more telling of your inabilities as a journalist and writer.

    Also, you made me laugh by suggesting that Palestinian attacks on Israel are comparable to the systematic and unyielding oppression they suffer. Please read up on contemporary affairs before referencing them.

  • Singhal_abhishek

    Its clear Mr. Anath Nath has been brainwashed into Leftism in Columbia University . Now he is pursuing that agenda .

  • Brabantian

    One quibble: Pankaj Saxena tries to score a point by accusing a person as “a supporter of 9/11 deniers” … sadly, Hindus eager to oppose Abrahamic-Muslims, typically fall into traps of Abrahamic-Zionists … It is well-known in all major world governments, that the US-Israeli story of 11 Sep 2001 is a lie; sometimes national leaders even say it out loud:

    • NK Sarma

      did they tell you that you will get 76 virgins for posting this? don’t trust them.

  • SidMewara

    Reminds me of one of those anti intellectual target lists put together by a fundamentalist rag. Oh wait…

    • MoneyHitList

      You would like that, wouldn’t you?
      But really, these lists are important as future sources of income. Take Teesta Setalvad and multiply by 1000. All those foreign sources of income received by the secularists should end up in the coffers of the Indian army.
      You can continue writing what you want, but as poor men and women.
      As far as the amount of money being pumped into Secularist bank accounts by foreign anti-Hindu entities, read this article by Yoginder Sikand

      “Some folks I know made pretty neat fortunes this way, setting up NGOs
      and ‘think-tanks’ ostensibly to study and ‘work with’ ‘oppressed
      communities’, and raked in vast amounts of money from gullible foreign
      donors. In fact, barring a few really committed souls, a whole host of
      ‘progressives’ in the NGO, academic and media world, made their living
      out of the misery of the ‘oppressed’, earning in this way not just their
      daily bread but also the really serious money that they needed to buy
      their cars and houses and to send their children to the ‘best’
      English-medium schools and then for higher studies to the USA (which
      they never tired of reviling in public, of course), where they, too,
      would often sojourn when their ‘social activism’ became just a bit too
      tiring, boring or bothersome. Not many of them, who never ceased
      showing-off their ‘commitment’ to the ‘oppressed’ communities and their
      visceral hatred for ‘oppressor’ castes, would, I suspect, want to be
      treated in an Adivasi-run nursing home or to send their children to a
      Muslim-run school.”

      • MoneyHitList

        “But, to set the record straight, it wasn’t just us ‘professional social
        activists’ from rich or middle-class Hindu families who had taken upon
        themselves the onerous task of crusading on behalf of the ‘oppressed
        communities’ who behaved in this way. A great many folk from these very
        same ‘oppressed’ communities– Muslims, Dalits and such others–were
        also heavily into the business of ‘social activism’, supposedly on
        behalf of their own people. They, too, set up their NGOs, often with
        hefty financial aid from generous foreign patrons. They, too, enjoyed
        their all-paid-for trips and conferencing stints abroad, and many of
        them made sure that their own children had built comfortable nests for
        themselves in Europe or West Asia or even in America, which, like us,
        they never ceased to revile as the fundamental cause of global
        Yoginder SIkand

        All taxable income for the Hindu Nationalist government.