The Curious Case of Fareed Zakaria


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           AUGUST 18, 2012           11.45 P.M.

Last week there were surfeit of news items about Indian – American writer , columnist and TV show host Mr. Fareed Zakaria . I was intrigued and wanted to unearth the real fact . But before I could finish my blog , I just read in today’s papers that he has been exonerated of the charges of plagiarism and has been re – instated by ” Time “ magazine and CNN . I became more curious . If he was not guilty , then why this whole drama about plagiarism was blown out of proportion , which led to his subsequent suspension ? And if he was really guilty of plagiarism , they why has the suspension been revoked today ? In between , ” Washington Post “ , which few days ago fished in the troubled water and accused him of plagiarism , has apologised for wrongly accusing him of plagiarism . It was too much . So naturally Fareed Zakaria’s case became a curious case for me .

I used to admire his father a lot . His father Late Dr. Rafiq Zakaria , a minister in the Congress government of Maharashtra , was a scholar of Islamic history and a great writer of repute . He used to write regularly forThe Illustrated Weekly of India ” , a Times of India periodical being published from Mumbai [ then Bombay ] . I have several old copies of the said magazine in the library of my ancestral house at Deoria . Those copies of ” The Illustrated Weekly of India “ still remind me about the writings of Dr. Rafiq Zakaria . His mother Fatima Zakaria was also a writer and served as the editor of Sunday Times of India .

So curiosity about Fareed Rafiq Zakaria was immense . I refered to Wikipedia and came to know that he was born in Mumbai on January 20 , 1964 . He studied at Yale University and Harvard University in U.S.A. and later on started his immensely successful career in United States of America as a columnist , writer , TV show Anchor and political commentator .

Fareed Zakaria, Editor, Newsweek International...

Fareed Zakaria, Editor, Newsweek International , United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 1992 he started his career as managing editor of ” Foreign Affairs “ magazine . Later on he moved toNewsweek International ” and wrote a weekly foreign affairs column for the said magazine [ from 2000 to 2010 ] and was its editor too . Later on he became Editor – at – large of ” Time “ [ from 2010 till Present ] .

Apart from these above mentioned reputed magazines , he also wrote for the ” New York Times ” , ” Wall Street Journal ” and ” New Yorker ” .

He also hosts a TV show ” Fareed Zakaria GPS “ on CNN since 2008 . Before that , he anchored shows as political analyst on ABC [ 2002 to 2007 ] and on PBS [ 2005 to 2008 ] .

English: Dmitry Medvedev is interviewed by Far...

Dmitry Medvedev is interviewed by Fareed Zakaria, CNN (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fareed Zakaria, Host,

Fareed Zakaria, Host, “Fareed Zakaria GPS;” Editor-at-Large, Time Magazine; Columnist; The Washington Post and Harold Ford Jr., Former U.S. Representative; NBC News Analyst (Photo credit: Detroit Regional Chamber)

He is also a very admired and sought after speaker at various world forums . He is considered an authority on America’s political situations and current world affairs .

English: Christopher Murray, Jens Stoltenberg,...

English: Christopher Murray, Jens Stoltenberg, Bill Gates, Gordon Brown, Olusegun Obasanjo, Fareed Zakaria and Giulio Tremonti during the World Economic Forum 2006. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fareed Zakaria speaks at Blumenthal

Fareed Zakaria speaks at Blumenthal (Photo credit: Willamor Media)

Fareed Zakaria , apart from his hugely acclaimed columns , has also written 3 books like ; ” From Wealth to Power : The Unusual Origins of America’s World Role ” [ 1998 ] , ” The Future of Freedom ” [ 2003 ] andThe Post American World ” [ 2008 ] .

Cover of

Cover of The Post-American World

Apart from various international and American awards , he has also been awarded Padma Bhushan by the government of India .

A person of this repute cannot easily be accused of plagiarism . But this month he was accused of plagiarism by Newsbusters and was subsequently suspended by ” Time “ and CNN . Newsbusters reported that Fareed Zakaria’s ” Time “ column on gun control [ August 20 , 2012 ] bears similarity to an article published in ” New Yorker “ and that he quoted from the article without giving credit to the original author , Mr. Jill Lepore .

After much hyped furore , Zakaria tendered unconditional apology on his twitter handle @FareedZakaria .

I apologize unreservedly. http://bit.ly/OcOxtA

And after a week – long investigation ” Time “ and CNN accepted his apology , cleared him and reinstated his column and TV show . A needless controversy ended .

RT @CNNPR CNN Statement on Fareed Zakaria http://bit.ly/NGsMPv  // RT @TIMEComms Update from TIME on Fareed Zakaria – http://on.fb.me/RkXhzz 

I started thinking about the controversy . Was it really plagiarism ? Or Mr. Fareed Zakaria swallowed more than he could chew ? I think the latter explanation is more appropriate .
These days multi – tasking is the order of the day . Mr. Zakaria writes weekly column , writes and hosts a weekly TV show , tweets on the micro – blogging sites like twitter , writes books and is a globe – trotting intellectual , who is much sought after speaker . Naturally he also has only 24 hours at his disposal like lesser mortals . It’s a norm in USA to have assistants , who help busy writers like him and suggest topics , links and source materials . Obviously Mr. Zakaria must have been given the paragraph of Mr. Jill Lepore and inadvertently he mentioned it without giving credit .
According to me he just made a mistake . It was just a lapse . And prudently Mr. Zakaria apologised without hesitation . And a needless and avoidable controversy ended .
[ Some facts of Mr. Fareed Zakaria's life have been quoted from Wikipedia . I express gratitude .]

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

www.vidur.co.in

www.vidurfilms.com

www.twitter.com/VidurChaturvedi

www.jaibhojpuri.com/profile/VidurChaturvedi

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Arun Shanbhag

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