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 And if he was really guilty of plagiarism , they why has the suspension been revoked today ?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

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Ode – 5 : To Satyamev Jayate [ A ]


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           MAY 30 , 2012           01.15 A.M.  

In this age of television almost all the stars of Indian silver – screen have already made their television debut . Aamir Khan was the only exception . On May 06 , 2012 he also made his TV debut with his Talk ShowSatyamev Jayate and created history .

English: The present banner of Aamir Khan Prod...

The present banner of Aamir Khan Productions

Aamir Khan with The Logo of Satyamev Jayate

Aamir Khan with The Logo of Satyamev Jayate

His television show ” Satyamev Jayate “ was aired simultaneously on Star Plus and other channels within Star Network along with  D.D. National . In the history of Indian Television , it is the first show to achieve this feat . Apart from Hindi , it is dubbed in Tamil , Telugu , Malayalam , Marathi and Bengali .

Till date 4 episodes have been out and they dealt with various burning social issues :

1st Episode – May 06, 2012 –  ” Daughters Are Precious ” [Female Foeticide

2nd Episode – May 13, 2012 –  ” Break The Silence ”  [Child Sexual Abuse]

3rd Episode – May 20, 2012 – ” Marriage or Marketplace ” [Dowry] 

4th Episode – May 27 , 2012 – ” Every Life Is Precious ” [Medical Malpractices]  

6 May , 2012  - 1st Episode

6 May , 2012 – 1st Episode

13 May - 2nd Episode

13 May – 2nd Episode

As expected the show garnered 4.27 TRP . First episode was viewed by 9 crore people .Riding on the wave of public sympathy and word of mouth publicity , ” Satyamev Jayate “ , topped the popularity chart . It created positive buzz and generated public outcry on the issues it dealt with .

As expected , rivals and critics and jealous friends and die – hard nay – sayers panned the show . They started finding faults with everything related to the show .

A minister in Rajasthan government lashed at Aamir Khan and said that instead of hosting the show , he should come to Rajasthan and work for the people . May I ask what is his job ? Why is he elected ? Aamir Khan brought an issue in his notice . Instead of acting with alacrity and acting against the culprits , he is finding faults with the show .

There was some comments in the press that Aamir Khan is charging fee for hosting the show . May I ask why should he not charge his professional fee ? Instead of hosting some inane show like his contemporaries , he is hosting a show which is bringing some burning social issues for public debate .

A journalist tweeted that Aamir Khan should think about his first wife and only then talk about these issues . May I ask why is he so concerned about Aamir Khan’s first wife ? Two adults mutually decide to terminate their marriage without acrimony and bickering and moreover his first wife is not accusing Aamir Khan for cruelty or anything , then why is this journalist raking up a private issue ?

A journalist of Hindustan Times wrote that instead of making people cry , Aamir Khan should try to create laughter . 4th episode was not weepy at all . It was entertaining and at the same time informative  . Her criticism about the near perfect reaction and well – timed teary eyes also fail to impress . When you are narrating a personal tragedy , you don’t need acting skills . Tears come naturally and reaction is instantaneous . Her criticism is cussed and lacks sensitivity .

According to me above mentioned criticisms are result of some jealous minds and envious rivals . ” Satyamev Jayate “ exposed their mediocrity and they are now naked in the open . So their factotum and some paid – journos are fanning the falsehood .

There was a news item that the show failed to generate viewership and that the TRP is only 3.01 . But soon final verdict was out and now it is a known fact that the actual TRP is 4.27 . According to Television Audience measurement the show reached out to 4.96 million people . 1 lakh people tried calling Aamir Khan during the show .

Several topics related to the show were trending on twitter and were among top 5 . Even before the first episode ended , it got 2,254 tweets on micro – blogging site ,  twitter . Due to huge and unprecedented traffic the official website ; http://www.satyamevjayate.in crashed as soon as the first episode ended . On Google Trends also the show was top search in India . The show’s official page on Facebook has received more than 9,71,000 likes .

Hindustan Times conducted an online poll where 88% viewers have voted that they liked the show . 7% remained undecided and only 5% felt that the show failed to impress .

6th May 2012 - !st Episode of Satyamev Jayate

6th May 2012 – !st Episode of Satyamev Jayate

Need I say anything more ? But there were some honest and saner voices also .

Some eminent personalities like ; Siddharth Basu and Newspapers like ; Hindustan Times and Wall Street Journal have compared the show with Oprah Winfrey Show . To compare ” Satyamev Jayate “ with Oprah Winfrey Show is a great honour . I totally agree with the view .

Winfrey on the first national broadcast of The...

Winfrey on the first national broadcast of The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1986

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

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