24 July, 2021

In Borrowed Words

Zakaria’s sudden fall from grace and glory

In Borrowed Words

A good speaker, an influential analyst, a man who engaged with the best minds of the world, Fareed Zakaria was the Indian who became the big policy wonk for a post-9/11 America. To that dazzling list might have been added ‘wonderful writer’; trouble is, it won’t hold any longer. After a plagiarism charge against him—and his acceptance of wrong-doing—the label that is likely to stick to him forever is that of ‘plagiarist’.

Since the charge of lifting and reworking a paragraph from an article on gun-control in the New Yorker, it has been a free fall for Zakaria, contributing editor to Time, anchor of cnn’s GPS show, and author of many books. Pending investigation, Time Inc has suspended his column; its broadcast arm, CNN, has followed suit. Blogs and articles now srutinise every piece he’s written, every sentence he has offered on shows.

Commemoration lectures he delivered at Harvard three years ago have been declared “self-plagiarised”. The Washington Post alleged that his book,...

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