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Bipolar disorders

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Pointless!

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Pointless!

My salutations to thy sacred streets, O beloved nation! Where a tradition has been invented – that none shall walk with his head held high If at all one takes a walk, a pilgrimage One must walk, eyes lowered, the body crouched in pretense and […]

Farrukh writes
0 8 min 1 mth

Whither proactive foreign policy

Growing up in Pakistan with a hunger for books I found one Pakistani title rather alluring. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s The Myth of Independence has the kind of ring to it that instinctively gets what generations of Pakistani policy pundits have been failing to underscore so succinctly. But […]

Farrukh writes
0 8 min 1 mth

The Red Queen is laughing

What’s the point? The more you want to fix it the more it all crumbles. You can wake up someone who is sleeping. You cannot rouse someone who is pretending to sleep. You can protect someone who faces an imminent threat of death. How can […]

Farrukh writes

Fake news

0 8 min 8 mths

On January 12, 2018, only four days after his 76th and last birthday, British tabloid Daily Mail carried a remarkable headline about renowned physicist and pop-science legend Dr Stephen Hawking. “Has Stephen Hawking Been Replaced with a ‘Puppet’?” it asked. As if it was not enough, it went […]

Farrukh writes
0 8 min 8 mths

Shocks become us

The collapse of reality is an atrocious experience. An ordinary person treats at least a few things in life as fixed, immutable anchors to reality. Until the fall of the Twin Towers, to an average New Yorker, and perhaps even to an average American, they […]

Farrukh writes
0 8 min 8 mths

How wars hurt us

As the American media continued its unrelenting coverage of the fifth day of Kabul’s fall to the Taliban, Floyd Ray Roseberry, a 49 years’ old North Carolinian, pulled up his muddy Dodge Ram on the sidewalk of the Library of Congress, live-streaming on social media […]

Farrukh writes
0 8 min 8 mths

Seventy-four

How does one even begin to express one’s love for a homeland that is everything? Alpha and omega. Home, journey and destination. A sandbox where you make all mistakes and in a heartbeat, everything is forgiven and forgotten. Motherland and fatherland. And must one express […]

Farrukh writes
0 8 min 8 mths

Behold the wooden horse

Virgil’s Aeneid tells the tale of an ingenious plan the Greeks came up with. After 10 years of unsuccessful siege of Troy, they built a massive wooden horse hollowed out from within, burned their camps to indicate they had left and hid inside the horse. […]

Farrukh writes
0 8 min 8 mths

The myth of privacy

The Pegasus Project, as it is being called now, has blown the lid off of the Pandora’s box of fears and doubts. Since Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the predatory nature of the alleged surveillance capacities and practices of the American and the British […]

Farrukh writes
0 8 min 8 mths

Space — the final frontier?

After remaining rather uneventful for decades, outer space is again seeing a lot of action and interest. There are many reasons for it. NASA is under presidential orders to land humans on Mars by 2033. In December 2019, Donald Trump inaugurated the US Space Force […]

Farrukh writes
0 8 min 8 mths

Cost of a divided world

Let me draw your attention to four of my pieces that appeared in this space in the past two years. On June 1, 2019, in my piece titled “The Huawei Inflection Point”, I pointed out the perils of the Trump administration’s dangerous campaign against Huawei. […]

Farrukh writes
0 8 min 8 mths

The South Asian tamasha

“The common law of the Asiatic dynasties,” wrote Edward Gibbon in his magnum opus, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, was “the unceasing round of valour, greatness, discord, degeneracy, and decay”. Very cyclical, correct? If you manage to read this six-volume work […]

Farrukh writes
0 8 min 8 mths

Know thyself

For the third time in two years the short-form video sharing portal, TikTok, finds itself banned in Pakistan. The ban came as a result of a case that is being heard in the Sindh High Court. The next hearing is on July 8, and I […]

Farrukh writes
0 8 min 8 mths

Zen and the art of rising from ashes

The phoenix, as an idea, has a recorded history of seven to eight thousand years. Yes, roughly seven to eight thousand years. The earliest designs were found at an archaeological site in Hongjiang, Hunan Province. The idea has mutated over time but as a final […]

Farrukh writes
0 8 min 8 mths

The flattening of the Pakistani mind

When was the last time you saw a science show or documentary on a Pakistani television channel? It is a serious question. There was a time when an effort was made to popularise science in Pakistan. In General Zia’s time when Pakistan Television was the […]

Farrukh writes
0 8 min 8 mths

What’s eating Narendra Modi?

India’s Narendra Modi is in a pickle. When he declared victory against the coronavirus this January, he wasn’t just tempting fate but revealing the largest chinks in his armour — ignorance, and hubris. And along came the double mutant Indian variant which has now been […]

Farrukh writes
0 8 min 8 mths

Boring world order

Disambiguation first. This piece has nothing to do with Elon Musk’s The Boring Company. Despite its ingenious name the company remains known for tunnelling and digging holes in the earth. This article, on the contrary, argues for healing the world. Rebuilding trust, patience, doing what […]

Farrukh writes
0 8 min 12 mths

Shades of conspiracy

Not a day passes by without a new set of totally crazy conspiracy theories reaching us. Now that Pakistan is making strides in vaccinating its citizens, you might have come across a video clip where someone is attaching a light bulb to various parts of […]

Farrukh writes
0 8 min 12 mths

Told you so!

The recent 11-day conflict between Israel and Gaza reinforces what I have been saying all along. While preparing for this piece I noticed that in the past three years Benjamin Netanyahu’s name found some 26 mentions in my writings. It was often accompanied by one […]

Farrukh writes
0 8 min 1 yr

Implications of one banned tweet

If you are interested in South Asia, you might have come across a news report about Indian actress Kangana Ranaut who was permanently suspended from Twitter. Reason? Hate speech. Given the amount of crazy that now comes out of India you are unlikely to make […]

Farrukh writes
0 8 min 1 yr

Wages of pseudoscience

In February this year, Coronil kit by Yoga guru Ramdev’s company Patanjali Ayurved got a formal nod by the Indian government as an evidence-based ayurvedic cure of Covid-19. The event launch of a report supporting the wild claims of the company was attended by the […]

Farrukh writes
0 8 min 1 yr

The conversation we never had

As a powerful blast rocked Quetta’s beautifully built Serena hotel, and Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility, one was reminded of our commitment to fight extremism and terrorism by all means necessary. It seems only yesterday that the vandals from the same terrorist organisation had butchered […]

Farrukh writes
0 8 min 1 yr

Dead as a dodo

Nothing is perfect in this world. Everything comes with two sets of attributes. Fatal flaws and redeeming characters. When you want to cancel something, you look almost exclusively at the former. When you want something to be accepted you talk up the redeeming features. In […]

Farrukh writes
0 8 min 1 yr

The Washington Consensus and the meat cleaver

(Dated: April 10, 2021) Is the teacher out of his depth or the classroom has changed beyond recognition? At a time when the Covid-19 crisis has devastated the world economy, thrown economic pundits for a loop and made the lives of citizens around the word […]

Farrukh writes
0 9 min 1 yr

Concert of what now?

(Dated: April 03, 2021) Words have power. When words are put together hurriedly, selfishly, or unimaginatively their power is mostly destructive. It was Karl Marx who had said history repeats itself first as a tragedy then as a farce. The world we live in was […]

Farrukh writes
0 8 min 1 yr

Schrodinger’s dove

(Dated: March 27, 2021) A piece on international relations ought not to start with an illustration from quantum mechanics. But it will become abundantly clear to the reader in the ensuing paras that there is no other way. Most of you must be aware of […]

Farrukh writes
0 8 min 1 yr

We didn’t kill Yamamoto

With every passing day, I see more evidence to support Mushtaq Yusufi’s assertion that the memory of the bygone era is the main villain of the Asian drama. Don’t get me wrong. Every nation is tethered to its past. Donald Trump’s slogan, “Make America Great […]

Farrukh writes
0 8 min 1 yr

Statement of principles

The general elections of 1985 were the first that I can remember. A primary school student, I stayed up all night glued to the television screen. Leading newspapers in those days used to publish the extensive list of candidates in each constituency with ample space […]

Farrukh writes
0 7 min 1 yr

Pawry politics

The title of this column comes from a viral video trend where people introduce themselves, their commute, or friends and then they inform you that they are partying. Since the few seconds clip that broke the internet is the epitome of innocence and good-natured merriment […]

Farrukh writes
0 9 min 1 yr

War, peace and an interaction

The dynamic between India and Pakistan has held the region hostage for a long time. We witnessed it time and again in the SAARC meetings. Every time a SAARC summit took place the rest of the agenda would be shunted to one side. Now that […]

Farrukh writes
0 8 min 1 yr

The arc of time

Are you distressed by the rapidly changing world? Worried that you have no control over the broader currents of change? Or perhaps like me, you feel that your nose has been so close to the grindstone that when you look back to the past decade […]

Farrukh writes
0 15 min 1 yr

Regulating freedoms, stabilizing progress

The global response to the COVID-19 pandemic has given birth to some serious questions. Countries with tough regulations, boisterous state control and big governmental infrastructure have fared rather well in comparison to the nations with institutionally protected civil liberties which struggled to contain the pandemic. […]

Farrukh writes
0 8 min 1 yr

Elephants in the room

The political discourse about democratisation in Pakistan is in the habit of hitting the target while entirely missing the point. It is your stereotypical forest for trees situation. Decades of conditioning has left our pundits and journalists programmed not to notice the systemic flaws in […]

Farrukh writes