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Legends of our fall

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Whodunnit

Attention all readers. This is not an obituary of the last government, the party that went out of power, or for that matter of the politics of its leader and former premier Imran Khan. Nor does this piece seek to thumb the nose at any […]

Farrukh writes
0 8 min 3 mths

Explaining gravity to a chicken

“Amy: I have bitten my tongue so long, it looks like a dog’s cushion. But no more! You have made it impossible to do this job. You have two settings – no decision and bad decision. I wouldn’t let you run a bath without having […]

Farrukh writes
0 8 min 3 mths

Bipolar disorders

As the current political crisis unfolded and one by one the government’s erstwhile allied parties and dissident members chose their path, an anchor on a private channel asked an undecided member of the parliament whether he had made up his mind. The answer came in […]

Farrukh writes

What keeps Modi in power?

0 9 min 1 yr

(First published on September 12th, 2020) When coronavirus panic struck the world, populist leaders in many countries were averse to shutting down the economy. On the one side there was the myth of strongman mystique, on the other a genuine concern for the financial wellbeing […]

Farrukh writes
0 9 min 1 yr

That’s what’s wrong with the opposition!

(First published on September 5th, 2020) When last week I wrote that two men, Asif Ali Zardari and Shahbaz Sharif, had brought their respective parties to their knees I had little idea that the opposition leader in the National Assembly, who has often taken leave […]

Farrukh writes
0 9 min 1 yr

What is wrong with the opposition?

(First published on August 29th, 2020) Do you get the feeling that something weird is going on with the two major opposition parties? That whenever they plan to challenge the government, a switch flips and they are found rubber-stamping every treasury bill that comes their […]

Farrukh writes
0 8 min 1 yr

Fool’s perdition

(First published on August 22nd, 2020) One of my favourite pastimes these days is to see Pakistanis underestimate their country. In a nation given to strong mood swings, this is to be expected. But when the negative perceptions transform into automatic negative thoughts (ANTs) and […]

Farrukh writes
0 9 min 1 yr

Kashmir policy today

(First published on August 15th, 2020) This piece reaches you on August 15 — India’s Independence Day, and a day after Pakistan celebrates its freedom. This piece addresses neither. Not directly at least. It is about Kashmir and how far it is from freedom. It […]

Farrukh writes
0 9 min 1 yr

Modi unleashed

(First published on August 8th, 2020) Prescience and foresight are the most fetching attributes of wisdom. Two mundane examples come to one’s mind. The first is of the American television series House of Cards. Before it came to an unseemly end, it highlighted two important trends […]

Farrukh writes
0 8 min 1 yr

Pakistan’s actual fault lines

(First published on August 1st, 2020) If you are a Pakistani fascinated by the country’s history there is a good chance you have been brought up on a controlled diet. There is one narrative that is set by the state. The one that starts with […]

Farrukh writes
0 9 min 1 yr

Blinded by colours

(First published on July 25th, 2020) NYC Comedian Ryan Long came up with a brilliant video in which two men, one woke one racist are discussing matters pertaining to colour and race. The racist among them announces very proudly that they agree on everything. And […]

Farrukh writes
0 9 min 1 yr

Best laid international plans

(First published on July 18, 2020) You must have encountered a host of theories in international relations (IR). Realism, idealism, Marxism, constructivism, critical theory, postmodernism, feminism, and on. Realism like many others has given birth to a number of sub-categories. President Trump calls his version […]

Farrukh writes
0 9 min 1 yr

Nazi time travel cipher

(First published on July 11th, 2020) For someone who spends a remarkable amount of time reading and researching fascist literature, I feel very fortunate this propaganda never appeals to me. To defeat their seduction all you have to do is know where the ciphers are […]

Farrukh writes
0 9 min 1 yr

The saffron swastika

(First published on July 4th, 2020) When Rachel Maddow published her recent book, Blowout, claiming that Russia in confluence with the oil lobby had conspired to bring Donald Trump to power in revenge for the US punitive measures in response to the annexation of Crimea, I […]

Farrukh writes
0 8 min 1 yr

Our unfinished stories

(First published on June 27, 2020) Storytelling is no rocket science. Creativity is not the name of a fruit that grows only on the trees of Narnia. And yet Pakistan has mostly struggled in creativity in recent decades. When everyone is obsessed with politics what […]

Farrukh writes
0 9 min 1 yr

The Hindutva Reich

(First published on June 20th, 2020)Unchecked renegade ideologies can prove expensive. Usually called into existence by political expediency to meet some short-term goals, these ideologies are soon abandoned. But unlike computer subroutines, they never truly go away. They keep growing in the background, mutating, multiplying […]

Farrukh writes
0 9 min 1 yr

Lost in transmission

(First published on June 13th, 2020) By the time these lines reach you the federal budget for the fiscal year 2020-21 must have been presented. As I write the total number of Covid-19 cases in the country stands at 125,927 as per the Government of […]

Farrukh writes
0 8 min 1 yr

Politics, race, violence and America

(First published on June 6th, 2020) Those who have known pain and loss intimately do not take pleasure in another person’s misery. That is if they are not broken beyond repair or informed only by superficial analyses of the resentful lot. In Pakistan, we have […]

Farrukh writes
0 8 min 1 yr

The dragon and the elephant

(First published on May 30th, 2020) What happens if China and India go to war? Who wins and who loses in the end? How did we end up here? If a war begins will it suck in the United States and other great powers? The […]

Farrukh writes
0 8 min 1 yr

The second shockwave

(First published on May 23rd, 2020) Covid-19 has badly shaken our world. You cannot name a single walk of life which has not been adversely affected by the pandemic. The world economy right now is like Schrödinger’s cat. We don’t know whether it is dead […]

Farrukh writes
0 8 min 1 yr

What is wrong with us?

(First published on May 16, 2020) Deconstruct this. The authorities are gradually relaxing the lockdown restrictions. This was to be expected. How long can a society suspend its economics and shutter its businesses? Not indefinitely. But when the threat is so widespread, self-evident and every […]

Farrukh writes
0 8 min 1 yr

And we all fall down

(First published on May 09, 2020) Pakistan is not the first country that comes to mind when you discuss Covid-19. The infection numbers are still relatively low here. The novel coronavirus related deaths are almost negligible. However, with a limited capacity to test it is […]

Farrukh writes
0 8 min 1 yr

The left’s tragic flaw

(First published on May 2nd, 2020) The First World War was raging when the German authorities struck gold in a clever idea. If they could send Vladimir Lenin and the rest of the Bolshevik leadership, mostly in exile in Switzerland, back to Russia, it could […]

Farrukh writes
0 8 min 1 yr

New enemy of open society

(First published on April 25th, 2020) Democracy around the world is in turmoil. The ongoing turbulence can be attributed to only one global disaster. As many democratically elected leaders around the world keep underplaying the threat posed by the novel coronavirus, and some do so […]

Farrukh writes
0 8 min 1 yr

The herd instinct

(First published on April 18th, 2020) During the lockdown, mostly cooped up in the house, I finally managed to finish the TV series that I have been trying to for a while. The Man in The High Castle. Loosely based on Philip K Dick’s novel of […]

Farrukh writes
0 8 min 1 yr

Pakistan needs a reset

(First published on April 11th, 2020) Crises bring out the best and the worst among us. The ongoing double whammy does nothing less. On one side it has exposed the poverty of our healthcare system. Who would have known that a country of over 200 […]

Farrukh writes
0 8 min 1 yr

Humanity’s downfall

(First published on April 4th, 2020) Mankind is failing. On the face of it, a microscopic bug has brought it on its knees. But that is only half of the story. In these uncertain times when we all struggle to see some hope, it is […]

Farrukh writes
0 8 min 1 yr

Sanity in the time of corona

(First published on March 28th, 2020) The novel coronavirus outbreak threatens to permanently alter the way we live. With the ever-increasing number of infections, only a small proportion of the total population being tested and a significant number of casualties, caution can evidently not be […]

Farrukh writes
0 8 min 1 yr

Failure, paranoia and decoupling

(First published on March 21st, 2020) As the United States was bracing itself for an impact and the US President and many conservative pundits were still comparing the coronavirus to influenza, Tucker Carlson, a Fox News host with a long history of racist remarks, broke […]

Farrukh writes
0 8 min 1 yr

Covid-19 and collective security

(First published on March 14, 2020) Have you ever seen anything that threatens to destroy the fabric of every society and yet has the potential to build an airtight case for unconditional global cooperation? The global outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic threatens to accomplish both. […]

Farrukh writes
0 8 min 1 yr

Global politics of race and birth rates

(First published on March 7th, 2020) Russia’s powerful President Vladimir Putin recently gave an annual state of the nation address. Whenever he speaks he creates news. That is proof of power and influence he wields in our times. This time too, his speech was followed […]

Farrukh writes
0 8 min 1 yr

The worst place

(First published on February 29th, 2020) It is official. India has arrived at the worst place possible in its history. The proof of the pudding became evident during President Donald Trump’s 36-hour long visit to India. The visit, which began with great gusto and fanfare, […]

Farrukh writes
0 8 min 1 yr

Trump visits India

(First published on February 22, 2020) President Donald Trump’s upcoming India visit is an unparalleled feat of remarkable optics and symbolism. He lands in the country on February 24. From Sardar Vallabhbhai Airport in Ahmedabad on their 22km road trip to the Motera Stadium, he […]

Farrukh writes