The economist has used its circulation and opinion might, just before the 2014 elections, to influence the Indian voters to vote for Rahul Gandhi - as a lesser of the two evils. As a result of a plan or just a right timing - almost making it a double whammy, it received a heavy Indian media coverage and the consequent intensive reaction.
However, like the 'problematic' Indian election that it tries to cover, it itself is not without problems. Forgetting actions speak louder than words, almost like a teenage girl getting carried away by a star promising guy, or a gullible American voter mesmerised by Obama's rhetoric, it just seems to love politician's words. In this case the word sorry from the prime ministerial candidate of India - Mr Modi. And that too for a crime, which the latter says he did not commit. Let alone the empty words of politicians that frustrates voters and yet what Churchill saw essential in a leader, its seeking of a sorry in exchange for support almost sounds like cash for vote. Furthermore, that from a person whom it believes as one, who has killed many, doesn't sound right by any standard. Far from a sorry, tracing 'A sorry does not make a dead man alive', if Modi has really done so, he should be punished according to the prevalent law rather than a sorry and a support from such an influential magazine.
Strangely, akin to its not mincing of words in mixing words with opinion, it seems to have noticed Mr Modi's pre-election rhetoric but not the post victory facts - stability and progress. Even then, almost showing selective deafness - geared by the blame game, it fails to notice the rhetoric of future plans and development of India that Modi constantly harps about.
It accuses the latter of whipping up anti Muslim sentiments but it itself brings up Babri Masjid demolition incident to whips up an anti Modi stance. Furthermore, as if to divide and rule, it whips up even the partition tragedy to project India, not as changed and progressive state but as a state afflicted with Hindu-Muslim animosity. Sounding 'endless', it even drags Pakistani terrorist attacks to keep the sentiment up.
Although it shows some understanding of the corruption in India in its comparison between self made Modi and the dynasty made - Congress and its young leader, it neither sees the enormous sorrow that corruption has brought to the Indians, nor it sees the danger of the latter being a novice - coaxed to the field only months ago. India isn't Belgium - not even France; it is in fact, almost as large as the whole of Europe. Controlled, with difficulty, by even a renowned economist, it needs a well experienced leader to control the party, the coalition and the government.
The article is written in good English. But then, noting the word 'even' in the middle of the statement a school boy could do a better interpretation of what Modi said in the 'puppy' assertion than its erroneous interpretation brought about by inserting the word 'as'. While this addition itself is wrong, the whipping of sentiment through it would amount to one whipping up anti 'The economist' sentiment by airing mistranslation of Indian texts by the Brits to enforce 'White man's burden'.
Despite having a permanent scribe in Delhi, it puts legal innocence of Modi, not as a fact observed by its scribe but as an assertion by Modi supporters - as if it were just a claim. Almost aired by that fact, its other facts about Modi aren't strong either. Although relying on heresy than facts, it is sure about Modi erasing evidence of his crime, it does not seem to be sure that erasing of evidence is a major crime by itself, Indian justice system is independent, Judges are not daft and the ruling party equally wants to gun him down.
Furthermore, with half of those killed in 2002 Gujarat riots being Hindus - killed by Modi's troupes and by Muslims, while using 'pogrom' in this instance is not doing justice to the word and not mentioning Hindus' plight is not doing justice to the families of dead Hindus, not blaming Modi or even Muslims for the Hindu deaths, is a denial of logical thought that concludes it was a riot. Almost as a shocker to The economist, this suggests, the alleged sectarian anti Muslim, Modi actually killed his own ilk- the Hindus! A logical interpretation of this killing of Hindus clearly shows Modi not hesitating to use state machinery to kill his 'own people' to effectively quell the riot.
With him effectively ruling over a riot free state, in which Muslims also progressed - even freely voted for him, and his resent assertions tending to unite people of different faiths, ethnicities, casts etc under a futuristic vision as never before, its repeat of the slogan 'Modi is a divisive figure' isn't right. In fact it almost brings in 'If he divides he divides people, who believe in the media hype and who do research'. With the RSS seeking a civil code for all, even his association with the latter isn't so divisive.
Even if he strays from his futuristic vision as a PM, with India being dependent on Middle Eastern petrol and jobs, him being constrained by national and international laws like Tony Blair and Net equipped globalised world ogling at his prime ministerial ways, him causing divisional or other problems is as plausible as Congress wining this election. The paper expressing fear of future under his leadership, is thus pure scaremongering. With army not treading to take over power, Indira Gandhi getting a flak for the Emergency, freedom of speech being cherished as in USA and election commission being impartial, even him turning into a dictator isn't plausible.
With Atom Bomb stopping all wars- even making a boring world as Fukuyama says - Modi can't take India to war against Pakistan. Far from not knowing what Modi will do, as the article suggests, his assertions make it pretty clear. Although its beneficiary, Pakistani elite, alone can solve the hostility problem by lessening Jihadists, if Modi does what he says, through use of efficient manpower and technologies as by Israel, he can make infiltration futile and lessen hostility. Even if not good for the arms selling West, this reduction in hostility is a good news for average Pakistanis, who get no goodies but fear of routine bombings alone.
While its support for a non winning party, unlike a brilliant U turn by the USA, shows lack of concern for its future, its advice given to Modi and Rahul show lack of thought about their implications.
For example, its suggestion to choose leader other than Modi after election does not see the greater tragedy of cheating of the people, ransacking of BJP offices and even killing of BJP leaders by the cheated. With it being a coalition victory and his associates being drenched in corruption, the paper suggesting victorious Rahul to step back and promote modernisation sounds farfetched To really modernise the country, he has to end corruption. This means putting many, leaders, including his family members in jail. Expecting this lone novice to do the above is unthinkable. Instead, a rise of unpunished corrupt, as a disaster, could easily lead India into a West dependent state, and a burden to UN charity agencies. Lesser of the two evils, thus, could easily be the greater.
Like the al Queda and the secular rebels fighting in unison against a common enemy Assad, post secular non-divisive Congress president Sonia Gandhi's meet with the Sahi Bukhari of Jama Masjid, unifier seeking The economist suddenly finds itself aligned with the divisive latter in the fight against Modi.
Though, a huge reaction makes 'Indian's don't give a damn about foreign media' wrong, like the back firing of the Sonia Sahi meet, that foreign sentiment backfiring on the paper's goals may not be so wrong.
Finally, freedom of expression is extremely important for the progress of mankind and the paper has the right to a free speech. But that right has limitations. Airing untruth is one of them.