Thursday, July 19, 2012

Who's the under-achiever now? Outlook gives Obama the title.

After some serious bashing by international media over the slow pace of reform, the Prime Minister found two white knights today. First, Ratan Tata tweeted that "Attacks on the architect of 1991 reforms which brought us prosperity is sad and unfortunate. It's wrong to single out the PM for inflation, low investment confidence and slow growth."

Then came the news that Outlook magazine's next edition, which hits the stands soon, has a cover story that brands President Obama "The Underachiever." That was the title bestowed on Dr Manmohan Singh two weeks ago by Time Magazine in its Asia edition. (Outlook India's website)

The Outlook cover says, "America needed a reboot. He promised hope and change... can his lofty rhetoric carry him home again?" Time's cover on Dr Singh had asked, "India needs a reboot. Is Prime Minister Manmohan Singh upto the job?"

On Monday, the Independent, a UK newspaper, ran a piece on Dr Singh that started out with a headline that asked if he was "saviour or Sonia's poodle." After tweaking its headline on its website a few times, the piece finally settled on the considerably milder "India's Saviour Or Just the 'Under-Achiever'?"

Foreign media and commentators have often made the point that India does not take criticism well when it's offered from a foreign perspective. The Congress party had dismissed the Time story, arguing that the Prime Minister has many accomplishments, which must be noted.