Economist's art on Modi's India

Unlike Modi covers in the past, which show his photographs, the latest Economist cover story on the PM has a a very interesting illustration. A careful look at it reveals much. 
For one, PM Modi has a distinct air of former PM Singh. From the tired expression to the relatively slight physique. Given the challenges that India presents at any point of time, it is perhaps unsurprising that the Economist detected something of Singh weariness in Modi. Barring of course, the possibility that their information was not updated for India PM and half way through illustrating they realised - oh damn, different guy! Unlikely, but a fun thought.

Two, slightness of build though might have an  unintended symbolism as well. PM Modi has some focus on a healthy India, whether through the celebration of the Yoga day or the mooting of a Fat Tax. And for anyone who has been following India carefully, they know that the latter is already underway.
Three, PM Modi is ostensibly riding India, which is a tiger. Note that India is often represented as an elephant, particularly in comparisons with China, which has, in the past decade or so been represented as the tiger racing ahead. But now, of course, India is growing faster, with a little help from its new national accounts statistics methodology.
 
Four, while the Economist does not allude to that fact (it is only still bothering economists, who are apt to make long run comparisons and are struggling to adjust to the lack of back data), the tiger is however, shown to be tearing in various parts. In other words, India is shown as a paper tiger. This is possibly related to the sub heading of the issue- The Illusion of Reform.
 
Five, the landscape around shows a waterbody, greenery surrounding it and rolling lands beyond. Significantly, the waterbody shows some blossoming lotuses and many more lotus buds. The lotus, of course, is the ruling political party BJP's symbol. But these are no ordinary lotuses. They are in the colours of the national flag. In other words, this is BJP's India or more precisely, as the headline says: Modi's India. The blossoming lotuses representing the ideas that have come to fruition and the buds represent those that are still to come in full bloom.
 
Similarly, the healthy plants in the front might be a representation of all that is good with Modi's India, as is the idea of missed opportunities represented by the clean rolling lands beyond, where nothing is growing.
 
Six, what is shown on the cover is as important as what is not. The cover doesn't show thriving industry in the background as it may well have, because it is in fact not the case!
 
Lastly, Modi riding over the wilderness, seems to suggest that he is still making it through it. It maybe longer than assumed before habitation is reached. A far cry from the first Modi cover when he came into power, titled - How can Modi unleash India?

1 comment:

  1. Manostaxx
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