As the Western media falls over itself to tell the miraculous story of the Indian economy - the phenomenal software companies of Bangalore, the film and media businesses of Mumbai, the clamour for cars and foreign travel among the country's growing middle-classes - at least one significant voice is calling for calm.
Sir Mark Tully, who has devoted most of his working life to deciphering the cultural minutiae of the second most populous country on earth, feels that his fellow journalists are in danger of misrepresenting modern India by exaggerating its progress.
There is a great irony in this. During his tenure of more than 22 years as the BBC's India correspondent, Calcutta-born Tully was sometimes derided for his attempts to highlight local success stories as an antidote to the widely held view that the nation was a basket case.
"There used to be people who would say Mark Tully has gone native because I think they misunderstood my attempt to present a balanced picture. When I first went to India the picture was of a country riddled with poverty, a hopeless place which was described as 'living from ship to mouth' because it was so dependent on food aid. I always struggled to try to portray the other sides of India without denying there was poverty," he says.
"Now there is a reverse situation where people are being simplistic about the progress India has made; glibly talking about India as the great economic power of the future, without re-alising and remembering that there are enormous problems India has to address, and without discussing the way that India should develop economically."
When Tully talks, the word "balance" is never far from his lips and is at the heart of the title of his latest book: India's Unending Journey: Finding Balance in a Time of Change. His views on the Indian economic revolution mention "balance" in every sentence. "I firmly believe that the way the West has developed economically is unbalanced and that if India develops in this way, it is going to be very dangerous for it. Growth in the West is driven by consumerism, which is unbalanced and unhealthy, because it inspires greed. We all need to consume things, but that must be kept in balance. It is also unbalanced because of what we are doing to nature, the amount of energy we consume."
That's all very well for Tully to say, he was born into a wealthy family, educated at Marlborough and read history and theology at Cambridge. What do Indians make of his words of caution, now that greater riches appear to be in their sights? "Some Indians say 'You are trying to stop India becoming like other countries and stop us enjoying the kind of things the West enjoys," he admits. "But one of the things I admire and love about India is that it's a hugely open society. I'm a foreigner after all, and yet I can go around India and say these things about where I think India is going wrong and I'm listened to with respect and interest, though by no means always with agreement."
Mark Tully, 71, does still command great respect. The security teams and cavalcade of vehicles parked outside Asia House in London as he arrives for this interview are for the Mongolian president, his excellency Nambaryn Enkhbayar, but staff are just as excited about seeing Tully.
He sits in a whitewashed upstairs room, his tweeds giving him the appearance of the English gent that he is, though their origins, the Khan market in south Delhi, say a lot about the wearer. A decade after leaving the BBC, he still lives in the same Delhi apartment, with his partner Gillian Wright.
As a news journalist he invariably managed to achieve balance, though that did not mean he was not accused of bias. He was unpopular with Pakistan president Zulfikar Ali Bhutto but then also fell foul of his successor General Zia-ul-Haq. …