For the New Year's Day edition, the editor of the Times of India, the country's most popular English language newspaper, tried something new.
He stripped all the news articles from the front page and launched a defiantly patriotic campaign with the logo "India Poised".
It was a call to arms. India, the paper announced, was "on the brink of global success" and it was up to readers to seize the moment and build their country into a superpower.
Posters declaring "Our Time Is Now" were pasted up throughout the capital. The paper hired India's best-loved Bollywood star, Amitabh Bachchan, to promote the message through a series of television advertisements, proclaiming in his growly baritone that "quietly, while the world is not looking, a pulsating, dynamic new India is emerging".
The newspaper has homed in on rising euphoria about India's rapidly transforming economy and its growing international clout. With investment banks predicting that India will become the world's third largest economy within two decades, and a CIA report forecasting that the 21st century will be India's, national self-confidence is spreading fast.
Trade Minister Kamal Nath likes to say: "We no longer discuss the future of India. We say: the future is India."
Last week such triumphalist excitement was on display in abundance with the news that the Mumbai-based Tata Group had bought out the Anglo-Dutch Corus Group (formerly British Steel) with a bid US$12.2 billion ($17.7 billion), the largest foreign takeover by an Indian company.
Beneath the headline "Empire Strikes Back", one paper reminded readers that British colonial administrators had repeatedly tried to stifle the growth of the Tata family business in the early 20th century.
"Corus, the erstwhile British Steel and one of the icons of Her Majesty's Empire will now fly the [Indian] Tricolour"' the paper said. "It's the first step towards what we call the Global Indian Takeover."
But travel a few kilometres outside the bubble of prosperity in Delhi or the financial capital of Mumbai and this superpower mania can seem bewildering.
Beyond the sleek glass tower blocks that house call-centre offices on the outskirts of the city, and the extravagant, Florida-style apartment buildings the new India suddenly disappears.
Instead there is a vision of a more troubled India, where 700 million people scratch a living out of agriculture and 300 million battle to survive beneath the poverty line.
Horse-drawn carts dodge trucks as they drive the wrong way down the national highway, overloaded with leaking sacks of grain. Visibly weak children, many very young, break stones in the central reservation, helping to repair the road surface.
Health Minister Ambumani Ramadoss highlighted these paradoxes by saying: "India is on its way to becoming a superpower, but unfortunately 50 to 60 per cent of children under 3 are undernourished. We have the IT revolution, but then we have this pitiful infant mortality."
The two most powerful people in India's Government are at pains - at least in public - to restrain the national surge of triumphalism.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has highlighted the tastelessness in harping on about the country's glorious economic destiny when a large portion of the population is excluded from the benefits of growth.
Singh urged his listeners to remember the "vast segments of our people who are untouched by modernisation; who continue to do backbreaking labour," and, with characteristic honesty, listed the countless obstacles standing in the way of enduring economic success - illiteracy, failing healthcare, lagging education systems, crumbling infrastructure, hunger and poverty.
His words were echoed by the leader of the ruling Congress party, Sonia Gandhi, who said that while India had become a country of "dazzling prosperity" it still remained a nation of "dehumanising poverty".
But the leaders' words have done little to quell the excitement in the media and business community. Indians already view themselves as the second most powerful nation in the world behind the United States, according to a study by the Chicago Council on Foreign Affairs, and there is no doubt about India's soaring global stature.
India's indispensability to the United States was displayed last year with the sealing of a ground-breaking civilian nuclear pact.
China, Russia and Britain are eager to expand trade ties with India.
With customary self-assurance, a recent editorial in the Times of India explained: "Combine our new-found economic and political clout with our increasingly influential diaspora and our status as a global power ... and Brand India is on a roll like never before."
- OBSERVERBy Amelia Gentleman