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January 12, 2011

Book Review - Games Indians Play - Part - I

Games Indians play by V.Raghunathan an academician is a must read page turning thriller genre. It is rivetingly attractive. Having read it start to finish on three occasions I can vouch for the fact that it should be made a compulsory read for all management students.

The million dollar question that haunts all Indians is”why do Indians behave the way they behave”: We drive without licenses, we drive wherever we want, we jump queues, we spit on the road, we bribe merrily. Worst of all we pretend as if we are very law abiding and everyone else is the law breaker. Like the saying “we get the government we deserve”. Like the people so the rulers.

On the flip side the Indian Diaspora is growing. Indians have made their presence felt though out the world. They are brainy and virtually dominate the software field. They have given the world the number zero, they are admired for their industrious nature, figure among the richest in the world. In short the world toasts the success of Indians. We pride in reflected glory and pat ourselves on the back saying “Indians have arrived?” Arrived from where and going where?

That the paradox that this book addresses and addresses very dramatically. Raghunath has many questions but unfortunately furnishes no answers. There seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel. But Raghunath has to be appreciated for bringing such uncomfortable truths to the forefront. It can be the starting point of a conversation. People would laugh at some of the anecdotes but soon light would dawn on them. Raghunath is talking about you, me and os. Self flagration has never been so painful and so embarrassing.

The author uses very simple language and weaves a tapestry of emotions. We laugh, empathize and feel sad the way things are in India. Raghunath makes no claims about the empirical validity of the things. But they are abundantly clear that they exist. Liberal doses of game theory are used in the book. Is it a deliberate push to make it a part of a compulsory read for a course in operations research?

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