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The “Ultimate Insider”

In this book, with its direct narrative, he has not minced any disappointment or critique where it’s due - irrespective of the view if access to those power corridors would slow down for him in the near future.

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It was a much awaited book by the industry and a well deserved wait for the copy; Tamal Bandyopadhyay's book 'Pandemonium: The Great Indian Banking Tragedy'.

The book title while it seems to denote “chaos” or “confusion”, is actually one of the most sanest and lucid book on the Great Indian Banking story. With the right amount of data and clear interpretation of those into this book, Tamal has led the way, all-the-way.

The book has a gripping-yet-easy narrative style. It’s intelligent while being a stark contrast to the over-zealous and highly jargonised commentary that the BFSI industry sector uses to showcase its own intellect. ( For those who are missing their usual smattering of jargons, he has also kindly compiled them nicely towards the end of the book. )

There is no personal colour or hint of favouritism that he has shown towards any individual or institution in this book. The book covers enough ground with data, incidents, illustrations and writings about the Indian banking industry’s policies, personalities, processes, pain points, those preyed upon, and even the preachers (read it as those who keep spouting ideas for others but not for themselves).

For those who expected him to write with “dainty-darlings” style or tone, this data-led commentary will not appease them. (Just in case you thought of that having read some of his past books where he might have put few brands or personalities on a larger-than-life pedestal. )

In this book, with its direct narrative, he has not minced any disappointment or critique where it’s due - irrespective of the view if access to those power corridors would slow down for him in the near future. Hopefully his constructive critique would be picked up as market feedback and worked upon. With his sharp questions about the hits and misses even by the regulators, Tamal has showed his neutrality in his writings.

This book, while it has stayed clear of taking sides of any side of the current or past dispensations and those who held power, has also captured the differences of opinions of those as-is. For all those who have read the biographical or post-position commentaries by various retired experts about Banking & Economy, this book will nudge you to question some of the “I told you so” points made by those expert-authors. “Why did they not fix or question it when they were in charge ?”. Tamal’s book, without pointing any political alignment, has shown what some of those books have done injustice - of being carried away by political colour and not just sticking to subject-matter-judgement alone. And to add, this book does not sound preachy at all.

For someone who is not from the banking sector, Tamal can be labelled as the “Ultimate Insider” ! I have not quoted a single sentence from the book, just as a salute to the efforts that Tamal has taken in writing this book & his intellect. It deserves you buying a copy, as respect to his IP !

This book is highly recommended to anyone who works or aspires to work in & around Indian BFSI; for it gives a background on the growth of the Indian banking and speaks of the larger issues that have troubled it and continue bothering the markets. I would think that the Indian management schools, and BFSI firms (including the regulators) would have their students & employees receive a copy to read, almost like an induction-material to the Indian banking sector.

As an industry practitioner & a columnist who writes regularly on BFSI, I feel that this book has covered sufficient grounds, that no author can write on these topics for next 2-3 years with any other data point. Unless they want to showcase their interpretation or opinions, or to write a book to convert to a web-series !

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


Tags assigned to this article:
indian banking indian banking system BFSI sectors

Srinath Sridharan

The author is Independent Markets Commentator

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