Review of the book ‘ The Argumentative Indian’ by Dr Sen

What is this book about ?


Why did I buy and read this book ?

I bought this book, argumentative Indian by Dr Amartya Sen thinking that the book would be of  insights filled about history and culture of India, how was India formed and where did it all start from etc.However, Dr Sen’s emphasis is more about multiculturalism, rich diversity and secularism in India. A economist, philosopher, thinker, sanskrit scholar and an activist , the tireless Sen, wears many hats. I can understand, he is not a historian right ?

What is the essence of this book as per my opinion ?


Dr Sen has prefaced it saying this book is a collection of 16 essays. I expected some amount of simplicity in the compilation given his experience and knowledge. He says that these 16 essays were written over a period of 10 years. Therefore I found a lot of connectivity issues. I couldn’t connect with his arguments or reasoning.  I also observed his writing on history , culture and Identity were not a free flow. The sentences are complicated and not easy to comprehend..His language is so academic and his sentences so paragraph like that I had to struggle along
There were lot or repeated themes in terms of highlighting Ashoka and Akbar’s contribution in developing multi cultural beliefs and also improving secularity in running the kingdom.

One this it was very clear to me that Dr Sen understand Rabindranath Tagore very well than Mahatma Gandhi. Understandably so considering Dr Sen’s bengali affiliations. He ends up making comparison between them, which I felt unwarranted.

He argues that, one of the right method of democracy is to allow public reasoning and debates and he quotes the style of Ashoka and Akbar.
Interesting to note :
Sanskrit came to India from abroad in the 2nd millennium BCE, with the migration of Indo-Europeans
greatest grammarian in Sanskrit, namely Panini, who systematized and transformed Sanskrit grammar and phonetics around the fourth century BCE, was of Afghan origin (he describes his village on the banks of river Kabul)
philosophical depth found in India is unparalleled in the west. Akbar, being a Muslim ruler and educated in Islam, still makes sincere attempts to assimilate the diversity purely based on reasoning. No other Muslim ruler comes ever closer to that kind of tolerance for the divergence in the society

“the identity of an individual is essentially a function of her choices, rather than the discovery of an immutable attribute”

India and the bomb : His opinion is that May 11 and 13 Pokhran 2 test is not our nation’s priority. Dr Sen says the Pokhran testing didn;t avert any military conflicts between us and Pakistan. He also estimates a financial angle of cost of the war almost $2.5 billion dollars. He argues that money could have been used for building primary education and literacy improvement. Another interesting point is that the fact that nuclearization of India and Pakistan did not avert any non-nuclear threats and war




Conclusion :





Role of a Risk Manager

Relationship between your role and your personal character :

The role of a risk officer, is to identify, mitigate and manage operational risk for the business unit. What is the importance of the relationship between the stakeholders who manage daily operational decisions vs the risk role.

The expectations of the risk role is to perform daily risk and control oriented activities, which helps business unit to progress and protect from various form of operational risk.

How can risk office initiate and establish a proactive risk culture with operations :

A true risk officer should know the day to day operational risk of the business unit. Risk officer should be able to focus on the right mixture of safety vs speed and empower operations in steering the show ahead.

Why cant operations team manage their own risk and why do they require an independent role to manage it ?
Operations is risk management and managing risk is operations on a daily basis. Independent role can naturally have the ability to challenge the basic assumptions the operations had and can provide a neutral view. Independent view can make a collective decision more stronger.

The relationship between the person who is running operations vs risk role is very important. The risk officer has to keenly listen and understand the requirements of operations team and their day to day priorities. Everything in operations is dynamic and can change from time to time. Therefore it is important to listen to the key messages from operations and be active in day to day operational activity.

Why should risk officer should know the business risk of the particular department ?

Every business has its own risk and it differs from market to market, product to product. client to clients.

Therefore, it is key for a true risk manager to understand the business critical situations and accordingly develop a risk mitigation plan to tackle the day to day risks of the department.

How can the risk manager develop more understanding of the business ?
It can start from the point that, exceptions are handled. Day to day break management activities, outstanding breaks, daily controls, SLA, key risk indicators etc.

Theoretically speaking , studying breaks and how a nostro, ledger and statement works in itself can be a major part of the learning. Secondly , the kind of risk events, financial loss and client complaints can act a great source of learning’s

Every day outstanding tasks and regular monitoring of volumes, capacity can also provide more context of the operational unit and kind of risk profile.

In the end, it is very important to partner with the operations stakeholders and associate with the business goals and add value to them on a daily basis.

Mostly importantly, daily, weekly, monthly update with operations is important present the review complete, observations from risk and control but also to know their change in plans, objectives, goals etc. It is very important to have a structure in place to approach objectives in a sytematic manner.

In risk and control it is easy to deviate and kind of lost in the direction. Therefore it is important to have a weekly and monthly target to complete certain set of objectives. The trick is to have a 1 year plan with a weekly/monthly target to achieve.

How do we become a true risk/control partner to operations

a) Understand operations objectives/approach and methodology
b) Understand and know operations priorities
c) Create plan to showcase value creation model on a regular basis – Value can be created by proactively identifying risks to and work with operations in implementing those controls

Relationship :

Between risk officer and risks in operations : Risk officer should know the key situations where exactly risks emerge. The thing is not about risks.The point is about the key situations where the issues/risks emerge from . Situations could be high volumes vs inadequate capacity, lack of clarity in roles. Lack of correct/complete procedure document. Lack of meaningful controls in the unit. Understanding and awareness of business understanding with staff, high nature of manual oriented processes. The risk officer should be focussing on the situations and suggest right methods to manage and overcome it. Operations will take on more volumes, but will have to design the capacity correctly to ensure, right level of staff are there to manage volumes on a daily basis.

Between risk officer and key stakeholders in operations : Business stakeholders know how to manage operations. They know what issues will come in their daily BAU. Whilst it is understandable that, operations manager will manage on their own, the role of a risk officer comes in handy during crucial decisions. The role of a risk officer should not be to do what is required from operations, but to ensure, what is needed in the situation and manage it from risk and control perspective. In difficult situations, risk officer becomes vulnerable and does what is told to him from operations and therefore becomes a victim. It is important to manage stakeholders, but doesnt mean, do what is told by operations stakeholders. There is a thin line of balance risk officer should maintain to ensure, the line of independency is created, maintained and visibly shown. The key is to show the independency and not individualistic behaviour. Risk officer should know, how to show risk and control team as independent and therefore the role. There are times, when the individual assumes his/her individual nature instead of the characteristic of a risk officer. At this point in time, there emerges a conflict. Operations stakeholders see risk and control officer as a police officer and not a partner. Operations stakeholder will understand, risk officer being independent, however, the point should not be prove independency alone but to offer right solutions where required.

Between risk officer and his risk role : Character mapping. Or match the following between what comes naturally vs what is required to do
Between risk office , role, & objectives

To connect with the core/heart of operations, RCO has to be aware of the power, authority, relevant business knowledge, stakeholders support. What value to be provided to the operations team has to be very clearly discussed and defined and documented. Otherwise, doing things in a timely and proactively manner will go in the bin, if not clearly articulated during the beginning of the contract. Value creation chain or process has to be clear and simple. This has to be articulate. In order to create the value chain for the operations, OR&C need to understand the priorities for the year, business goals (short term/long term).

From RCO perspective, business knowledge, process knowledge, local knowledge of the unit has to be key.

How will the operations benefit by having a dedicated RCO in place an what is the value creation the role can offer to operations.

RCO —- Value Creation—–Independency, issue based solution
RCO —-Reactive management
RCO – —Oversight
RCO —-Support & MI


Independence of Operational risk management functions:

I wanted to write about the right way of designing and functioning risk and control function in a bank. Before starting about various methods and approaches, let’s go through the basic definition of operational risk function as per Basel II.  ‘Operational risk is “the risk of loss resulting from inadequate or failed internal processes, people, and systems, or from external events” including legal risk”.  From this basic definition of risk, we can see sources from where risks emanate. Risks emerge from any flawed process, issues/wrongdoing from people, flawed application, system build out or could be a natural disaster. What’s complex in understanding the definition and implementing the same in the bank? Its’ simple isn’t? Then why do banks record heavy operational losses, huge reputational impact and legal penalties?

The way I see:

It is agreeable in investment banking operations unit, risk and reward go hand in hand if an entity desires to go, it needs risk taking appetite. Over a period, it has become synonyms that risk is reward. In any business people now talk about taking risk, start young, diversify risk, risk is courage and so many proverbs. Whilst I agree, risk is an essential element in managing and growing any commercial project, it is not just guaranteed for a sustained success. And the concept of risk is hugely spoken written and analyzed in a bank.  Rightfully so , as large amount of money is deposited based on trust/assurances that there will be reasonable return on customers investment, therefore it is very important that risk is considered as core concept like profit, shareholders return, if not more.

I would like to see the concept of risk slightly differently: Risk is not bad thing, there are lots of advises and caution come in from peers, team members and managers, when someone talks about risk in an operations and banking environment. Risk is not just a concept to be cautioned or get panic; rather it should be seen as inclusive and managed methodically. When I mean ‘methodical’ I mean being ‘orderly’ being systematic’ and organized. In an organized environment, risk has to be managed in an open and orderly manner.

There are scenarios you would have seen, a senior management professional asking his team members about the daily breaks exposure and urging them to get the funds back, have the commentaries being narrated correctly, has the breaks exposure report (say above 1 mill GBP) has been  shared on time etc. I feel everything is done in a ‘cautious’ manner, there is a sense of panic amongst the team member, resulting in urgency alone. And how come any action or reaction in an urgent context can be orderly and methodical. My view is risk should be thought as a method to achieve cost control, lean efficiency, and volumes management instead of just taking risk acceptance to save ‘unsatisfactory’ audit rating, seeking risk waiver for outstanding breaks beyond banks threshold etc. This mind-set has to evolve. I am not thinking of a utopian model of ‘Change’. I wanted to see a balance far sighted approach, hence my call for a right kind of ‘evolution’. Let’s agree, operations members have seen, shared, felt risk as a caution to be managed and from here, let’s evolve into seeing risk as an inclusive element like cost savings, employee engagement, lean efficiency etc. That’s my point.

Why do I feel, risk is not seen inclusive in an operations environment: if given a change, if regulators relax few significant controls, what do you think, operation unit will do? They will prepare a forecasting report to see, what does this mean, and they mention of the cost of control and say, by removing this control, by not adhering to one particular regulation, there are XX mill savings from FTE, technology, supervision and time saves. Every regulation has a purpose and it is in the best interest of the clients, investors and market efficiency. However, banks might not see the same. Banks might see it as increase in overall cost to implement the regulation in letter and spirit.  And if this regulation is not implemented within agreed time frame, then the bank will attract huge fines and receive reputation damage. There comes this point of caution and fear about risk. It’s time we move across from doing for the sake of regulation.

Risk Management for Data Management functions :

Risk Management for Exception oriented functions like settlements, Middle office :



Banks leadership team: I would like to have the operations senior most leadership team to endorse this approach and start rewarding staff who employ methodical orderly manner of managing risk. Not just by give gift vouchers but also include it part of banks values, every idea, project, action, programme initiated should contain this element of risk concept, managed in a orderly manner.


NH 10 movie

NH 10 : ‘National Highway 10’ is a National Highway, in northern India,  that originates at Delhi and ends at the town of Fazilka in Punjab near the Indo-Pak Border. Why I do say it? This is most important information of this movie and this is one of the core layer of this movie.The film is about a couple being caught witnessing an honour killing incident, and their struggle to run away.




A happy young urban couple (Meera & Arjun) decides to go on a vacation. They take NH 10 route to celebrate birthday of the protagonist, Meera(Anushka Sharma). On route, they see a young couple trying to elope and brutally beaten up by the girls elder brother. Arjun tries to intervene to resolve the situation, but gets a hard slap from girl’s elder brother. This hard slap is one of the important action, as I see it. Getting a slap from a stranger in front of his wife triggers the ego of this young Gurgaon professional. One event leads into another and Arjun goes to scare the gang when he sees their vehicle parked in an isolated area.He sees them torturing the girl and guy who were trying to elope. Realizing danger, the couple tries to escape from the isolated area near NH 10. But then they get caught. They try to run again, however this time, they accidently shoot one of the men in the gang. This provokes the gang and they decide to kill the couple. Each and every scene, the intensity of the chase increases. Arjun gets badly hurt in his right leg and Meera hides him under a railway bridge and tells him that, she’ll try and reach nearby police station to get help. From now on Meera gets the spotlight in the chase. All these chasing scenes are taken during the night in rural areas circumferencing NH 10. Last few scenes where Meera realizes her husband is killed by the gang and she decides to take revenge on them is shown very well. As an audience, I was parallely thinking, as to how will Meera take revenge, and was waiting for the revenge. Kudos to this film director(Navdeep Singh) for making this film and showing how honour killing in our states are not actioned by local police & netas.

P.S – Dr Manjeet Rathi of All India Democratic Women Association says: “The present provisions in law are not enough to deal with ‘honour’ killings. Slapping a murder case against the accused is no deterrent. There is urgent need of a legislation that punishes not only those who murder, but also those who stand as mute spectators and are directly or indirectly involved with the murder. We drafted a legislation and submitted it to the Home Minister with one lakh signatures. However, nothing came of it.

Though the Supreme Court has observed that ‘honour’ killings should be treated as the “rarest of rare crime and those perpetrating it should be sent to the gallows”, the killings have not got the attention they deserve. The Central government had initiated steps to bring about a separate law on ‘honour’ killings, but it was shelved after a number of states failed to give a feedback, indicative of the disinterest in the subject. Resultantly, all the law provides for is to book the perpetrator of the crime for murder while ‘others’ get away.

Pochettino and Spurs

I believe, winning a game requires control of the space on the pitch and not just control of the ball. Especially control of space required when the team is in defensive positions. Football to me is not just about talented individuals and their skill sets; it is about coalitions, connections and correspondence between 11 different individuals in a team. I’m not sure, if Daniel Levy and Franco Baldini are in agreement to what I believe, but I strongly feel, Pochettino believes in the right thing and he is the right choice for Tottenham Hotspur.

I understand, Spurs cannot become Southampton in just 1 season and that is not the aspiration of the club. Pochettino has come to white hart lane not just to emulate what he achieved at Southampton. He is here as a coach to create an ambitious form of football over a period of 5 years which yields sustainable results and trophies for the club. Tottenham has an identity and that should not be drastically altered. Perhaps, it can be evolved over a period of years in the right direction.

Who is Pochettino?

Pochettino grew up in Santa Fe Province (Argentina), son of a farm labourer. He has not had a great childhood in terms of pampering of gifts, luxurious travel etc. He has come up the hard way in his life and achieved whatever success and fame on his own. Pochettino played competitive level of football at national level representing Argentina(Won 20 caps for Argentina) and also Managed Espanyol between January 2009 and November 2012,” Won 49 of 146 league matches at Espanyol. This is a very good record for a manager at 42 years of age.

In my opinion, it is not logical to compare Pochettino with Harry Redknapp, AVB or Tim Sherwood, as each manager has different mindset, experiences and coaching philosophy. AVB set a new club record by finishing with 72 points during 2012/13, and it was also the highest points tally ever managed by any club in the Premier League to consequently not finish in the top four. But total number of points does not mean, 175 million investment is well utilized on the pitch.

Pochettino may not start off with an immediately impressive season, but his ideology, approach plan, tactics and training programme will gather the group of individuals into a cohesive team with a singular thought. Unlike AVB, who escaped by often quoting Arrigo Sacchi’s quotes “I never realised that to be a jockey you had to be a horse first”, dismissing the idea that only former players make successful coaches. Pochettino comes with authentic playing experience, credible coaching credits and he clearly knows the difference between South American, Spanish and English football strategy/tactics/culture. He has the ability to look at Spurs inherent problem and provide right solutions.

Relationship with players:

I foresee, young players will respond greatly to his coaching philosophies, approach and training plan. Pressing being his favourite approach, he will accordingly develop training plans to prepare the youngsters for high pressing games. Unlike other premier league managers, I see Pochettino deploying situations based tactics and approach, rather than a templated approach for all opponents. One notable aspect of his stint at Espanyol was his ability to work with young players and integrate them into the first team. More than 20 academy graduates were introduced into senior football under him. Considering spurs poor track record in developing youth talent, that’s surely one of the qualities that attracted Levy to bring him at white hart lane to build up a reserve team. I hope to see Alex Pritchard, Tom Carroll and Andros Townsend will be eager to work with him.


Style of Play:

Pochettino has a very clearly defined tactical style, influenced by Marcelo Biesla during his time in the Spanish League. This revolves around aggressive pressing high up the pitch, maintaining possession but also moving the ball forward quickly and vertically in transition to catch an opponent off guard. These strategies require highly trained players who can run at least 10-12 kilometres on an average during a game and specifically cover more in opponents half. Covering more distance, doesn’t mean contribution to the success of the team. The key point to run into open spaces attracting defenders and controlling that zone, thereby the team’s winger and forward get more open space to initiate key triggers


Focus on defence:

From fans, media and general public, it is known that, Pochettino, prefers playing high energy, attacking game, but if you go down a few layers into his mind, he knows the ideology that attacking principles should be based on a sound defence and not otherwise. Spurs finished 6th position during 2013/14 season with overall 55% wins, 16% draws and 29% losses. Defensive errors made them to lose 1 in every 3 games played. Most of errors are from experienced defenders in the squad, which is even more worrying. Jan Vertonghen needs to be allocated a CB role instead of left back and more youth products needs to come in to establish a steady defence. Latest being, Ben Davies fom Swansea will occupy the left back role, which is open for a long time. If Pochettino has to succeed, his defence team has to play a more supportive role of playing a high line defence with intelligence, interception and reflection.


No 10 for spurs:

Christian Eriksen (Age 22) is in no way a comparison for legendary Luka Modric, but we can easily draw similarities of these 2 great minds. While Arsenal’s record signing, £42million Mesut Ozil, has nine goals and needed a couple of months to cope with the rigours of Premier League, Eriksen has 12 goals in total. His dribbling/ball control, vision and positional awareness is excellent and I will be glad, if Pochettino will make use of his creativity and offer him as the new 10 for Spurs, creating a new version of football for Spurs.

Tim Sherwood about Eriksen – “I watched him at 18 at Wembley playing for Denmark [a 2-1 defeat by England in February 2011] and I rang Daniel Levy the day after and said that he needs to sign this boy. A £10m fee later he is finally here, so that is all good news.”


Forward Section:

We-kick off with our first-ever visit to Seattle and a friendly against the Sounders at the impressive Century Link Field – home of the current NFL champions, Seattle Seahawks. It is vital that, Adebayor fits well in Pochettino’s strategy and contributes to the overall success of the season. Pochettino is not a big fan of creating a team around the striker, but will ensure, his forwards respond well to the supplies they receive in the opponents final 3rd. Eric lamella & Soldado should be able to perform this season and they can expect lot of supplies to finish the job. I don’t think, Spurs will not go for a new striker as the right strategy will be motivate the existing bunch of forwards to create chances.



By beginning of December, it will be evident to study the key areas of challenge for the team under Pochettino and how players are responding to his approach. Pochettino is the 8th Spurs manager in the last seven years. Let’s see, if number 8 turns out to be a lucky number for Tottenham Hotspur and for Daniel Levy ;-) to qualify for the champions league





Creative Genius Oscar…

Brazilian width helps overcome Croatia in even opening game : 3-1

Key feature of the match, was the frequency of crossing. Brazil usually field inverted wingers cutting inside to shoot, whereas Croatia hold the ball for long positions in central midfield. But in the first half, both sides crossed the ball regularly.

11th minute own goal nicely characterizes this FIFA 2014 opening game.Croatia attacked up the left side and put in a low cross that Marcelo accidentally knocked past goalkeeper Julio Cesar. An own goal by Brazilian left back, Marcelo, gave advantage to Croatia. Brazilian emotion were tickled in their own soil and then we get to witness the collective creativity of samba’s soccer. Brilliant work out of Oscar helped Neymar to equalize outside the 16 yard Croatian box. 61,203 fans cheering, Neymarrrrrrr….Brazil continue their creative play, attack, pressing and possession. A visual treat for a football fan.

Second half, Brazilian were bit slow, when compared to their usual pace and power. Oscar again worked very well in the channels and Croatian coach instructed his boys to contain Oscar in the mid-itself and not to propel forward. Oscar was found to be the fulcrum in which, Brazil orchestrated their attack.

Goal opportunity for Brazil, came from their right side, where Oscar and Dani Alves linked up well to position Neymar upfront.

Poor refereeing(by Japan referee Yuichi Nishimura) caused a penalty to Brazil and Neymar score again. I am not relating to São Paulo(largest city in Brazil) has one of the largest Japanese expats communities;-)

This also shows, how this beautiful game has gained so much popularity , but then lacks fairness. If only FIFA board members, were forthcoming in introducing technology enabled decisions for all fouls and pushes inside the box.My wish will only be a wish I guess. In my view, that was not a foul on Fred and not a penalty. This shows how referee was poorly positioned and took that incorrect decision.

90th minute goal by Brazilian no 11 Oscar, displayed his creative genius & character. . Oscar finish straight out the Futsal textbook. Toe punt on the run, keeper hasn’t got time to get set, game over.Oscar was class tonight with his performance: 7 successful dribbles, 4 tackles, 3 interceptions, 3 chances created and 1 goal

Embedded image permalink

Oscar summed up the game, which he started, played well and deserved the man of the match.

Mata in Red and United

Mata met Moyes earlier this afternoon (©Twitter)

In my opinion, this is one of the right decision made by Manchester united this season. From a long term investment perspective, this is one of the intelligent move and perhaps, with patience , Mata can prove to be a worthy asset.

Few interesting insights, I learned about Mata :

a) Juan Mata was directly involved in 33.3% of Chelsea’s Premier League goals last season, more than any other player

b) Since the start of last season(2013), Juan Mata has made more passes in the final third (423) than Robin van Persie & Shinji Kagawa combined (353)

c) Since 2010, Juan Mata has won the FA Cup, Europa League, Champions League, European Championship and World Cup. EPL, the only one missing.

His character will become very handy to united, specifically during those crucial last 5 minutes, during key games. His intelligence with/without the ball is very unique, when compared with other key players in the united squad. Whilst, every player will have their uniqueness, Mata as a character with his free role behind the striker will be great strength.

This is the transformation, united needs. Van Persie coming on, Rooney supporting, Mata being the feeder, it will be a great to watch for all united fans.

Whilst Chelsea has every reason to say, why this transaction is the right decision for them, fans know the sale of Mata (GBP 35 million) is not for money. Chelsea is not a team, which is in financial difficulty to sell their key player in form to their title challengers.  And also not because, Manchester united wanted Mata. Jose Mourinho, doesn’t see Mata fitting in this 4-3-3 and play as an attacking mid-field. Mourinho always prefer a winger who is pacy, agile and tall, who can provide that incisive crosses and headers.

Mourinho clearly preferred Oscar being the no 10 player for Chelsea and Hazard playing on left, Schurrle on right with Diego Costa as their main striker. The new formation is chelsea is built around Costa’s strengths and sweet spots.

Mata being a different player, was not used well in Mourinho’s squad.

Man Utd saw that opportunity and took Mata in a hollywood style, bringing him into old trafford in a helicopter ;-) for a fee of GBP 37.1 million. Is this a best move for Mata, perhaps yes, but is this the same for Man Utd, only time can say.

Louis Van Gaal, the new manager for the red devils, will clearly use him as a no 10, making the game more fluid and influencing ‘total football’ approach. He will like Mata’s play and will make him shine there.



What a lovely project !!!

Spurs fans

Why should AvB focus on the project/job at hand : All I want him to do is to focus on the job at hand & help spurs qualify for the champions league tournament. That’s all AvB has to achieve. That’s all he needs to thing about and this is his project & he willingly signed up for it. And to do that, look at the new peripheral challenge he has. The changes at managerial level in EPL 2013-2014

Moyes to United, Benitez to Napoli, Pellegrini to Man City, & Mourinho to Chelsea.

At AvB’s age, who would get this kind of qualitative challenge & a lovely project to spend his rest of the year at white hart lane. I would say AvB is very lucky and he is in the right place for a right reason.Name any one manager at 35 years of age, would compete for a trophy with his own mentor(Mourinho) ? I can’t think of any except AvB.

If I trust my instincts, I would say, AvB will stay with spurs & rubbish all those bookies views of a move to PSG. Bookies are just one dimensional and lack assessment. We know this.

Look at the statistics of AvB during 2012-2013 :

Premier League: 5th
Europa League: Quarter Finals (eliminated)
FA Cup: Fourth Round (eliminated)
Capital One Cup: Fourth Round (eliminated)


Games: 54; Won:  27; Lost: 11; Drawn:  16; Win %: 50%

who would get this result in a period of just less than 12 months ?

Thus, I say, I want and wish AvB to stay with spurs….