According to someone who actually played with him, yes.
In a blog entry from a couple of days ago, in the comments section, one of the good Professor's players had a few choice words to say about Arrows of Indra:
"AoI may be the best set of rules for Tekumel, as I think it may be the
best yet reflection of how Phil actually played in his game sessions...
He also agreed with my general position about what's wrong with Tekumel, the fault of every fan-driven 'revival' of Tekumel (and there sure have been a lot of these) after the original, gonzo and fairly cool Empire of the Petal Throne.
The latter bears little resemblance to how any of its successors look, wherein they replaced a focus on adventuring with a focus on obsessive-compulsive attention to the minute details of Tekumel's language and culture, with pseudo-anthropology and pseudo-linguistics (things, I'll note, that help make a game cooler in VERY SMALL DOSES) being overloaded to the point of becoming an entry-barrier to any new potential fans.
The same blog comment from an actual player at Barker's table pointed out:
"The multitude of published Tekumel RPGs, with the probable exception of
EPT itself, do not give anybody a good basic introduction to Tekumel -
and they certainly do not reflect the Professor's own style of play."
Naturally, AoI does have a certain resemblance to the Tekumel setting, because Barker
borrowed a lot of stuff from Epic India, the same source I used for AoI.
However, I tried as much as humanly possible to make AoI totally
accessible to a standard D&D-fan who has no prior knowledge of
indian myth, culture, anthropology, or linguistics, and who doesn't want
to bother with those things and just have a cool place to adventure in.
That was the goal.
Unfortunately, it's not a goal that the people managing Tekumel have shared, not for years.
I just found out that someone has
recently published yet another Tekumel RPG, and (insanely) the
new edition is not going to be OSR, which one would think of as a
colossal mis-step if it wasn't for the fact that it's likely
pre-meditated. For all their talk, most Tekumel fans WANT their setting
to be obscure and under-appreciated, so that:
a) they can complain about that
b) they can feel like part of a special exclusive club of the people who 'get it'
c) they can feel superior
fucking sad. There was nothing to prevent a reintroduction of an adventure-focused, weird-science-fantasy focused Tekumel with rules compatible to the most popular RPG in history. With the huge popularity of the OSR, this was the moment to do it. Shit, they could even have used Arrows of Indra s their model, since everything about AoI's rules are free for use.
The fact that they didn't even bother pretty much proves that the Tekumel hardcore have no interest in
appealing to a wider audience.
I'll end by noting that I'm sure Barker himself was an amazing dude, given the scope of
what he created. I'm sure he and I could have had a lot of things to
talk about. It's a pity that his intricate and interesting setting, inspired by the very same cultural and mythological sources that inspired me to write Arrows of Indra, are being left to languish in the hands of a tiny group with no interest in, and active interests working against, bringing that work to the widest possible audience.
P.S.: A promotional note: Because of RPGNow's "Halloween Sale", you can now get Arrows of Indra on PDF for only $3.34!
Currently Smoking: Stanwell Deluxe + Image Latakia