Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Predicting the Future Size of the Nehru Dynasty

A glance through Indian newspapers will tell you about corruption in the highest places - specifically within India's so-called first family of Gandhis. Those not familiar with Indian politics would be surprised to find 'Gandhi' and 'corruption' in the same sentence. The puzzle is quickly resolved once you discover that this Gandhi family thankfully does not have the Mahatma in their family tree. This is the family of Nehrus, and at some point, a surviving daughter married a relatively unknown chap bearing that hallowed last name, engineering the most profitable branding coup the world has ever seen.

It is easy to write reams about how this family has institutionalized poverty and corruption in India over the last 60 years but it suffices for the purposes of this post to note that starting a few years prior to India's political independence from the British in 1947, members of the Nehru dynasty have directly or indirectly controlled (and destroyed) the futures of several hundred million Indians. Sadly, their level of incompetence has increased every generation, and as their numbers slowly grow, it becomes important for Indians to know this: how many dynasty members will a person have to get through to reclaim power in New Delhi in the future?  Take a quick look at these time-series data in 20-year chunks:

Date            Number     Dynasty members
1924-1944:    0              No Nehru calling the shots
1944-1964:    1              Jawaharlal Nehru
1964-1984:    1              Indira Nehru Gandhi
1984-2004:    2              Rajiv Gandhi & Sonia Gandhi
2004-2014:    3              SoniaG, RahulG, & PriyankaG


2014-2024:    3              SoniaG, RahulG, & PriyankaG
2024-2044:    5              SG, RG, PG and PG's two children

The numbers below the dashed line are future predictions based on the current family count, and assuming that Priyanka's two kids today (Rahul is unmarried with no pending paternity cases) will be baptized into the family tradition of absolute power in their 20s-30s, like every generation before them.

Of course, it should not be surprising that the counts shown above are exactly the first six numbers of the Fibonacci sequence. There is another interesting case of poetic injustice in the nomenclature that is hidden here. Calling them Fibonacci numbers perpetuates an injustice to the mathematicians in India who discovered the series a long time before Fibonacci and unlike the Gandhi-Nehru mix up, this fact was well-known outside India too.

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