Fibonacci travels to Mumbai

The Mumbai Sequence is also about ideological reproduction and alliance multiplications.

Published: 03rd September 2023 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd September 2023 09:16 PM   |  A+A-

Congress symbol, congress logo, congress flag, congress

Congress party office used for representational purpose only. (Photo| PTI)

Sometime in the 13th century lived an Italian mathematician named Leonardo Bonacci who found fame with rabbits. Obsessed by the patterns and repetitions in Nature, for some reason, he chose rabbit sex to figure out natural growth. The end result was the seminal Fibonacci sequence, a mathematical marvel with which geniuses try to crack the universe code. It goes something like this. Imagine a pair of rabbits. Mother rabbit gives birth to a pair of baby rabbits—one male, one female. Now there are two pairs. The little rabbits can’t breed, so the parent rabbits will breed again.

There are now three pairs. In the next generation, the third little pair won’t breed, but the two others from the previous generations will procreate, adding two more pairs, making a total of five pairs. There will follow eight, 13, 21 pairs, and so on, until an outside force breaks the chain. In the Fibonacci sequence, the number of newborn pairs magically equals the total number of pairs from two generations before. The unknown factor: what if in one generation both bunnies are boys? If Fibonacci was around—he was also called Leonardo Bigollo Pisano or ‘Leonardo the Traveller from Pisa’—he would have immediately saddled up his Medieval Age horse and gone to Mumbai where the Opposition rabbit sequence is in yet another breeding phase. The warren, cleverly christened I.N.D.I.A, aka the original Congress rabbit, is having a Watership Down moment of adherents, predators, traps and some homecoming.

The Mumbai Sequence is also about ideological reproduction and alliance multiplications. There is, however, no way AAP rabbit will breed with the Congress cuniculus, although they have shared the Delhi Ordinance carrot. Mamata Banerjee and the Congress are funny bunnies, cosying up according to convenience. Lalu Prasad is a con of a coney, and his son’s ambition is to taste the national protein shake his papa once drank. Nitish Kumar is so used to running with the hare and hunting with the hounds that he can’t decide whether he is a jackrabbit or a jack of all trades and master of one, which is himself. The Dravidian parties and the Left eat, shoot and leave; they have done so often in past coalition governments. That leaves the top rabbit, the Congress chinchilla. Such rabbit conclaves are really tussles to claim the warren in Race Course Road, yielding no joy because most rabbits don’t like the idea of Rahul Gandhi, all grown up with beard and all, leading the tribe. The calculations of Opposition unity is about numbers that interbreed, not multiply healthily.

The Fibonacci sequence hides a mysterious secret called the Golden Ratio, which comes closest to the perfect proportion of all things. For example, the golden ratio in art describes the ideal size of a canvas. The golden ratio of the most beautiful female face is roughly 1.62. The Opposition is yet to find its golden ratio to outshine its arch-nemesis Narendra Modi who leads in all opinion polls. Fibonacci’s influential tome Liber Abaci expounds how Indian mathematicians leveraged 1 to 9 by placing zero in various combinations and positions—sorry secularists, it was Indians, not Arabs, who invented zero—to calculate numbers based on the  position of each digit. So far, the Congress is playing a zero-sum game. Whether the Opposition’s number is up will be apparent only at the last rabbit conclave before the 2024 elections. The countdown has already begun. Zero will have the last laugh.

Ravi Shankar

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