The Mathematics of Gujarat

Now here is what you do
1. Imagine Nero with spectacles and Ahmedabad as Rome.
2. Substitute the fiddle with a blowtorch in Nero's hands
3. Now imagine Nero giving press conferences which say that he never realized that Rome was burning till it was announced officially

Well the snapshot that you see is of "Myself Narendra Modi". This is the man who fiddled while Gujarat burnt. This is the man who claimed that the state administration was trying to identify sensitive areas for the army to be deployed when every television channels had shown those areas 24 hours before.

This is the man who claimed that the reaction to Godhra was spontaneous and therefore reflected the sentiment of the people. When the truth is that electoral rolls were used for an ethnic purge.

This is man who has taken the state of Gandhi to new depths. He not only turned the other cheek he just turned the other way and like the three monkeys neither saw, heard nor spoke any evil about the tragedy.

Hobbes and I went to visit our old school the other day. Our old maths teacher was teaching addition to the kids and she asked us to look on as she went along with her class. She was explaining to the kids that one couldn't add apples and oranges. Hobbes and I grinned and figured that is because kids would eat them all up. The came the old lady's "Boy's please solve this question!" Her question was: "Ram and Rahim both died on Tuesday in Ahmedabad. The Government paid a total compensation of 3 lakhs. How much did each of their families get?"
Hobbes and I were amazed that the old lady was giving the young boys such easy questions. In our times she always set very screwy ones. The boys scribbled and scratched furiously and then the hands began to rise furiously. Suddenly we heard our names being called and the old lady declared that we would give the answer to this problem.

"One lakh fifty thousand" screamed Hobbes. "Wrong!" barked the old lady and looked at me for the correct solution. I deducted taxes and said "One lakh five thousand". She looked at me gleefully and said, "Wrong! Hobbes and you seem to have forgotten the basic lesson that I taught for all these years. You can't compare apples and oranges!"

Apples and Oranges? I worked my pea brain furiously to see where were apples and oranges in this case. There were two men who died on the same day in the same city and three lakh divided by two is a 150K. After all my years of academics and having done advanced statistics in my MBA how could I be unable to solve this question? Hobbes too could not see the catch.

This was getting embarrassing all the little ones were staring at us and waving their hands excitedly to shout out the correct answer. We figured that maybe the old lady was growing senile and her brain cells were addled. So hobbes walked up to the board and wrote statements to solve the problem.

Statement 1. Ram and Rahim's families jointly got Rs. 300,000 as compensation

Statement 2. Each of their family got 300000/2=150000

He was beaming like a Cheshire cat when he saw the old lady frowning at him. She called her star pupil and the nerd came up to the board and re-solved the problem here is what he wrote

Statement 1: Ram and Rahim's families jointly got Rs. 300,000 as compensation

Statement 2: Ram is a Hindu and Rahim is a Muslim

Statement 3: Hindu life is worth twice as much as Muslim life

Statement 4: Ram's family got 2 lakhs and Rahim's family got 1 lakh

The old lady patted him on the back and glared at us. Hobbes and I told her that she had lost her marbles and that she could stick to oranges and apples rather than use human beings in her math problems. The little kids did not like what we said and had their compasses and dividers out, ready to give us a poke so we scooted out.

Hobbes and I left the school quite confused and decided to consult the venerable Moz on this problem that I thought was as big a mystery as Fermat's last theorem. Moz heard us out and here is what he said: "Look the times have changed since you guys went to school and the old lady is just keeping up with the times. The Gujarat government recently decided on this formula of compensation and it has been in all the newspapers and TV channels. Now these government chappies have changed history that is taught in the school and the changes in mathematics are a logical extension. What I am really waiting for is when they decide to have their say in Biology!"

Hobbes and I were not satisfied and decided to ask Nero what the logic to this valuation was. We cornered Nero and asked him how could he do this and here is what he said, "Look the only people protesting are the Muslims. And that too about something so trivial like money. I must pass a law which ensures that Hindu chants are taught in all schools especially that sacredest of old Hindu chants - Sab Maya Hai."

Da Bull is MBA (that accursed breed) from IIM Calcutta, passed out in 1994 and has worked in advertising a long time since. He has recently given it all up to write.
[ First published: March 15, 2002   Last updated: March 30, 2011 ]

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