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Vignesh Natarajan

Promises, stories, books, tutorials and some code


My Clean India : a virality study

The Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi, has launched a new campagin to spread awareness about cleanliness and has called it My Clean India. You can read about it here

Akin to the ALS Ice Bucket challenge which shook the world by showing how it can reach millions of people in such a short time, the Clean India challenge is all about involving yourself in cleaning a small but significant portion of your neighborhood and challenging other people, 9 of them to be precise. I thought it would be an interesting study on virality, and see how far this can reach people. So, I decided to plug in some math and see how many people it would reach as days progress.

Modi clearly understands virality and this is an excellent idea to reach and influence a lot of people. To start with he has challenged one of the Ambani brothers and many other celebrities including cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, Bollywood actors Salman Khan and Priyanka Chopra. If this trend follows the same path as the ALS Ice Bucket challenge, the math would say that this will have an enormous impact.

Applying the following formula:



  • ‘I’ is the number of first users, which in our case will be 1 as it is just Mr. Modi.

-‘C’ can be safely assumed to be a 50% conversion, meaning at least half the people will take up the challenge. This gives us a K value of 4.5

-‘t’ is number of days after the first challenge has been posted.

-‘p’ is the time taken for the people invited and accepted the challenge to complete the challenge. Let us assume a margin of 48 hours, which is 2 days.

I ended up with a table like this:

Number of days after first challenge Number of people infected
5 54.94
8 526.94
9 1118.12
10 2372.22
15 101,914.76
20 4,37,937.72
25 188,061,930.94
26 398,939,600.28
27 846,278,690.25
27.5 1,232,584,022.19

Assuming a generous sense of awareness where 50% of the people will take up the challenge, the challenge will reach more than a billion people in less than a month. Does Modi have that amount of influence? He needn’t. He just needs to influence the first set of 9 people, out of whom only 4 or 5 have to be influential over their set of 9 people. This is a reasonable assumption. If the Clean India challenge is as successful as the ALS ice bucket challenge, Modi will have made the entire nation clean their neighborhood in less than a month. Forget cleaning, even if the awareness spreads to every part of the nation, it is a grand success in the long run. Good luck, India!

PS: The forumla I used was inspired from here