Proportion of Hereditary MPs in the Lok Sabha, by Age. Source: Patrick French

To work in a certain part of the Indian government, there's one clear prerequisite. British historian Patrick French found that 100% of the members of the Indian Lok Sabha (lower Parliament) below the age of 30 have significant family ties to Indian politics, as do 65% of MPs (members of Parliament) ages 31-40. Overall, hereditary MPs constitute 37.5% of the 545 MPs in the Lok Sabha.

Perhaps counterintuitively, this is not because they are appointed. The Lok Sabha is the only part of the federal government whose members are directly elected by Indian voters.

These findings don’t appear to be uncharacteristic of Indian politics. Out of the 60-odd years that India has been an independent state, a member of the Nehru-Gandhi family has been in charge for 40 of them. Rahul Gandhi, a general secretary in the Congress party, told the New York Times:

“My father was in politics. My grandmother and great-grandfather were in politics. So, it was easy for me to enter politics. This is a problem. I am a symptom of this problem.”

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