Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Collective responsibility

One thing I love so much about life in India is the constant upsurge of original ideas and fresh approaches to our problems. This week's creativity award goes to the Police Commissioner of Mumbai, Mr Satyapal Singh. In a thoughtful piece published in the Indian Police Journal, he has suggested that whenever a member of a village supports a left-wing extremist (Naxal/Maoist), the whole village should be held responsible. In his words:

"extremist and public movements should be regulated through the institution of collective responsibility meaning thereby that hosting the extremists by one in the village, attending the meeting of extremists, providing them food, etc., blocking the roads by felling trees should hold the entire village responsible. A collective fine for all village residents or curfew for two days may be thought of. Alternatively, the village Sarpanch, police patil and other village-elders should be punished.”

You can read a more detailed report here.

The idea is so appealing that one wonders why no one thought of it before. Like many other creative breakthroughs, it has broader applicability and can be adapted to a variety of other situations. Here are a few of my suggestions. I invite readers to suggest others.

(i) when a student cheats in an exam, the entire batch should be failed.

(ii) when a politician indulges in corruption, all politicians should be put in jail.

(iii) when an industry breaks the law, all industries should be punished. For example if Reliance does something improper (I'm not suggesting they would dream of it!) then Tatas should also pay a fine. And vice versa.

(iv) when a Bollywood actor driving an SUV runs over many people and kills them, all Bollywood actors should be punished. Or maybe all SUV drivers. Or maybe all Bollywood actors with SUV's. This one is a bit complex, really.

(v) When a policeman commits rape, the entire police force should be arrested. Or maybe just the police commissioner?