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?


NuMu said...

:) Believe it or not, in my First Year (BSc) in Fergusson college, one of our Electronics professors (he might have been a vice-principal) forced the entire class to pay Rs 50 (or 100) to a student who had had their calculator stolen from a lab.
Apparently Mr. Satyapal Singh is not the first one to have misguided notions of "collective responsibility"!

vbalki said...

Hilarious. But I can't agree that the top cop's inane brainwave qualifies either as an "original idea" or as a
"fresh approach"! Don't we all remember the 100-to-1 reprisal policy of the Nazis in the occupied territories, or very similar penalties exacted from the general populace by innumerable invaders, occupiers, warring parties and the like, whenever these were "provoked" by any whiff of resistance?

Neelima said...

Naxals do this identical thing to the villagers! The poor things get `collective responsibility' from both ends. Maybe you can extend your analogies.

AmOK said...

It's taught in your schools. Detention for the whole class when no one will identify the troublemaker.