There is a saying in Bengali ~ mayer cheye mashir darad beshi. It means that “a maternal aunt loves a child more than its mother”. Needless to say that it is a sarcastic comment. There is no doubt though that a lady can really love a child of her own sister. But the point here is that generally her love for the child cannot be more than its mother. A good doctor can prescribe good medicines for a patient. But it is the patient who should ultimately take the decision whether she or he must take them or opt for a second opinion. If the patient happens to be a little child then its parents should determine the same and not by even as close a relative as that of its mother’s sister.
This underscores the importance of self determination. It is wrong to assume that higher castes can solve Dalits’ problems or men can solve women’s problems because no such problem can be solved without self-determination. Indeed, self-determination is central to democracy. When we see some defects in a democratic system, we sometimes say that we need a good dictator to solve our problems. However, a dictator can eventually turn out to be bad one. But more importantly, even a good dictator cannot be good enough to satisfy the demand for self-determination of the people. As a matter of fact, even a government for the people fails to get the benchmark of a democratic government until and unless it also becomes a government of the people and by the people. This is the reason why humanity is still fighting for democracy or for more democracy in spite of its defects. And this was the main idea behind our struggle for independence against the British raj. It was for Swaraj ~ Self Rule ~ Self Determination. It is true that some men fought for the cause of women and are still fighting for the same. Also, some higher castes are championing the cause of Dalits. But those good Samaritans cannot liberate their counterparts so long as the self-determination of the latter is not guaranteed. Swami Vivekananda had categorically explained why such power sharing was essential.
He said, ~ “Liberty is the first condition of growth. It is wrong, a thousand times wrong, if any of you dares to say, “I will work out the salvation of this woman or child.” I am asked again and again, what I think of the widow problem and what I think of the woman question. Let me answer once for all – am I a widow that you ask me that nonsense? Am I a woman that you ask me that question again and again? Who are you to solve women’s problems? Are you the Lord God that you should rule over every widow and every woman? Hands off! They will solve their own problems.” Indeed, Lincoln gave his life for the freedom of black people in the United States of America. But it required blacks like Martin Luther King, Junior to distribute the fruits of liberty among themselves. So, to solve the prolems of Dalits and women, first of all their proportional representation in government must be ensured.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating. And the proof of the existence of law against caste atrocities is in their implementations. And such implementation depends on the acting of the administration without caste bias. And the proof that an administration is without caste bias, is in the representation of marginal groups in it.