Notes of Ch 9 Peace| Class 11th Political Science


• The nineteenth century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche was one of those who glorified war. Nietzsche did not value peace because he believed that only conflict could facilitate the growth of civilisation.

• Peace has occupied a central place in the original teachings of almost all religions.

• The modern era too has witnessed ardent advocates of peace, both in the spiritual and secular domains.

• The post-war decades were marked by intense rivalry between two superpowers–the capitalist USA and the communist USSR—for world supremacy.
→ The Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962 was a particularly dark episode in this unfolding military competition.

The Meaning of Peace

• Peace is often defined as the absence of war. This is because war is usually equated with armed conflict between countries.

• The second step in defining peace would be to see it as absence of violent conflict of all kinds including war, riot, massacre, assassination, or simply physical attack.

• Social institutions and practices that reinforce entrenched inequalities of caste, class and gender, can also cause injury in subtle and invisible ways.
→ ‘Structural violence’ of this kind may produce large-scale evil consequences.

Forms of Structural Violence

Caste system

• The traditional caste system treated certain groups of people as asprishya or untouchable. This system was outlawed by the Constitution of independent India.

• However, still this system is prevalent in India.

• While a social order based on class appears to be more flexible, it too generates a great deal of inequality and oppression.


• Patriarchy entails a form of social organisation that results in the systematic subordination of, and discrimination against, women.

• Its manifestations include selective abortion of female foetuses, denial of adequate nourishment and education to the girl-child, child-marriage, wife battering, dowry-related crimes, sexual harassment
at the workplace, rape, and honour killing.

• The low child sex ratio (0-6 years) — 919 females per 1000 males — in India, as per the 2011 Census, is a poignant index of the ravages of patriarchy.

Racism and Communalism

• Colonialism in the sense of prolonged and direct subjection of a people to alien rule is now a rare phenomenon.

• Racism and communalism involve the stigmatisation and oppression of an entire racial group or community.

• Apartheid—a policy followed until 1992 by the White-controlled government in South Africa, which treated the majority Black people of the country as second-class citizens.

• Racial discrimination still continues covertly in the West and is now often directed against immigrants from countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

• A just and lasting peace can be attained only by articulating and removing the latent grievances and causes of conflict through a process of dialogue.

Eliminating Violence

• The violence does not originate merely within the individual psyche; it is also rooted in certain social structures.

• The elimination of structural violence necessitates the creation of a just and democratic society.

• Peace is not an end-state, but a process involving an active pursuit of the moral and material resources needed to establish human welfare in the broadest sense of the term.

Can Violence ever promote Peace?

• It has often been asserted that violence though it is an evil can sometimes be a necessary prelude to bringing about peace.

• It may be argued that tyrants and oppressors can be prevented from continuing to harm the populace only by being forcibly removed.

• For this reason that pacifists, who consider peace to be a supremevalue, take a moral stand against the use of violence even for attaining just ends.

• However, they advocate the mobilisation of love and truth to win the hearts and minds of the oppressors.

• This is not to underestimate the potential of militant but non-violent form of resistance.

• Civil disobedience is a major mode of such struggle which has been successfully used to make a dent in structures of oppression; a prominent instance being Gandhi’s deployment of satyagraha during the Indian Freedom Movement.

• Martin Luther King waged a similar battle in the 1960s against anti-Black racial discrimination in the USA.

Peace and the State

• It is often argued that the division of world into separate sovereign states is an impediment to the
pursuit of peace. As each state sees itself as an independent and supreme entity, it tends to protect
its own perceived self-interest.

• While the state was expected to use its force, its army or its police, to protect its citizens, in practice these forces could be deployed against its own members to suppress dissent.

• The long-term solution to such problems lies in making the state more accountable through meaningful democratisation and reining it in via an effective system of civil liberties.

• The struggle for democracy and human rights is thus closely linked to the safeguarding of peace.

Different Approaches to Pursuit of Peace
• The first approach accords centrality to states, respects their sovereignty, and treats competition among them as a fact of life. Its main concern is with the proper management of this competition, and with the containment of possible conflict through inter-state arrangements like ‘balance of power’.

• The second approach too grants the deep-rooted nature of inter-state rivalry. But it stresses the positive presence and possibilities of interdependence. It underscores the growing social and economic cooperation among nations.

• The third approach considers the state system to be a passing phase of human history. It envisages the emergence of a supra-national order and sees the fostering of a global community as the surest guarantee of peace.
→ The proponents of this approach argue that the ongoing process of globalisation is further eroding the already diminished primacy and sovereignty of the state, thereby creating conditions conducive to the establishment of world peace.

Contemporary Challenges

• While the U.N.O. has several noteworthy achievements to its credit, it has not succeeded in preventing and eliminating threats to peace. Instead, dominant states have asserted their sovereignty and sought to shape regional power structures and the international system itself in keeping with their own perceptions and priorities.

• The rise of terrorism is partly a response to the self-serving and ham-handed conduct of the aggressive states.

• The global community has failed to curb the rapacity of the domineering powers and the guerrilla tactics of the terrorists.

• The disintegration of the USSR in 1991 put a full stop to the era of military (especially nuclear) rivalry between the super powers and removed a major threat to international security.
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