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Peace Notes | Class 11 Political Science

The chapter talks about societal friendship and harmony, and all the factors that trigger violence and disturbs peace. The chapter introduces the students to the various forms of violence and analyses all the approaches in the pursuit of peace. We also highlight various contemporary challenges.


Introduction To Peace

The concept of societal friendship and harmony in the absence of hostility and violence is called Peace. In a social sense, peace is commonly used to mean a lack of conflict (such as war) and freedom from fear of violence between individuals or groups.

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

There are times when peace is praised today but that is not merely because people believe in it, but because humanity has paid a huge cost for its absence.

Example: 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. Many other instances like when Germany Carpet bombed London during the Second World War and the nuclear attack on the cities of Hiroshima & Nagasaki by the USA.

How was Friedrich Nietzsche’s description of peace different?

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 civilization.

Structural Violence

Caste System

The traditional caste system in India treated certain groups as aspirin or untouchable. Earlier, the Indian constitution outlawed the practice of untouchability and this caste system.

The Ground reality is that the country is still struggling to erase the scars and relics of this ugly custom. 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. But it has not disappeared completely.

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. Communalism may be seen as the South Asian counterpart of racism where the victims tend to be minority religious groups.

Eliminating Violence

According to UNESCO's constitution, "wars begin in men's minds, and it is in men's minds that the defences of peace must be built." Psychoanalysis and meditation, for example, are modern healing techniques and therapies that can be extremely beneficial. The violence is not solely rooted in the individual's psyche; it also has roots in certain social structures.

The creation of a just and democratic society is required to eliminate structural violence.

Peace is a process that involves actively pursuing the moral and material resources necessary to establish human welfare in the broadest sense of the term.

How come violence is considered the promoter of peace?

It has frequently been asserted that, while violence is evil, it can sometimes be a necessary prelude to achieving peace. It could be argued that the only way to stop tyrants and oppressors from harming the people is to remove them forcibly. Pacifists, who believe that peace is the most important value, take a moral stand against the use of violence, even for just ends.

They do, however, advocate mobilising love and truth to win the oppressors' hearts and minds. This isn't to say that a militant but nonviolent form of resistance can't be effective.

Example: Civil disobedience is a common mode of struggle, and it has been successfully used to break down oppressive structures; Gandhi's use of satyagraha during the Indian Freedom Movement is a prime example.

Martin Luther King fought anti-Black racial discrimination in the United States in the 1960s.

Peace and the State

The division of the world into separate sovereign states is frequently argued to obstruct the pursuit of peace. Because each state views itself as a self-contained and supreme entity, it is compelled to safeguard its own perceived self-interest.

While the state was supposed to use its force, such as the army or the police, to protect its citizens, in practice, these forces could be used to suppress dissent among its own citizens.

Making the state more accountable through meaningful democratisation and reining it in through an effective civil liberties system are the long-term solutions to such problems. As a result, the fight for democracy and human rights is inextricably linked to the preservation of peace.

Different Approaches to the 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 grants the deep-rooted nature of interstate 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

Despite a number of notable achievements, it has not been successful in preventing and eliminating threats to peace. Instead, dominant states have asserted their sovereignty and sought to shape regional power structures as well as the international system as a whole to suit their own perceptions and priorities.

Terrorism is on the rise in part as a result of aggressive states' self-serving and ham-handed behaviour. The international community has failed to stop the domineering powers' rapacity and terrorists' guerrilla tactics. It has also frequently acted as a silent witness to genocide, which is the systematic killing of a large group of people.

The disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991 brought an end to the era of superpower military (especially nuclear) rivalry and removed a major threat to international security.


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