Moving Towards South Asian Confederation
Ideal of Human Unity - Chapters

Chapter XXIII Part V

Forms of Government

The Rise of the Republican Tendency

The rise of the republican idea reigned over the monarchical idea but the latter remained in the mind-space of the collectivity. The question at the end of World War I was whether the monarchical symbol could be retained as a ‘convenient symbol’ for the unity of heterogeneous conglomerates which were so long comfortable with the monarchical identity. However except in England where the monarchical idea has been rather ‘innocuous’ and sustained by some ‘general feeling’, hitherto traditional monarchies which became republics were able to shrug off the vestiges of the ‘empire’ tag. France and Russia had already dispensed with that tag and Austria was to follow suit. The British Empire remained the most powerful monarchical state in the aftermath of World War I raising hopes that even if it were to ‘become the nucleus or the pattern of the future unification, there might be some chance of the monarchical element surviving in the figure - and even an empty figure is sometimes useful and centre for future potentialities to grow and fill with life’ (The Ideal of Human Unity, pg 470). However the very strong republican sentiment of USA and the increasing speed with which the republican idea had started to spread negated the possibility of a nominal kingship to be acceptable in the general unification of mankind.

The question is that if psychoanalysis permits the resurgence of repressed materials in the individual, can it be vouchsafed that the repressed idea of monarchy will not surface again in the heterogeneity? However the repressed elements in the individual do not surface in the old way but take new forms. The monarchical idea would also need a new form to resurface in a world where the republic idea reigns. Sri Aurobindo opines that it would be ‘some new form of a democratic kingship’ and hastens to add that ‘a democratic kingship, as opposed to a passive figure of monarchy, the modern world has not succeeded in evolving’ (Ibid). The emperors of UK and Japan are passive monarchs but it is difficult to find a single democratic kingship throughout history. The only democratic kingship adored in the world is in the fiefdom of Jesus Christ in the devotional space of Christians. Does that strike a chord somewhere that a spiritual element can one day become a nucleus of a broader human unity?

Date of Update: 24-Mar-16

- By Dr. Soumitra Basu