Moving Towards South Asian Confederation
Ideal of Human Unity - Chapters

Chapter XXIV Part VII


Sri Aurobindo in his 1917 musings on ‘A league of Peace’ discussed how a total disarmament of the nations would characterize a World-State. He was forthright in explaining that disarmament of nations needed to be maintained by the military power and strength of a World-Body, ideally a League of Nations or a League of Peace. It was of course doubtful if such a Utopian ideal of disarmament would be successful for three main reasons:

(a) Firstly, the presence of ‘strong national egoisms’,
(b) Secondly, the inevitable ‘mutual distrust’ between governments,
(c) Thirdly, ‘distrust of the assured impartiality of the international government’ (The Ideal of Human Unity, pg 483).

However Sri Aurobindo surmised that unless human beings had changed in terms of consciousness, a global disarmament of nations in conjunction with a militarily strong international body or league could prevent human beings to enter into armed conflicts to some extent:

Yet such a disarmament would be essential to the assured cessation of war - in the absence of some great and radical psychological and moral change. If national armies exist, the possibility, even the certainty of war will exist along with them. However small they might be made in times of peace, and international authority, even with a military force of its own behind it, would be in the position of the feudal king never quite sure of his effective control over his vassals. The international authority must hold under its command the sole trained military force in the world for the policing of the nations and also - otherwise the monopoly would be ineffective – the sole disposal of the means of manufacturing arms and implements of war. National and private munition factories and arms factories must disappear. National armies must become like the old baronial armies a memory of past and dead ages. This consummation would mark definitely the creation of a World-State in place of the present international conditions. ’ (Ibid)

World-State and Force

To have a viable World-State, the international authority should have broad-based powers so as not only to be ‘the arbiter of disputes, but the source of law and the final power behind their execution’ (Ibid, pg 484). A strong and viable World-State would neither be sustained on the propagation of peace and championing of fraternity or eulogizing of ideals nor on social and economic equality or blurring of cultural boundaries but on the concentration of all force, all power in its ambit.

Force or energy or power could exist among people in a new international dispensation in two poises: it could be diffused in the populace to ‘fulfil the free workings of Nature’ or concentrated to serve the regulating authority, to become ‘the guarantee of organization and the bond of order’ (Ibid).

It is still a long way to the cherished ideal of global disarmament but Sri Aurobindo’s views of 1917 got echoed decades after United Nations General Assembly defined General and complete disarmament in 2015 as the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction coupled with the ‘balanced reduction of armed forces and conventional armaments, based on the principle of undiminished security of the parties with a view to promoting or enhancing stability at a lower military level, taking into account the need of all States to protect their security’. It is of course the issue of nuclear disarmament that preoccupies the contemporary mind-set today.


Date of Update: 26-Dec-16

- By Dr. Soumitra Basu