Pancasila (pronounced [pantʃaˈsila]) is the official philosophical foundation of the Indonesian state. Pancasila consists of two Old Javanese words (originally from Sanskrit): "pañca" meaning five, and "sīla" meaning principles. It comprises five principles held to be inseparable and interrelated:
- Belief in the one and only God (in Indonesian, Ketuhanan Yang Maha Esa).
- Just and civilised humanity (in Indonesian, Kemanusiaan Yang Adil dan Beradab).
- The unity of Indonesia (in Indonesian, Persatuan Indonesia).
- Democracy guided by the inner wisdom in the unanimity arising out of deliberations amongst representatives (in Indonesian, Kerakyatan Yang Dipimpin oleh Hikmat Kebijaksanaan, Dalam Permusyawaratan Perwakilan).
- Social justice for all of the people of Indonesia (in Indonesian, Keadilan Sosial bagi seluruh Rakyat Indonesia).
In 1945, facing the need to pull together the diverse archipelago, the future President Sukarno promulgated Pancasila as the philosophical foundation of the Indonesian state (Indonesian: "Dasar Negara"). Sukarno's political philosophy was mainly a fusion of elements of socialism, nationalism and monotheism. This is reflected in a proposition of his version of Pancasila he presented on 1 June 1945, to the Investigating Committee for the Preparation of Independence (Badan Penyelidik Usaha Persiapan Kemerdekaan Indonesia, BPUPKI), in a speech known as "The Birth of the Pancasila".:
- Kebangsaan Indonesia (Indonesian Nationality), an emphasis on nationalism
- Internasionalisme (Internationalism), an emphasis on justice and humanity
- Musyawarah Mufakat (Deliberative Consensus), an emphasis on Representative democracy which holds no ethnic dominance but an equal vote for each member of the council
- Kesejahteraan Sosial (Social Welfare), influenced by the idea of the welfare state, an emphasis on populist Socialism
- KeTuhanan yang Maha Esa, an emphasis on monotheism and religiosity
After several BPUPKI meetings, the five principles (sila) proposed by Sukarno were rearranged. The fifth sila concerning religiosity was promoted to become the first sila. Internationalism, justice and humanity remain as parts of the second sila. The previously first sila about nationalism became the third sila about Indonesian unity. The third and fourth sila about democracy and social welfare become the fourth and fifth sila.
Pancasila was thus intended to help solve the conflicting priorities among Muslims, nationalists and Christians. The 1945 Constitution of Indonesia then set forth Pancasila as the embodiment of basic principles of an independent Indonesian state.
Since its inception, Pancasila has been the subject of differences of opinion. One prime area of contention concerns the first of the five "pillars", the requirement for a belief in the all-oneness of God (Ketuhanan Yang Maha Esa). During the negotiations concerning this principle the nationalists were concerned that the formulation ought to promote religious freedom. The Muslims wanted a formulation where the religion of Indonesia is Islam.
A historical anachronism is found in the Constitution. On 18 August 1945, the group that ratified the Constitution unanimously agreed that the term "Allah" (Arabic for God) should be replaced by "Tuhan" (Indonesian for God), a more general term which was supported by the Hindus. The word 'Ketuhanan' and 'Allah' is used in the preamble to the Constitution, but the term 'Allah' appears in Article 9, which specifies the wording of the presidential oath of office. There is an alternative presidential 'promise' in the same article which does not mention God at all.
Philosophy of Pancasila
The content of the philosophy has been changeably interpreted by different philosophers. Pancasila has been an object of philosophical discourse since 1945 onwards. The Pancasila philosophers continually reinterpreted the content, so that its meaning varied from time to time. The following are chronological analyses of the content of philosophies of Pancasila.
The Founding Fathers’ philosophy
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The first draft of Pancasila was formulated by Sukarno (Nationalism, Internationalism, Representative Democracy, Social Justice and Belief in the One and Only God), delivered on 1 June 1945 before the Investigating Committee for the Preparation for Independence (BPUPK), without the word "Indonesia". The second draft of Pancasila was formulated in the Jakarta Charter by the Committee of Nine (Panitia Sembilan) (Sukarno, Muhammad Hatta, Muhammad Yamin, Alexander Andries Maramis, Ahmad Subardjo, Ki Hadikusumo, Wachid Hasyim, Agus Salim and Abikusno). Sukarno accepted the suggestion of the other members of the committee to change the "sequence" of Pancasila. The fifth Sila of Sukarno become the first Sila of the Jakarta Charter and the wording became "Ketuhanan dengan kewajiban menjalankan syariah Islam bagi pemeluk-pemeluknya" (Belief in Almighty God with the obligation for its Muslim adherents to carry out the Islamic law/Syari'ah). On 18 August 1945 the Committee for the preparation of Indonesian Independence changed the formulation of the first sentence of Pancasila by removing the words "with the obligation of its Muslims adherents to follow Syariah", so the first sila became "Ketuhanan Yang Maha Esa".
The first draft of the Pancasila philosophy was formulated by Sukarno on 1 June 1945. Sukarno always stated that Pancasila was a philosophy of Indonesian (indigenous) origin, which he developed being inspired by philosophical traditions in Indonesian history, including indigenous philosophical traditions, Indian-Hindu, Western-Christian, and Arab-Islamic traditions. 'Ketuhanan', to him, was originally indigenous, while 'Kemanusiaan' was inspired by the Hindu concept of Tat Twam Asi, the Islamic concept of fardhukifayah, and the Christian concept of neighbourly love. Sukarno further explained that 'Keadilan sosial' (social justice) was inspired by the Javanese concept of Ratu Adil (the Just Leader), a messianic Javanese ruler who would set the people free from all kinds of oppression.
In 1945, in an attempt to unite the diverse archipelago, the future President Sukarno promulgated Pancasila as "Dasar Negara" (philosophical foundation/political philosophy of Indonesian state). Sukarno's political philosophy was mainly a combination of elements of socialism, nationalism and monotheism. This is reflected in a proposition of his version of Pancasila he proposed to the Investigating Committee for the Preparation for Independence, in which he originally espoused them in a speech known as "The Birth of the Pancasila" on 1 June 1945:
- Kebangsaan Indonesia (Indonesian Nationality), an emphasis on nationalism
- Internasionalisme (Internationalism), an emphasis about justice and humanity
- Musyawarah Mufakat (Deliberative Consensus), an emphasis on representative democracy which hold no ethnic dominance but equal vote for each member of the council
- Kesejahteraan Sosial (Social Welfare), influenced by Welfare-state idea, an emphasis on populist socialism
- KeTuhanan yang Maha Esa, monotheism and religiousity
After several BPUPKI meetings, the five principles (sila) proposed by Sukarno on 1 June 1945, were rearranged for the Jakarta Charter and the Preamble of the Indonesian Constitution (Saafrudin Bahar et al.,1995 and Kusuma, 2004). The fifth sila concerning religiousity was promoted to become the first sila. The previously first sila about nationalism become the third sila. The third sila (unity) of Sukarno become the fourth sila. Internationalism, justice and humanity remain as parts of the second sila. The original third and fourth sila about democracy and social welfare become the fourth and fifth sila. Sukarno thus helped solve the conflict between Muslims, nationalists and Christians. The 1945 Constitution then set forth the Pancasila as the embodiment of basic principles of an independent Indonesian state.
Under the New Order
The New Order administration of Indonesia's second president, Suharto, was a strong supporter of Pancasila. His government promoted it as a sacrosanct national ideology which represented the ancient wisdom of Indonesian people even before the entry of foreign-based religions such as Hinduism or Islam. In a July 1982 speech which reflected his affiliation with Javanese beliefs, Suharto glorified Pancasila as a key to reach the perfect life (ilmu kasampurnaning hurip) of harmony with God and fellow mankind.
After initially being careful not to offend sensitivities of Muslim scholars who feared Pancasila might develop into a quasi-religious cult, Suharto secured a parliamentary resolution in 1983 (Tap MPR No 11/1983) which obliged all organisations in Indonesia to adhere to Pancasila as a basic principle. He also instituted a Pancasila indoctrination program (Penataran P4) that all Indonesians, from primary school students to office workers, had to regularly attend. In practice, however, the vagueness of Pancasila was exploited by Suharto's government to justify their actions and to condemn their opponents as "anti-Pancasila".
Principle 1 in particular has been criticised by International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) because it denies the rights of non-believers, also for enabling a culture of repression against atheists. The IHEU argued that as long as Indonesian law only recognised the religions of Islam, Catholicism, Protestantism, Confucianism, Buddhism and Hinduism, people who did not identify with any of them, including atheists, would "continue to experience official discrimination".
The exclusivity and limitation to only six recognised religions is also criticised for not protecting the rights of indigenous belief systems and other religions. Because Indonesian law only recognises the religions of Islam, Catholicism, Protestantism, Confucianism, Buddhism and Hinduism, other belief systems that are not registered as part of these faiths are not recognised and protected. For example, there are small numbers of Jews and Sikhs since the Dutch East Indies era, but their rights are not officially recognised and protected. The problems in the Middle East between Israel and Arab states (especially Palestine), for example, also spilled over to Indonesia, leading to Muslim antipathy against Judaism. These problems have pushed Jews in Indonesia to hide their faith and identity. In 2013, Java's last synagogue in Surabaya was torn down for a real estate deal even though the government had recognised it as a historic landmark. Nevertheless, in other parts of Indonesia, such as North Sulawesi, Judaism is openly practised.
The state also does not recognise native indigenous belief systems. Most indigenous native Indonesian beliefs could be categorised as animism as well as ancestral worship. Examples of Indonesian native belief systems are Sundanese Sunda Wiwitan, Dayak's Kaharingan and Batak's Parmalin faith, and to some extent Javanese Kejawen belief. There are also a number of indigenous deities and ancestral worship in Kalimantan, Sulawesi, and Papua. As the result, the adherents of native beliefs are often forced to convert or identify themselves as one of the six officially recognised religions. Those of Kaharingan belief, for example, identify themselves as Hindus, although their belief systems and practices are profoundly different from those of Hinduism practised in Bali. This policy is clearly in favour of established religions, and has led to the mass, active and organised practice of proselytising and conversion of rural indigenous population, from their native ancestral beliefs to, most notably, Christianity or Islam.
Another criticism is the sentences of principle 1: Ketuhanan yang Maha Esa or "Belief in One Supreme God" which suggests national preference for monotheism. It is feared that this staunch adherence to monotheism would lead to discrimination. This first principle sentence is problematic for certain religions, namely Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism. Although Buddhism and Hinduism are considered as classical religions in Indonesian history, the adherence to the one and only God is not exactly correct to describe these dharmic religions. It is sometimes considered more accurate to describe Hinduism as polytheistic with many gods, hyangs and deities to be revered, and which is practised by a significant minority of Indonesians. While Buddhism recognises the existence of divinities, it does not stress their spiritual pursuit on worshipping God, but the deliverance from the samsara cycle to achieve nirvana. As a result, Indonesian Hindus and Buddhists must struggle to find a somewhat monotheistic counterpart concept in their faith, which resulted in the national adoption of the concepts of Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa and Adi-Buddha as their version of the supreme God.
The first principle of the Pancasila is also argued by some to be in tension with the principle of art and freedom of expression. Article 29 on Religious Freedom of the Indonesian Constitution (UUD 1945), stated as:
Chapter XI. Religion
Less moderate Muslims have criticised Pancasila for being too secular and inclusive, diluting the uniqueness of Islam by placing man-made precepts at a higher level than the Qur'an. For example, the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) terror group is one of the latest anti-Pancasila manifestations. JI's precursor was the Darul Islam movement which in 1948 challenged the new secularist republic through a civil war that claimed some 27,000 lives.
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