Symbol of Indonesia's Pancasila



Pancasila, is the Dasar Negara, philosophical foundation of the Indonesian state. Pancasila consists of two Sanskrit words, "panca" meaning five, and "sila" meaning principle. It comprises five principles held to be inseparable and interrelated.

The first principle: Belief in the one and only God.

The second: Just and Civilised humanity
(Internationalism, it does not mean Cosmopolitanism),

The third principle: the unity of Indonesia
(Nationalism, not Chauvinism; Sukarno quoted Gandhi: I am a nationalist,
but my nationalism is humanity),

The fourth: Democracy led by wise guidance through consultation/representation (representative democracy)
social justice for the whole Indonesian people.

In 1945, facing the need to pull together the diverse archipelago, the future President Sukarno promulgated Pancasila as "Dasar Negara" (philosofical foundation/political philosophy of Indonesian state). The ideology was announced in a speech known as "The Birth of the Pancasila", in which Sukarno gave to the Independence Preparatory Committee on 1 June 1945 (Saafroedin Bahar et al 1995:63-84; Kusuma,2004:150-166).

He 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.

The Five Principles

(1) Belief in the one and only God (Ketuhanan yang Maha Esa)
This principle reaffirms the Indonesian people’s belief that God does exist. It also implies that the Indonesian people believe in life after death. It emphasizes that the pursuit of sacred values will lead the people to a better life in the hereafter. The principle is embodied in the 1945 Constitution and reads: "The state shall be based on the belief in the one and only God".

(2) Just and civilized humanity (Kemanusiaan yang Adil dan Beradab)
This principle requires that human beings be treated with due regard to their dignity as God’s creatures. It emphasizes that the Indonesian people do not tolerate physical or spiritual oppression of human beings by their own people or by any other nation.

(3) The unity of Indonesia (Persatuan Indonesia)
This principle embodies the concept of nationalism, of love for one’s nation and motherland. It envisages the need to always foster national unity and integrity. Pancasila nationalism demands that Indonesians avoid feelings of superiority on the grounds of ethnicity, for reasons of ancestry and skin color. In 1928 Indonesian youth pledged to have one country, one nation and one language, while the Indonesian coat of arms enshrines the symbol of
"Bhinneka Tunggal Ika" which means "unity in diversity".

(4) Democracy guided by the inner wisdom in the unanimity arising out of deliberations amongst representatives

(Kerakyatan yang Dipimpin oleh Hikmat Kebijaksanaan dalam Permusyawaratan/Perwakilan)

Pancasila democracy calls for decision-making through deliberations, or musyawarah, to reach a consensus, or mufakat. It is democracy that lives up to the principles of Pancasila. This implies that democratic right must always be exercised with a deep sense of responsibility to God according to one’s own conviction and religious belief, with respect for humanitarian values of man’s dignity and integrity, and with a view to preserving and strengthening national unity and the pursuit of social justice.

(5) Social justice for the whole of the people of Indonesia

(Keadilan Sosial bagi Seluruh Rakyat Indonesia)
This principle calls for the equitable spread of welfare to the entire population, not in a static but in a dynamic and progressive way. This means that all of the country’s natural resources and the national potentials should be utilized for the greatest possible good and happiness of the people. Social justice implies protection of the weak. But protection should not deny them work. On the contrary, they should work according to their abilities and fields of activity. Protection should prevent willful treatment by the strong and ensure the rule of justice.

Since its inception, Pancasila has been in the center of differences of opinion. One prime area of contention concerned the first of the five "pillars", the belief in the all-oneness of God (ketuhanan yang mahaesa). 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 August 18 1945, the group that ratified the Constitution unanimously agreed that the term "Allah" should be replaced by "Tuhan" (God), a more general term which was supported by the Hindus (Saafroedin Bahar et al 1992:305). The word 'Tuhan' 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. Incidentally, the word 'Allah' is used in Indonesian language version of the Bible, but the pronunciation is different from that used by Indonesian Muslims.

Apparently many Muslims wanted an Islamic state where Muslims would be obliged to abide by sharia law. They therefore proposed an addition to the first principle: "…with obligation to follow sharia law for its adherents" (Jakarta Charter, 22 June 1945). This was turned down in 1945. Later this led to a deadlock in the "konstituante", the national assembly that in 1956 was elected to draft a new Constitution. In 1959 president Sukarno solved the problem by dissolving the "konstituante" and issuing the following decree: "We believe that Jakarta Charter of June 22, 1945 is the soul of the Constitution of 1945 and that it functions as a unit with this Constitution… therefore we, the President of Indonesia and Commander in Chief of the Indonesian forces, declare… that the 1945 Constitution is reinstated." Thus the Jakarta Charter has no legal status beyond its inspirational character. Indonesia's second president, Suharto, was a strong supporter of Pancasila. In his time Pancasila was made mandatory in the constitutions of social and religious organisations. Additionally, a one– or two–week course in Pancasila (P4) was made obligatory for all who wanted to take higher education.

Philosophies of Pancasila
Pancasila is a state philosophy of Indonesian Republic. 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
Pancasila was original philosophy of Indonesian origin that accepts foreign influence from Islam,Hindu,Budha and Western thought. The first draft was formulated by Sukarno alone (Nationalism, Internationalism,Representataive Democracy, Social Justice and Believe in ONe and Only God), delivered on June 1, 1945 before the Investigating Committee For the Preparation for Independence(Indonesian:Badan Penyelidik Usaha Persiapan Kemerdekaan (BPUPK), without word Indonesia (Kusuma, 2004:1). The second draft of Pancasila was formulated in "Jakarta Charter" by "Panitia Sembilan" (Sukarno, Hatta, Yamin, Maramis, Subardjo, Ki Hadikusumo. Wachid Hasyim, Agus Salim and Abikusno). Sukarno accept the suggestion of the other member of Panitia Sembilan to change the "sequence" of Pancasila. The fifth Sila of Sukarno become the first Sila of "Jakarta Charter" and the wording becomes "Ketuhanan dengan kewajiban menjalankan syariah Islam bagi pemeluk-pemeluknya" (Belief in God Almighty with the obligation for its muslim citizens to carry out the Islamic law/Syari'ah). On August 18 1945 Panitia Persiapan Kemerdekaan Indonesia (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 citizens to carry out the Syariah". And the first Sila becomes "Ketuhanan Yang Maha Esa".

Sukarno’s philosophy
The first draft of Pancasila philosophy had been formulated by Soekarno alone on June 1 st 1945. Soekarno always stated that Pancasila was original philosophy of Indonesian origin, which he found out of the philosophical tradition taking roots in Indonesian history, including indigenous philosophical tradition, Indian-Hindu, Western-Christian, and Arab-Islamic traditions. 'Ketuhanan', to him, was originally indigenous and he is true, while 'Kemanusiaan' was inspired by Hindu concept of Tat Twam Asi, Islamic concept of fardhukifayah, and Christian concept of Hebs U naasten lief gelijk U zelve, God boven alles. Soekarno never touched 'Persatuan'; he might admit silently that it was taken from Western concept of nationalism. He finally explained that 'Keadilan sosial' was inspired by Javanese concept of Ratu Adil (The Just Lord), a messianistic Javanese ruler who would set the people free from all kind of oppression. Pancasila is widely acknowledged as the brainchild of Soekarno, and has substantially contributed to the unity of the ethnically heterogeneous Indonesia.

Suharto’s philosophy
In Soeharto’s hands, philosophy of Pancasila underwent what be called ‘indigenization’. All Western elements subsumed within Pancasila since 1945 were eradicated systematically by some groups of Pancasila philosophers, sponsored by Soeharto through his Culture and Education Department (Depdikbud) in order to find out indigenous legacy (adat) which accords with Pancasila’s five basic teachings. There is no Western residues survived before those philosophers in Pancasila. ‘Ketuhanan’, ‘Kemanusiaan’, ‘Persatuan’, ‘Kerakyatan’, and ‘Keadilan Sosial’ were claimed by them as purely Indonesian notions of indigenous origin. They proved the teachings as indigenous by exploring and finding out adat legacies scattered out in provinces of Indonesia, such as adat social structure, adat literary products, adat religious teachings, and adat ethics. They succeeded enormously and their findings were used by Soeharto to unite Indonesian people. Among the Pancasila philosophers sponsored by Soeharto are Sunoto and R. Parmono. They both are also known as the pioneers of Indonesian philosophy studies. Without any slightest doubt, Soeharto's concept of Pancasila was deeply ingrained in Javanese highly feudalistic and mystical political culture, which to some extent is incompatible with the more egalitarian and pragmatic political culture of the Outer Islands.

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