Pancasila (politics)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A depiction of the Garuda Pancasila on a c. 1987 poster; each tenet of the Pancasila is written besides its symbol.

Pancasila (pantʃaˈsila) is the official, foundational philosophical theory of the Indonesian state.[1] Pancasila comprises two Old Javanese words originally derived from Sanskrit: "pañca" ("five") and "sīla" ("principles"). Thus it is composed of five principles and contends that they are inseparable and interrelated:

  1. A divinity that is an ultimate unity (in Indonesian "Ketuhanan Yang Maha Esa"),
  2. A just and civilized humanity (in Indonesian "Kemanusiaan Yang Adil dan Beradab"),
  3. The national unity of Indonesia (in Indonesian "Persatuan Indonesia"),
  4. Democracy predicated on the inherent wisdom of unanimity arising from deliberation among popular representatives (in Indonesian "Kerakyatan Yang Dipimpin oleh Hikmat Kebijaksanaan, Dalam Permusyawaratan Perwakilan"), and
  5. Social justice for all Indonesian people (in Indonesian "Keadilan Sosial bagi seluruh Rakyat Indonesia").


First Iteration of Sukarno

Five Pancasila symbols on Indonesian stamps (1965)

Desirous of uniting the diverse archipelago of Indonesia into one state in 1945, the future President Sukarno promulgated Pancasila as the foundational philosophical theory of the new Indonesian state (in Indonesian ""Dasar Negara""). His political philosophy was fundamentally an amalgamation of elements of monotheism, nationalism, and socialism. Sukarno consistently stated that Pancasila was a philosophy of Indonesian indigenous origin that he developed under the inspiration of Indonesian historical philosophical traditions, including indigenous Indonesian, Indian Hindu, Western Christian, and Arab Islamic traditions. "Ketuhanan" to him was originally indigenous, while "Kemanusiaan" was derived from the Hindu concept of "Tat Twam Asi", the Islamic concept of "fardhukifayah", and the Christian concept of neighborly love. Sukarno further explained that "Keadilan sosial", i. e. social justice, was derived from the Javanese concept of "Ratu Adil", i. e., the Just Leader, being a messianic Javanese ruler who would liberate that people from all kinds of oppression. Pancasila was intended to resolve contrasting Indonesian Muslim, nationalist, and Christian priorities.

The iteration of Pancasila that Sukarno presented on 1 June 1945 to the Investigating Committee for Preparatory Work for Independence (Badan Penyelidik Usaha Persiapan Kemerdekaan (BPUPK)) in a speech titled "The Birth of the Pancasila"[2] originally defined the Pancasila thus:[3]

  1. Kebangsaan Indonesia: Indonesian Nationalism,
  2. Internasionalisme: Internationalism emphasizing justice and the virtue of humanity,
  3. Musyawarah Mufakat: Deliberative Consensus emphasizing a form of representative democracy in which ethnic dominance is absent and each member of the council possesses equal voting power,
  4. Kesejahteraan Sosial: Social Welfare premised on the theory of the welfare state and emphasizing popular socialism, and
  5. Ketuhanan yang Maha Esa: A Divinity that is an ultimate unity" (A formulation that can be seen as implying both monotheism or pantheism, thereby allowing space for all of Indonesia's major religions).

Second Iteration of the Founding Fathers

Sukarno gave the first iteration of the Pancasila in his speech of 1 June 1945 to the Investigating Committee for Preparatory Work for Independence (BPUPK), and omitted the word "Indonesia".[4][5] The Committee of Nine (Panitia Sembilan), composed of Sukarno, Mohammad Hatta, Mohammad Yamin, Alexander Andries Maramis, Ahmad Subardjo, Ki Hadikusumo, Wachid Hasyim, Agus Salim, and Abikusno, formulated the second iteration of the Pancasila for the Jakarta Charter and the Preamble of the Constitution of Indonesia of 1945[6] by reordering their original enumeration by Sukarno thus: the fifth sila of monotheism and religiosity was promoted as the first sila; the second sila remained, the original first sila was re-numbered as the third sila, and the original third and fourth sila were re-numbered as the fourth and fifth sila.[citation needed] Sukarno accepted this proposition of the other members. Further, the first sila of the Jakarta Charter and the Preamble of the Constitution of Indonesia of 1945, being the first of the original sila of Sukarno, was amended to read "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 BPUPK amended it further by deleting "with the obligation for its Muslim adherents to carry out the Islamic law/Syari'ah" and therefore left the first sila as simply "Ketuhanan Yang Maha Esa".[7]

The Constitution of Indonesia of 1945 defined the Pancasila as the fundamental principles of the independent Indonesian state.[4][8]

Interpretation by the New Order Administration

Pancasila democracy endeavors to strike a balance between the interests of the individual and those of society. It seeks to prevent the oppression of the weak by the strong, whether by economic or political means. Therefore, we hold that Pancasila is a socio-religious society. Briefly its major characteristics are its rejection of poverty, backwardness, conflicts, exploitation, capitalism, feudalism, dictatorship, colonialism[,] and imperialism. This is the policy I have chosen with confidence.

— Suharto


The New Order administration of Suharto, the second President of Indonesia, strongly supported the Pancasila. His government promoted them as a sacrosanct national ideology that represented the ancient wisdom of the Indonesian people pre-dating the introduction of foreign religions such as Hinduism and Islam. In a July 1982 speech which reflected his affiliation with Javanese beliefs, Suharto glorified the Pancasila as a key to reach the perfect life ("ilmu kasampurnaning hurip") of harmony with God and fellow men.[10]

After initially being careful not to offend the sensitivities of Muslim scholars who feared that the Pancasila might develop into a quasi religious cult, Suharto secured a parliamentary resolution in 1983, Tap MPR No. 11/1983, that obligated all organizations in Indonesia to adhere to the Pancasila. He also instituted a mandatory program to indoctrinate all Indonesians, from primary school students to office workers, in the Pancasila, which program was denominated "Penataran P4". In practice, however, the administration of Suharto exploited the vagueness of the Pancasila to justify its acts and to condemn opponents as "anti-Pancasila".[10]

Political Islam under Suharto

Under Suharto political Islamists were suppressed, and religious Muslims carefully watched by the Indonesian government. Several Christian Generals who served under Suharto like Leonardus Benjamin Moerdani actively persecuted religious Muslims in the Indonesian military, which was described as being "anti-Islamic", denying religious Muslims promotions, and preventing them from praying in the barracks and banning them from even using the Islamic greeting "Salaam Aleikum", and these anti-Islamic polices were entirely supported by Suharto, despite Suharto being a Muslim himself, since he considered political Islam a threat to his power.[11] The Christian General Theo Syafei, who also served under Suharto, spoke out against political Islam coming to power in Indonesia, and insulted the Qur'an and Islam in remarks which were described as Islamophobic.[12][13][14]


The formulation of Pancasila took place in the mid-20th century near the end of the Second World War. Thus, the ideology reflects the socio-political condition of the late colonial period in Indonesia and the ensuing great war. Its concept derived and synthesized from the ideas and ideals of Indonesia's founding fathers, most prominently Sukarno's. The historical period that influenced Indonesia's founding fathers, was the socio-political conditions of Dutch East Indies in the early 20th century all the way to the outbreak of the Second World War.

By the first half of 20th century, some ideologies had been established or made their way into Dutch East Indies includes; imperialism and its antithesis anti-colonial nationalism, traditional Javanese statecraft, Islamism, democracy, socialism and communism. Proponents of these ideologies had formed political organization or party to forward their cause. Islamist Sarekat Islam was established in 1905 followed by Masyumi in 1943. Communist Party was established in 1914, while Sukarno's nationalist Indonesian National Party was established in 1927. Favouring one ideology over another would not satisfy the whole components of Indonesian people, thus it was decided that the new republic need to compose a new ideology derived from indigenous Indonesian values as well as common shared values derived from various ideologies.[15]

Pluralism and inclusiveness

Indonesia is a multicultural nation, a diverse country composed of numbers of ethnic groups with different languages, culture, religions and way of life. The founding fathers has decided that the state ideology should encompass and shelter the whole spectrum of Indonesian society, in which consensus for common good must be strived to achieve and justice is served and satisfied. As the result, Pancasila is often viewed as a form pluralism and moderation, a potpourri of different ideologies, ranged from the socialist, nationalist to religiousity.

Some compromises were made during the formation of Pancasila to satisfy elements of Indonesian society. For example, despite its overwhelming Muslim population, Indonesia did not adopt political Islam nor proclaim Islam as its official religion. Other than Islam, Indonesia also recognizes several world religions: Christianity (Catholicism and Protestanism), Hinduism and Buddhism, with Confucianism added early in the 21st century. The adoption of Bahasa Indonesia instead of Javanese as the national language had practical value as a lingua franca and reduced concerns about favouring the Javanese majority. [16]

Pancasila is believed being influenced and has borrowed some aspects of world's values and ideologies, including nationalism, humanity, democracy, socialism and religiosity. The sila or principles reflect this influence, which argues that religiosity, humanity, unity, democracy and social justice as the shared values among Indonesians.[15] The need to unify this diverse country also has led to the formulation of national motto Bhinneka Tunggal Ika, which can be translated as unity in diversity. It declares the essential unity of its members despite ethnic, regional, social or religious differences.[17]

Moderation and toleration

In 1945, during the formation of Pancasila, there was much debate between nationalists who called for a pluralistic state and Islamists who wanted a religious state ruled by Islamic law or sharia. The nation's founders chose religious tolerance.[18] Pancasila encourage its proponent to practice moderation and toleration, thus radicalism and extremism are discouraged. In order to live harmoniously in a plural society, one's membership to a religious, ethnic or social group does not mean that they could dominate, discriminate or being prejudice in their relations with other groups.[18]


In general

Since inception, the Pancasila have been the subject of debate and discourse. Philosophers[who?] have continually reinterpreted them such that their denotations have morphed over time. Adherents of both sides of the political spectrum have criticized the Pancasila. Left wing proponents criticize the Pancasila as too right wing due to being too religious and not sufficiently supportive of social justice. Right wing proponents, especially religious groups, criticize the Pancasila as being too secular and inclusive, and thus undermining the uniqueness, superiority, and importance of their religious beliefs.[citation needed]

Some[who?] identify and argue that the primary cause of political competition in Indonesia is contested between Islam and secularism.[19] In national level, the idea of adopting sharia law as governing law has been rejected. However, in regional level, Indonesia's Islamists have succeeded in imposing sharia in some districts and municipalities.[18] The notable example is the sharia law of autonomous Aceh province, and some Sharia-derived bylaws adopted in municipalities in Sumatra and Java.


Some sentences in the Pancasila and the Indonesian Constitution herald freedom, human rights, liberty, and social justice. However, various limitations of them are also expressed, which some contend are contradictions of them, e. g., some argue that the first sila contradicts the principle of art and liberty of expression. Another example is religious freedom: Article 29 of the Constitution of 1945 on religious freedom states:[citation needed]

Chapter XI. Religion
Article 29

  1. The State shall be based upon the belief in the One and Only God.
  2. The State guarantees all persons the freedom of worship, each according to his/her own religion or belief.[20]

These provisions appear[original research?] to be contradictions because the first excludes freedom of polytheistic worship. However, the two sentences can be legally read to be harmonious, the first sentence being qualified by the second. The term "protected religion" has come into use in order to accommodate the historical fact that temples have existed for Sikhs and Jews in the Pancasila era, even though those two religions are not among the five (more recently six) religions that are acknowledged officially. For example:

Although the current Population Administration Law gives citizens the choice of whether or not to declare their religious faith on their ID cards, those who wish to declare a faith still must choose from a list of only six protected religions. Individuals who do not declare a religion risk being labeled “godless” by some Muslim clerics and officials and subject to possible blasphemy prosecution. [21]

Favoring religiosity and monotheism

The sentences of the first principle are also criticized: "Ketuhanan yang Maha Esa", i. e., "Belief in One Supreme God" instantiates a national preference for monotheism, or at least henotheism (Hindus are permitted to add lesser gods). It was feared that this staunch adherence to monotheism would cause discrimination.[22] During the negotiations of this principle the Indonesian nationalists contended that the formulation should be one of religious freedom. The Muslims wanted a formulation defining the religion of Indonesia as Islam.[citation needed] A historical anachronism is found in the Constitution: On 18 August 1945, its ratifiers unanimously concluded that the Indonesian word "Tuhan" ("God") would replace the Arabic word "Allah" ("God"), the Indonesian word being a more general word, and receiving the support of the Hindus.[23] "Ketuhanan" and "Allah" are both used in the preamble of the Constitution, but "Allah" also appears in Article 9, which specifies the words of the presidential oath of office. However, an alternative presidential "promise" that omits reference to God is permitted in the same article.

This first sila is also problematic for Buddhism, Confucianism, and Hinduism.[original research?] Although Buddhism and Hinduism are considered classical religions in Indonesian history, adherence to the One and only God does not accurately describe the belief of these dharmic religions. It is sometimes considered more accurate to describe Hinduism as polytheistic, believing in hyangs and deities to be revered. It is practiced by a significant minority of Indonesians. While Buddhism recognizes the existence of deities, it does not emphasize spiritually pursuing them or worshiping God, but rather deliverance from the samsara cycle to achieve nirvana. As a result, Indonesian Hindus and Buddhists struggle to find a quasi monotheistic concept in their religions, which resulted in the national adoption of the concepts of Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa and Adi-Buddha as their versions of the supreme God.

The International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) has criticized the first sila because it does not define a right to atheism, i. e., a rejection of theistic belief, and enables a culture of repression against atheists. The IHEU argued that as long as Indonesian law only recognized the monotheistic religions of Buddhism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Protestantism, and the Roman Catholic Church, persons who did not identify with any of them, including atheists, would "continue to experience official discrimination."[24]

Non-Recognition of minority and indigenous religions

The limitation to only six recognised religions is also criticized[by whom?] for not protecting the rights of minority religions, indigenous beliefs and other polytheistic religions. Because Indonesian law only recognizes these six religions, other beliefs are not recognized and protected. For example, there are small numbers of Jews and Sikhs since the Dutch East Indies era, but their rights are not officially recognized and protected. The problems in the Middle East between Israel and Arab states, especially Palestine, for example, also spilled into Indonesia, leading to Muslim antipathy against Judaism, despite Judaism clear monotheism stance is in par with Christianity and Islam. These problems have pushed Jewish minority in Indonesia to hide their faith and identity. In 2013, the last synagogue of Java in Surabaya was demolished in a real estate transaction, even though the government recognized it as a historic landmark.[25] Nevertheless, in other parts of Indonesia, such as North Sulawesi, Judaism is openly practised.[26]

The State also does not recognize native indigenous religions. Most indigenous native Indonesian beliefs could be categorized as animism and ancestral worship.[original research?] Examples of Indonesian native religions 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 forms of ancestral worship in Kalimantan, Sulawesi, and Papua. As a result, the adherents of native religions are often compelled to convert to or identify as members of one of the six officially recognized religions. Those of Kaharingan belief, for example, identify as Hindus, although their religion is profoundly different from the Hinduism practiced in Bali. The policy clearly promotes monotheistic religions and has enabled widespread and organized proselytising and conversion of rural indigenous peoples from their native ancestral religions. Most notably these conversions are to Christianity and Islam.

Undue secularism

Traditional Muslims have criticized the Pancasila as too secular and inclusive, diluting the uniqueness of Islam by subjugating the Qur'an to arbitrary precepts. In their view, it is merely a human-created ideology, thus inherently inferior to sharia law, which in Islam is regarded as Divine law. The more radical believers aspire to replace Pancasila with sharia law and the republican government with the Islamic Caliphate, as stated explicitly by mass organizations such as Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia.[27] For this reason, Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Wiranto announced in May 2017 that the government had decided to ban Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI).[28]

The secular and tolerant aspects of Pancasila have been opposed by extremists from the outset of Indonesia's existence as an independent nation. In 1948, the Darul Islam movement challenged the new secular republic in a civil war that claimed circa 27,000 casualties.[29] The Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) terror group is a more recent manifestation of emnity to the Pancasila.

See also


  1. ^ "Pancasila Plan to Affect Foreigners". The Jakarta Globe. Retrieved 22 September 2013. 
  2. ^ Saafroedin Bahar et al. (1995), pp. 55-72.
  3. ^ Smith, Roger M. (editory) (1974). Southeast Asia: Documents of Political Development and Change. Ithaca and London. pp. 174–83. 
  4. ^ a b Saafroedin Bahar et al. (1995), pp. 63-84.
  5. ^ Kusuma (2004), p. 1.
  6. ^ Saafrudin Bahar et al., 1995 and Kusuma, 2004.
  7. ^ Saafroedin Bahar et al. (1995), p. 301.
  8. ^ Kusuma (2004), pp. 150-66.
  9. ^ Suharto to G. Dwipayana and Ramadhan K. H., in Soeharto: My Thoughts, Words[,] and Deeds: An Autobiography, p. 194.
  10. ^ a b Ken Ward. "'2 Soeharto’s Javanese Pancasila' in Soeharto’s New Order and Its Legacy: Essays in Honour of Harold Crouch, edited by Edward Aspinall and Greg Fealy | ANUE Press". Retrieved 22 September 2013. (Harold Crouch) 
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ a b Nanda Prasandi (25 September 2014). "Keunggulan Ideologi Pancasila". Kompasiana. 
  16. ^ "The Invention of ‘Lingua Franca’, Language and Indonesian Nationalist Movement". Bahasa Kita. May 11, 2012. 
  17. ^ "Bhineka Tunggal Ika". Bahasa Kita. January 29, 2011. 
  18. ^ a b c Jayshree Bajoria (7 July 2011). "Indonesia's view of tolerance is a blueprint for others". The National. 
  19. ^ "Islamic Ideas versus Secularism: The Core of Political Competition in Indonesia". Bina Nusantara University. 
  20. ^ [1] Archived 9 June 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  21. ^ Phelim Kine (26 November 2014). "Indonesia’s growing religious intolerance". 
  22. ^ Robbi Irfani Maqoma. "Kritik Frasa ‘Yang Maha Esa’ Sila Pertama Pancasila untuk Menuju Negeri Tanpa Diskriminasi" (in Indonesian). Tempo Institute. Retrieved 24 May 2014. 
  23. ^ Saafroedin Bahar et al. (1995), p. 305.
  24. ^ "Pancasila Blasted for Repression of Atheists". The Jakarta Globe. 11 December 2012. Retrieved 24 May 2014. 
  25. ^ "Java's Last Synagogue Torn Down". Jakarta Globe. Retrieved 11 July 2014. 
  26. ^ Norimitsu Onishi (22 November 2010). "In Sliver of Indonesia, Public Embrace of Judaism". New York Times. Retrieved 11 July 2014. 
  27. ^ "Islam, Sekulerisme dan Indonesia". Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (in Indonesian). 17 June 2011. 
  28. ^ Erlangga Pratama (18 May 2017). "Supporting Government's Decision To Ban HTI". 
  29. ^ Anthony Paul, "Enduring the Other's Other", The Straits Times, 4 December 2003.


  • Department of Information, Republic of Indonesia (1999), Indonesia 1999: An Official Handbook (No ISBN)
  • Saafroedin Bahar et al. (eds) (1995), Risalah Sidang Badan Penyelidik Usaha-usaha Persiapan Kemerdekaan Indonesia (BPUPKI) Panitia Persiapan Kemerdekaan Indonesia (PPKI), Sekretariat Negara Republik Indonesia, ISBN 979-8300-00-9
  • Riklefs (1982), A History of Modern Indonesia, Macmillan Southeast Asia, reprint, ISBN 0-333-24380-3
  • RMAB Kusuma (2004), "Lahirnya Undang Undang Dasar 1945", Badan Penerbit Fakultas Hukum Universitas Indonesia, ISBN 979-8972-28-7
  • Sukarno, Lahirnya Pancasila ("The Birth of Pancasila"), Guntur, Yogyakarta, 1949 and Laboratorium Studi Sosial Politik Indonesia, 1997

External links

  • Indonesia - Pancasila, at countrystudies
  • Indonesia - The Pancasila, at countrystudies
  • Notes on Pancasila
Retrieved from ""
This content was retrieved from Wikipedia :
This page is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia article "Pancasila (politics)"; it is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA). You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the CC-BY-SA