Pancasila (politics)

Pancasila (politics)

Pancasila, (pronounced IPA2|panʧaˈsila), is the official philosophical foundation of the Indonesian state. Pancasila consists of two Sanskrit words, "panca" meaning five, and "sila" meaning principles. It comprises five principles held to be inseparable and interrelated:
# Belief in the one and only God,
# Just and civilised humanity,
# The unity of Indonesia,
# Democracy guided by the inner wisdom in the unanimity arising out of deliberations amongst representatives, and
# Social justice for the whole of the people of Indonesia


In 1945, facing the need to pull together the diverse archipelago, the future President Sukarno promulgated Pancasila as "Dasar Negara" (philosophical 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. 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.Saafroedin Bahar et al (1995), pp63-84 ] Kusuma (2004), pp150-166 ]

The Five Principles

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". It is represented by the star in the center of the shield of the Garuda Pancasila.

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. The chain at the lower right of the shield symbolizes successive generations of humanity.

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 his 1 June 1945 speech, Sukarno quoted Gandhi: I am a nationalist, but my nationalism is humanitySaafroedin Bahar et al (1995), p.65 ] The Indonesian coat of arms enshrines the symbol of "Bhinneka Tunggal Ika" which means "unity in diversity". This is represented on the shield by the banyan tree at top right.

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. The head of the wild bull at top left stands for this sila.

ocial 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. This is symbolized by the paddy and cotton ears on the shield.Department of Information, Republic of Indonesia (1999), pp46-47 ]


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 (1995), p305 ] 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.

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

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 is a original philosophy of Indonesian origin that accepts foreign influence from Islam,Hindu,Buddhist and Western thought. The first draft was formulated by Sukarno (Nationalism, Internationalism,Representative 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 Indonesia(BPUPKI), without the word "Indonesia" Kusuma (2004), p1 ] Saafroedin Bahar et al (1995), pp63-84 ] . The second draft of Pancasila was formulated in the "Jakarta Charter" by the Committee of Nine ("Panitia Sembilan") (Sukarno, Hatta, Yamin, Maramis, 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 citizens to carry out the Islamic law/Syari'ah). On August 18 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 citizens to follow Syariah", so the first sila became "Ketuhanan Yang Maha Esa"Saafroedin Bahar et al (1995), p. 301 ] .

ukarno’s philosophy

The first draft of the Pancasila philosophy was formulated by Sukarno on 1 June 1945.Saafroedin Bahar et al (1995), pp55-72 ] Sukarno 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". Actually the first "Sila" of Sukarno is "Negara Kebangsaan" ("National State"/Nationalism") which later become the third "Sila","Persatuan"; The third "Sila" of Sukarno become the fourth Sila of Jakarta Charter/Preamble of Indonesian Constitution and the fifth Sila of Sukarno become the first Sila of Jakarta Charter and the Preamble of the Constitution. (Saafrudin Bahar et al,1995 and Kusuma,2004). He finally explained that 'Keadilan sosial' was inspired by Javanese concept of "Ratu Adil" (The Just Lord), a messianic Javanese ruler who would set the people free from all kind of oppression.

uharto’s philosophy

In Suharto’s hands, the 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 Suharto through his "Culture and Education Department" (Depdikbud) in order to find out indigenous legacy (adat) which accords with Pancasila’s five basic teachings. ‘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 Suharto to unite Indonesian people. Among the Pancasila philosophers sponsored by Suharto are Sunoto and R. Parmono. They both are also known as the pioneers of Indonesian philosophy studies.Without any slightest doubt, Suharto'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.Fact|date=September 2008


Principle 1 in particular has been criticizedWho|date=September 2008 as denying the rights of believers in polytheistic religions which are practiced by a significant minority of Indonesians. On the other hand this principle also guarantees that the concept of God in Hinduism and Buddhism is equal to the concept of God in the Islam and the Christendom. It is also criticized by the small, still-existing minority of atheists, secular communists and socialists in Indonesia, which feel that their rights on what to believe in is being violated. The 1st principle of the Pancasila can also be seen to be against the UUD 1945, in which it is said that the people have the right to believe in what they wish to believe in.

In contrast, some conservative Muslims have criticized 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 the latest anti-Pancasila manifestation. JI's precursor was the Darul Islam movement [International Crisis Group (2005) "RECYCLING MILITANTS IN INDONESIA:DARUL ISLAM AND THE AUSTRALIAN EMBASSY BOMBING",Asia Report N°92] which in 1948 challenged the new secularist republic through civil war that claimed some 27,000 lives. [Paul, Anthony, "Enduring the Other's Other", "The Straits Times", 2003-12-04]

ee also

* Coat of arms of Indonesia


* 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 Asian 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


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