Fighting for Pancasila

“This country, the Republic of Indonesia, does not belong to any group, nor to any religion, nor to any ethnic group, nor to any group with customs and traditions, but the property of all of us from Sabang to Merauke!”
~ Sukarno (1901-1970), Indonesia’s first President.

“ Learning without thinking is useless, but thinking without learning is very dangerous! ”
~ Sukarno (1901-1970), Indonesia’s first President.



June 1, 1945 is commemorated as the birth day of Pancasila. The concept of Pancasila came through Sukarno’s speech before the session of the preparatory committee for the Indonesia’s Independence on June 1, 1945. Sukarno then became the first President after the nation declared its independence on August 17, 1945.

Pancasila is held dearly in the hearts of Indonesian people not only because it is the national emblem of Indonesia, but more than that. It is the foundation, the backbone, the pillar, the strength of the nation. Pancasila runs in the blood of Indonesians, and many have spilled their blood in order to upheld the meaning behind it. I worry that this nation of Indonesia, my country, will fall if Pancasila is no longer treated as its backbone. But before I continue, allow me to describe Pancasila further for those who are unfamiliar with it.

As shown in the picture, Pancasila is depicted as a Garuda bird. In the ancient mythology of Indonesian history, Garuda bird is the vehicle for the god Vishnu that resembles an eagle. The word Pancasila derived from the old Sanskrit language — panca means five and sila means principle.

The Garuda bird displays a shield in its chest declaring the nation’s five principles of ideology (each principle is represented by a symbol, so there are a total of five symbols displayed on the shield). On its feet, it grips a white scroll with the nation’s motto Bhinneka Tunggal Ika written on it. Bhinneka Tunggal Ika means Unity in Diversity, describing Indonesia’s diverse ethnic groups, languages, cultural traditions, religions, and yet there is one language that unites all of those groups, that is Bahasa Indonesia, spoken everywhere in Indonesia.

The five principles of ideology shown on the shield of Garuda are listed as followed (the credit for English translation below is given to wikipedia):

  • The first principle, which is represented with a symbol of star in the middle is Ketuhanan Yang Maha Esa in Bahasa Indonesia and translated to English to mean “A Belief in One Supreme God”.
  • The second principle, that is represented with the symbol of chain, declares Kemanusiaan yang Adil dan Beradab, which means “A Just and Civilized Humanity”.
  • The third principle, that is represented with the symbol of a banyan tree, declares Persatuan Indonesia, which means “The Unity of Indonesia”
  • The fourth principle, that is represented with the symbol of a bull head, declares Kerakyatan yang Dipimpin oleh Hikmat Kebijaksanaan dalam Permusyawaratan dan Perwakilan, which means “Democracy that is Guided by the Inner Wisdom in the Unanimity Arising out of Deliberations amongst Representative”
  • And lastly, the fifth principle, that is the symbol of rice and cotton, declares Keadilan Sosial Bagi Seluruh Rakyat Indonesia which means “Social Justice for the Entire People of Indonesia”

I choose this topic for my blogging assignment today because I’d like to reflect on the turbulence that my country is going through in the past few years, and it is especially felt in the past few months.

My country has gone through many ups and downs, but we managed to get through it somehow. The word tolerance was still echoing in many parts of the nation ever since we declared our independence in 1945 and even despite of the ups and downs we have been through. Tolerance and acceptance of the differences are the fruits of having Pancasila as our backbone. We have had uncounted riots, demonstrations, violence against certain ethnic groups, economic downfall of the late 90s, terrorist bombs, and the list continues on for examples of the downs. Despite all of those, we still talked about tolerance and acceptance; at least, we used to. Nowadays, the wind had changed direction it seems. We no longer discuss about tolerance, but instead about the uprising of intolerance. For many decades, Indonesia was used as an icon in the world for a peaceful existence of many religions. We have the largest Muslim population in the world, and for the longest time we have been so proud of living the proof that differences could exist side by side in peace. Just two days ago, I read an article on The Diplomat (click on the word article to take you to the full article) that warned Indonesia that the country may be heading towards becoming like Pakistan if we do not start something to upheld Pancasila and fight for tolerance and acceptance.

The word tolerance that was still heard before has now been questioned. We are now seeing the surfacing of a wave of intolerance. Whether we want to deny it or now, it is here. The news media and the public in general through social media are responsible as well for the spreading of fake news that added gas into the fire. I don’t think this current concern has reached the point of causing panic in the society, but I am positive it exists in the back of the mind of many citizens. Fortunately, we, Indonesians, have a strong genes of resiliency, that despite of troubles and difficulties like this, many of us prevail and continue to live our lives nonchalantly because we face a more important goal in life, that is to survive the already hard live.

On daily basis, I still have many friends who come from different background, hold a different religion than mine, speak a dialect or local language other than Bahasa Indonesia and different than my own local dialect that I learned since I was little. I live in a city that is generally safe and peaceful.  It is not to say that disturbances and unruliness don’t exist in other parts of Indonesia, because they do. Have I lost hope for my country? Absolutely not! My hope is still strong as ever before. I still hope that the younger generation, with the wise guidance of the older generation like mine, can together build this nation to continue its principles and values of Pancasila and upheld the culture of acceptance, tolerance, living in harmony and gotong-royong (mutual assistance).

Thank you for reading and getting to know my country. I encourage you, my readers, to please feel free to ask question or to comment. Thank you. May peace be with us all.


Day 5 of the DailyPost at WordPress challenge: Hook ’em with a Quote’




3 thoughts on “Fighting for Pancasila

  1. Really detailed write-up. Loving the way that you portray your thoughts and perspectives into a way that is filled up with details. Hope to see more from you. Have hope, write on!

    Liked by 1 person

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