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:
1. Belief in the one and only God, (in Indonesian, Ketuhanan Yang Maha Esa).
2. Just and civilized humanity, (in Indonesian, Kemanusiaan Yang Adil dan Beradab).
3. The unity of Indonesia, (in Indonesian, Persatuan Indonesia).
4. 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 dan Perwakilan)
5. 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 “Dasar Negara” (philosophical foundation/political philosophy of Indonesian state). 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 June 1, 1945, to the Investigating Committee for the Preparation of Independence (Badan Penyelidik Usaha Persiapan Kemerdekaan, BPUPK), without the word “Indonesia” since it was to be enacted by XVI Japanese Army, Kaigun, for Java only, 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 Berkebudayaan, an emphasis on monotheism and religiousity
After several BPUPKI meetings, the five principles (sila) proposed by Sukarno were rearranged. The fifth sila concerning religiousity was promoted to become the first sila. Internationalism, justice and humanity remain as parts of the second sila. The previously first sila about nationalism become the third sila about Indonesian unity. The third and fourth sila about democracy and social warfare become the fourth and fifth sila.
He thus helped 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.
The Five Principles
“Belief in the one and only God”
Ketuhanan yang Maha Esa: This principle emphasizes belief in God. 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 a celestial object, the golden star, against black background 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 square links represent men while the rounded ones represent women.
The Banyan tree
“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 humanity. 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. The banyan tree symbolize a collection of multitude branches and leafs, symbolize unity of diverse elements. The shading large tree also symbolize protection.
The Buffalo’s head
“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 implies that voting is not encouraged as long as deliberation is possible. It is democracy that lives up to the principles of Pancasila. The head of the bull at top left stands for this sila. The buffalo, or more precisely the water buffalo is an important domesticated animal in Indonesian traditional agricultural society, therefore it symbolizes democracy, the strength of the people.
The Rice and Cotton
“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. This is symbolized by the paddy and cotton ears on the shield. In Indonesian culture, rice and cotton represent the fulfilment of food and clothing needs, therefore symbolize prosperity.
“Garuda Pancasila, the symbol of Indonesia’s Pancasila”
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 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. 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, although this course was held to justify what he’s done.
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
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 June 1, 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 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 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 Hebt Uw naasten lief gelijk U zelve, God boven alles. 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, 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). 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 June 1, 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 Berkebudayaan, monotheism and religiousity
After several BPUPKI meetings, the five principles (sila) proposed by Sukarno in 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.
Principle 1 in particular has been criticized[who?] for it denies the rights of non-believers, as well as of believers in polytheistic religions (Hinduism and Buddhism), which are practiced by a significant minority of Indonesians.
The 1st principle of the Pancasila is also argued by some[who?] to be in tension with Art. 29 on Religious Freedom of the Indonesian Constitution (UUD 1945), stated as:
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.
The complex State legal argument against atheism or agnosticism is difficult to condense—but essentially atheism as denial of God not so much implies illegal communist leanings but denies the sacrosanct humanity of Indonesians and contravenes the Preamble of the Indonesian Constitution- to which all Indonesian citizens are bound, as a condition of their citizenship and by which they are oath-bound to via retention of citizenship.
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 which in 1948 challenged the new secularist republic through civil war that claimed some 27,000 lives