Pancasila (Indonesian: [pantʃaˈsila] (listen)) is the official, foundational philosophical theory of Indonesia. The name is made from two words originally derived from Sanskrit: "pañca" ("five") and "śīla" ("principles").
It is composed of five principles:
In 1942, Imperial Japan invaded and occupied the Dutch East Indies. Following setbacks in the Pacific War, the Japanese promised future self-government for Indonesia and in September 1943, established the Central Advisory Council in Java, chaired by pre-war independence activist Sukarno. On 15 November 1944, at the fourth session of the CAC, Sukarno gave a speech listing five guidelines for life for the Indonesian nation. These had been produced by a committee headed by Sukarno, and were dubbed the "Five Obligations" (Panca Dharma). They were:
On 1 March 1945, the Japanese 16th Army, which was responsible for Java during the Japanese occupation of the Dutch East Indies announced the establishment of the Investigating Committee for Preparatory Work for Independence (BPUPK) to work on "preparations for independence in the region of the government of this island of Java.". The first session of the BPUPK opened on 28 May 1945, and the following day began discussions on a basis for the future independent Indonesia. A number of speakers put forward proposals, and Wiranatakusumah suggested the Panca Dharma.
On the final day of the first session, Indonesian nationalist Sukarno made a speech, later to become known as the "Birth of Pancasila Address", in which he outlined five principles, which he proposed would form the philosophical basis of an independent Indonesia. His original formulation was:
In his speech, Sukarno rejected the Panca Dharma as a name, saying that "dharma" meant 'obligation', but that he was proposing principles. He further said that he liked the symbolic meaning of "five" as there were Five Pillars of Islam, five fingers to a hand and five senses. He named the principles Pancasila.
During the recess between the two BPUPK sessions, 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 a preamble to a costitution including Sukarno's philosophy. This became known as the Jakarta Charter. The order of Sukarno's principles was changed, thus: the fifth sila of monotheism and religiosity became 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. 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 One God with the obligation for its Muslim adherents to carry out the Islamic law/Syari'ah"). On 18 August 1945 the PPKI 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".
In the campaign for the 1955 legislative election, nationalist parties such as the Indonesian National Party (PNI) and the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI) used Pancasila in an anti-Islam sense, to distinguish themselves from the Islamic Masyumi Party as they feared that if Masyumi won the election, Islam would replace Pancasila as the basis of the nation. In the Constitutional Assembly, elected in 1955 to produce a permanent constitution to replace the 1950 Provisional Constitution, the parties organized themselves into factions depending on their preference for the national philosophy. The Pancasila Blok had 53.3% of the seats, while the Islamic Blok had 44.8%. The debate over which should prevail was not resolved through debate as on 5 July 1959, President Sukarno dissolved the assembly by decree and reimposed the 1945 Constitution. As this included the Pancasila formulation, the Pancasila/Islam debate was ended.
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 Pancasila. His government promoted the five principles as a key national ideology. They were outlined as representing 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 attachment to Javanese beliefs, Suharto glorified Pancasila as a key to reach the perfect life (Javanese: ilmu kasampurnaning urip) of harmony with God and fellow men.
In 1978, Suharto secured a parliamentary resolution (Tap MPR No. 2/1978) on the Pancasila Appreciation and Practicing Guide (Pedoman Penghayatan dan Pengamalan Pancasila or P4) and later began a mandatory program to indoctrinate all Indonesians—from primary school students to office workers—for the application of the P4 and in living the national values. After initially being careful not to offend the sensitivities of Muslim scholars who feared that the Pancasila might develop into a quasi-religious cult, he secured another parliamentary resolution in 1983 (Tap MPR No. 11/1983) that officially made obedience to Pancasila mandatory to all organizations in Indonesia, public or private. In practice, the administration of Suharto exploited the vagueness of the Pancasila to justify its acts and to condemn opponents as "anti-Pancasila".
By the first half of the 20th century, some ideologies that had been established or made their way to the Dutch East Indies included imperialism and its antithesis anti-colonial nationalism, traditional Javanese statecraft, Islamism, democracy, socialism, and communism. Proponents of these ideologies had formed political organizations or parties to forward their respective causes. The Islamist party Sarekat Islam was established in 1905 followed by Masyumi in 1943. The Communist Party was established in 1914, while Sukarno's nationalist Indonesian National Party was established in 1927. Favoring one ideology over another would not satisfy the whole spectrum of Indonesian people, thus it was decided that the new republic need to synthesize a new ideology derived from indigenous Indonesian values as well as common shared values derived from various ideologies.
Pancasila was influenced by certain aspects of selected world values and ideologies, such as nationalism, humanitarianism, democracy, socialism, and religiosity. The need to unify this diverse country also led to the formulation of the 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.
A commander of the 1st Military Regional Command/Bukit Barisan in 1966 described Pancasila as a form of religious socialism.
The International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), an atheist group, has criticized the first sila because it does not include a right to atheism, i.e. a rejection of theistic belief. The IHEU argued that this enables a culture of repression against atheists and that, as long as Indonesian law only recognized the religions of Buddhism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Protestant and Catholic Christianity, people who did not identify with any of them, including atheists, would "continue to experience official discrimination."
Criticism of the Pancasila is forbidden by the criminal code because the national emblem of Indonesia includes the Pancasila. According to article 68, its defamation carries a sentence of up to five years imprisonment or half a billion rupiah. In 2018, the controversial Islamic Defenders Front leader Muhammad Rizieq Shihab was charged under 154a and 320 of the Criminal Code on insulting the state ideology and defamation. The charges were later dropped.
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