Friday, January 21, 2011

Ahimsa in Indonesia

India and Indonesia are countries that achieved their independence in an almost exact time. India celebrates its independence on 15th of August 1947, while Indonesia is on the August 17th 1945, two years earlier than India. India has struggled for their independence from Britain while Indonesia from Dutch. These two countries share certain values and traditions applied in their social life, for colonial’s occupation has made their mentality to grow in difficult conditions.

If we see some Javanese and Indian values, their philosophy are very much alike for their similarities and strong roots of Hinduism. However there are certain things that have vanished in Indonesia caused by the enculturation processes and Islamic values that have erased some basic fundamental Hinduism values.

Ahimsa is one of India’s values that have been erased during Islamic proselytizing. Literally ahimsa translated as a term that means not to do any harm. Ahimsa is avoidance of violence. This principal is an important value for Indian religions like Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.

Mahatma Gandhi, one of India’s most respected leaders, believes this principal and promoting it during the Britain-Indian peace war around 1940. With this value he fights the British not by violent force, but by accepts all harm that the British done to the Indian people. Then this thing led India to its independence.

In Indonesia Ahimsa is not so well known anymore, for Islam values are a bit contradictive with Ahimsa. For instance, Had law (Islamic Syariat Law) supports violence if it will lead to goodness (such as “cut the hand” law).

Indonesia as a multi-cultural countries have their own problems caused by their differences. There are many ethnic and religion conflict happens caused by their lack of understanding in how to cope their own differences.

It will need a long way to grow understanding between these groups in order to avoid conflict. Ahimsa maybe is one of the practical solutions for people in Indonesia nowadays that we could look back and learn at, for we already have Hinduism and Buddhism as a part of our history.

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