2. Present Links

Sukarno, Indra Gandhi,
Nehru and little Megawati

In August 1927 when Rabindranath Tagore, the Nobel prize winner arrived at Tanjung Priok Harbour, he burst into a verse in the memory of the golden threads of kinship that have existed between India and Indonesia.
In 1932, Dewantoro, the founder of Taman Siswa Schools, painter Affandi and Dr. Ida Bagus Mantra visited Tagore in India at Shanti Niketan.
In 1947, Biju Patnaik came to visit Soekarno in Indonesia. Soekarno's wife had just given birth to a baby girl. It was raining heavily and Biju Patnaik suggested the name of "Meghawati" (Megha in Sanskrit means rain cloud).
Megawati, Soekarnoputri, the daughter of Soekarno became subsequently president of the Republic of Indonesia in 2OO1.
At present His Excellency Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is the President of the Republic of Indonesia.
He got elected as the President in Indonesia's first democratic elections. The president is known to be a man of integrity and efficiency.

His Excellency
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono

Nehru of India, Nasser of Egypt and Soekarno of Indonesia were the main architects of the policy of cooperation by the exploited nations against the rich nations.
Ever since the political, business and cultural relationship between India and Indonesia has been excellent. The first Asian African conference held in Bandung in 1955 brought the two countries very close to each other.

3. State Policy

The national emblem of the Republic of Indonesia - "Garuda Pancasila" is adorned with the words Bhineka Tunggal Ika- that means Unity in Diversity.
The concept of Bhineka Tunggal Ika was started during the 8th-9th centuries in Central Java to create an understanding between Hinduism and Buddhism. Classic example is Candi Shiwa - Buddha temple.
Afterwards King Airlangga made use of it in the 11th century.
However it was Mpu Tantular the court poet of the Majapahit kingdom who propagated: Bhineka Tunggal Ika during the reign of King Hayam Wuruk through his poem Sutasoma. Thus a solid foundation was laid for the Majapahit kingdom.
In modern times the Republic of Indonesia has made Bhineka Tunggal Ika-Unity in Diversity as a national emblem.

Bhineka Tunggal Ika

Mention must be made here of Panca Sila, the 5 basic principles of the Republic of Indonesia. They are: Faith in one God, Nationalism, Democracy, Humanity and Just Society.
All over Indonesia, at Govt. places you see Garuda, the vehicle of the Hindu God Vishnu alongside with a Panca Sila plaque.
Indonesians are extremely proud of their historical cultural past.
Indonesia like India is secular and even one of their currency notes carries a picture of Lord Ganesha.
Garuda in the Indonesian history holds a place of honour. It is a symbol of national emblem with Vishnu riding it. Garuda sculpture is shown in countless temples. Garuda stands for complete devotion to Lord Vishnu and subsequent freedom from evil. Garuda also stands for the freedom of the people of Indonesia from foreign rule.

4. Language:

Although there are hundreds of dialects throughout Indonesia, yet Bahasa Indonesia in roman script is understood everywhere and this is what unites them all in their outlook. Indeed "Bhineka Tunggal Ika" 'Unity in Diversity' stands proved through Bahasa Indonesia, which shares many common words (around a few hundreds) with Sanskrit and Hindi like, Istri, suami, Putri, putra, warna, Guru, Akasha and niscaya.
Bahasa Indonesia is a very artistic language. Matahari means eye of the day which means Sun. Bunga Uang means flower of money, which means interest.
The addition of nya ,lah, yang and pun to words makes the language very rhythmatic and poetic. Even the verbs are modified to sound poetic.
A dictionary of each and every common word between Bahasa Indonesia and Sanskrit should be out during 2OO7.
The Japanese encouraged the use of Bahasa Indonesia for ulterior motives but the language grew into a great unifying factor under Soekarno.

5. Customs and culture:

Indonesia is a very cultured country where they have fixed hereditary cultural customs called Adat. It is appreciated when one does not talk or laugh loudly, keeps a smiling face, even when things go wrong and shows special respect to elders.
Children are adored and pampered but controlled well. Never call anyone raising your finger, or give or receive anything with the left hand.
Do not touch the head of a child even out of affection, for they believe the head is the seat of the soul.
Dress properly when you visit a temple, mosque, church or Vihara.

6. Volcanoes:

Indonesia has well over 300 volcanoes, out which more than 100 are active.
Krakatau, which lies between Sumatra and Java, blew up in 1883 shooting debris 27Kms in the air. Subsequent ash and dust clouds could be seen as far away as Central America, a few thousand kilometers away.
It was the biggest volcanic eruption of the world. The crater made was 40 sq. kilometers wide and 300 meters deep.
Mount Bromo in Java is another classic volcano in Java where the sunrise is world famous.

7. Climate:

Climate throughout the year is moderate, so you could do well with cotton clothes. However it can be very cold at high altitudes, so plan accordingly.

8. Agriculture:

Indonesia is an agricultural country and has a great forest area and an exceedingly fertile land. Rice, coconut and bananas grow almost everywhere, besides cotton, palm oil, rubber, cocoa, tea and coffee etc.
The variety of fruits is beyond description. Many of them are unknown in India and elsewhere. Pisang Raja a type of banana grows to almost 1 foot in length.

9. The Fabulous Spices of Indonesia especially cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon first attracted the Indian Traders in the 1st century. Afterwards the Portuguese, Dutch and the British came to Indonesia and fought wars over the spices with the Indonesians as well as amongst themselves.

10. Oil and Gas:

Indonesia is an oil producing country and most of the reserves are located in Central Sumatra. The gas reserves are in the North Sumatra. Indonesia is the world's largest exporter of liquefied natural gas.

11. Rain Forests:

Indonesia has large rain forests in Kalimantan and Irian Jaya.

12. Currency:

The Rupiah is the official currency of Indonesia. One of the currency notes carries a photo of Lord Ganesha.

Indonesian Currency: Rupiah

13. Industry:

Indonesia has entered the industrial world in a big way. They have fitted up the most modern refineries and chemical plants.
The entire Batam island, which is 12 kilometers from Singapore, has been converted in a free trade zone.


Batam is connected to two other islands Rempang and Galang with most modern bridges.
The development of this area has been fantastic.

14. Mufakat and Musyawarah:

Coming to an agreement after mutual discussion wherein the views of voters in minority are equally respected.

15. Gotong Royong:

Means joint responsibility and mutual cooperation amongst the people under normal or emergency conditions.

16. Religion:

Although the majority follows Islam, yet every one is free to practice one's own religion. Thus Islam, Hinduism, Christianity and Buddhism coexist with each other.
The Indonesians believe a lot in Mysticism and Spiritualism, and attach a lot of importance to it. Solo or Surakarta in Central Java is the mysticism Centre of Indonesia. Mention may be made of Sumarah foundation where they make use of yoga terminology of various Chakras.
A large number of Indonesians follow Animism, which believes that there exists a hidden power (Spirit) in everything: in Trees, Rivers and Mountains, etc.

17. Dukuns:

They are the local medicine men who make use of the local Herbs (Jamu just like Ayurvedic herbs). They also recite Mantras to cure their customers of illness and cast black magic on the opponents of the customers.

Back   Next