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Archaeology & Anthropology:Open Access

Religious and Historical Perspectives in the Context of Negotiations between Local Culture, Hinduism, and the Balinese Identities in Outside of the Bali Island, Indonesia

Ketut Ardhana*

Udayana University, Indonesia

*Corresponding author: Ketut Ardhana, MA, Fransiska Dewi Setiowati Sunaryo, Hindu University of Indonesia and Udayana University, Indonesia

Submission: November 19, 2019Published: November 26, 2019

DOI: 10.31031/AAOA.2018.03.000588

ISSN: 2577-1949
Volume3 Issue4


Bali is strongly related to the concept of Hinduism or Indic culture, since most of the Balinese culture and its civilization have been characterized by the influences of Hinduism that have been started in the beginning of the century. Though Hinduism has been considered to spread in the beginning of the first century in the Indonesian archipelago, but it is still unclear about when it was exactly the spread of Hinduism outside Bali and what kind of challenges that the people have faced in the context of integration in the modern Indonesian times. It is commonly said that Hinduism not only strengthens the Balinese culture, but also other cultures outside Bali, namely in certain parts of the Indonesian archipelago, especially Sulawesi, Borneo and Sumatra. However, it does not mean that there is no other culture prior to the arrival of the Balinese migrants in these regions, which has been embedded in long process of their local histories.

Therefore, in order to understand this process, it is crucial to understand the historical and migration process on how Hinduism or Indic culture have already strengthened the local culture in the Indonesian archipelago, in which many policies in relation to the transmigration policies in the modern Indonesian have played a dominant role.

There are some questions that need to be addressed in this paper: firstly, how can we understand the influence of Hinduism in the outside Bali island? What kind of issues that the people must face in relation to the issues of integration? And thirdly, what kinds of policies that need to be implemented in order to strengthen the Hinduism in accordance with the concept of multiculturalism in the Indonesian archipelago. Through these questions, it is expected to have a better understanding on the issues of social, cultural, economic and political identities, which are related to the strengthening of multicultural society in the Indonesian archipelago. These are some significant questions that will be discussed in this paper. By looking at this analysis, it is expected to have a better understanding on the dynamics of the Balinese Hinduism in Makassar in the Eastern part of Indonesia, and in Jakarta in the western part of Indonesia.


Keywords: Local culture; The balinese; Hinduism; Multicultural society and Indonesian archipelago


Talking about Hinduism in Indonesia talking about Bali Island with its richness on nature and culture. Bali has its fertile soil and the Balinese work in the agricultural sector particularly in the wet rice fields. It is significant to mention that the Balinese really appreciate its environment based on the Hindu or Indic lessons coming from India. Not only in Bali in Southeast Asia, Hinduism has also spread to the mainland of Southeast Asia and with the very limited local sources in the insular of Southeast Asia. In the mainland of Southeast Asia, we can see some archeological remains in Funan that is considered as the first Hindu kingdom and Champa as the second Hindu Kingdom in the Mainland of Southeast Asia.

Those religious and cultural influences seem to strengthen the local culture both in the mainland and the insular of Southeast Asia. Until now, there are some works that mostly focus on the issues of Hinduism in Bali, since Bali has been well known as the one and the latest Hindu mosaic in Southeast Asia. We do not really know so much on what really happening about the Hinduism that play also a significant role in the context of multicultural society in the Indonesian archipelago, particularly from the perspective in the outside of Bali Island. In a long time before the arrival of Hinduism in the outside of the Bali Island, there have been so many local cultures that already played a dominant role in their societies. However, the coming of the Hindu or Indic culture seems to strengthen the local cultures. In other words, the local cultures had adopted and adapted the Indian or Hindu values in order to be used in strengthen the local culture [1].

Therefore, in order to understand this significant issues in the context of our understanding on multicultural societies in Indonesian in particular, and in Southeast Asia in general, it is important to elaborate more on the migration and historical process that already lasted in a long time of the Indonesian history. In accordance with this issue there are some pertinent questions that need to be addressed in this paper: firstly, how can we understand the influences of Hinduism or Indic lessons in the outside Bali island, in which the Balinese have played a major role? What kind of issues that the Balinese and local people must face in relation to the issues of Indonesian national integration? And thirdly, what kinds of policies that need to be implemented in order to maintain and preserve the Hinduism or Indic lessons regarding the concept of multicultural society in the Indonesian archipelago. Through these questions, it is expected to have a better understanding on the issues of social, cultural, economic and political identities, which are related to the strengthening of multicultural society in the Indonesian archipelago [2-4].

Theoretical Framework

Based on the national census in 2010 there was around indeed there are about 1 million more people Indonesia whose religion is not classified. Allegedly, some of them are adherents of the original ancestral beliefs. So, how many followers of religion in Indonesia today? How many residents are not included in the count of six religions recognized by the government? di-indonesia-tiap-provinsi/

It can be said that Hindu has already spread in the Indonesian archipelago. However, it does not mean that Hindu dominated the previous local culture, but it has strengthened the identities of the local culture. In certain regions there are still the local culture that still living for instance the local culture of the people in Tengger, Kaharingan, Lumajang that we can see until at the present-day Indonesia. Some of them claim that they are the Hindu followers. However, it is not easy for them though they claim themselves as the Hindu followers. On the one side, the local people try to maintain their local wisdom, but on the other side, the local people need also to be modernized. This is a big debate since Hindu that has been practiced in Indonesia more less has been as a part of India, Bali and or other local cultures. It means that some people believe that Hindu that they want to implement based on the local Balinese culture. From the above analysis, it can be concluded that the eruption of Gunung Agung in 1963 had strongly affected some issues on cultural and demographical perspectives. This can be understood in terms of social, cultural, economic and political aspects regarding the emergence of a multicultural society in Indonesia.

However, until at the present time, there is not much information regarding the dynamic of the Hindu in Lampung in particular, and in Indonesia in general. Therefore, the involvement of the Balinese migrants in Lampung have play a significant role. Though they are different in terms of cultural identities, but by improving the local culture is very significant in order to be able to strengthen the national Indonesia culture. The aim is to minimize social, cultural, economic and politic conflicts not only in the present time, but also for the future time [5].

In addition to this, the understanding of the Hindu in a region seems to be significant for the local and national government in formulating any guidance’s for a better life not only currently, but also for the near future. From this perspective, it is recognized to have the wise behaviors in order to have a better understanding on how to manage the dynamics of the different ethnic groups based on ethnicity, religious, tradition, language, habits to be able to live side by side, based on tolerance ideas between one group to another group in the context of unity and diversity based on Pancasila.

Until at the present day, there is unclear argument whether the Toraja is included in the Hindu religion or not, though in some cases there are certain argument that mention that they the followers of Hinduism in Sulawesi. This can be seen on how the ethnic Toraja has some similarities regarding the concept of divinity (ancestor worship) and the concept of soul in the body of every people. Based on this concept it can be roughly said that there are cultural identities that have embedded to the Toraja ethnic group (see further: Dik Roth, 2004: 100-183).

The determination of cultural identities is significant in order to be able to analyses the local culture in certain regions that to be considered to have Hindu historical sites. Therefore, this concept is important to have a better understand on how to understand the Hindu identities not based on the Bali culture, but from the local culture itself in another Indonesian archipelago, and in Southeast Asia in general. Therefore, it is expected to have a better understanding on what we understand about Hinduism in Indonesia or Hindu Indonesia and Hindu Nusantara [6].

Hinduism in Outside Bali Island: Sulawesi and Jakarta

Based on the archaeological and historical evidences, it shows that Hinduism had already developed in Kutai in East Kalimantan in the 4th century. Kutai has been well known as the first Hindu Kingdom in the Indonesian archipelago, while Tarumanegara in the western part of Java has been well known as the second Hindu kingdom in Indonesia. Later, Hindu kingdoms developed in the Central Java and then in East Java. It is important to note that in the 4th century, there were not so many stories talking about that Hindu kingdom in East Kalimantan. However, it is argued that though Hinduism had lost its important role in a long time, but in fact, there are some arguments mention that the local people in the Dayak Kaharingan is related to the Hinduism followers. The same case is also happening for the Toraja ethnic group in South Sulawesi, and for the small cases in the Kei Island in the Mollucas Islands, the Batupahat area in Sumbawa Island, the Baduy and the Tengger in the Western and Eastern part of Java Island.

In the context of modern and postmodern Hinduism, how can we understand these long historical processes? It important to look at the religious dynamics on Hindu religion particularly after the Indonesian independent, in which, the process of Hinduisation or Indianisation continued and developed very well. This cannot of course be separated from the previous historical processes, in which during the Dutch colonial rule, they had practiced what was called the Onderneming or plantation program especially in the eastern part of Sumatra Island. Through this program it was argued that there were increasing movements of the people from one region to other regions in the Indonesian archipelago. In addition to this, it is noted that there were some Javanese and other ethnic groups such as the Madurese, the Balinese who migrated to the island of Sumatra that had been strongly controlled by the Dutch government.

From this Figure 1, the Javanese and other ethnic groups knew very well about the condition of the Island of Sumatra for the future programs. Accordingly, after the Indonesian independence had been announced in August 17, 1945, there were some social, economic, cultural and political problems that need to be solved in accordance with the possibilities to mitigate any issues due to the eruption of the highest mountain in Bali, the Agung Volcano or Gunung Agung in 1963. The events after the eruption of the natural disaster Gunung Agung is considered to be a starting point in order to be able to explain on how and to what extend the historical and migration processes of the Balinese to outside the Island of Bali, such as to Sumatra and Sulawesi. di-indonesia-tiap-provinsi/

Figure 1:

These historical and migration processes would strengthen the existence of a multicultural society in the Indonesian archipelago. There are some issues that need to be analyzed regarding how the Balinese as a major group for Hinduism followers in facing and anticipating any issues in accordance with the concept of Bali-ology and Glocalization. It is significant to mention that though most of the Balinese migrated to outside and strengthen the identity of Hinduism by giving on the one side, some symbols of the Balinese culture and on the other side other local cultures. In this case, it can be said that there is a negotiation between the Balinese identities and the local cultural identities, in which the idea of harmony is most important. This could be a significant issue on how the present Hinduism in modern and even in the postmodern Indonesia play a major role in the context of the nation-state building.

It is different to Java, the relationship between the Balinese and the Makassarese are not so strong due to the historical relationship that already connected in a long time of history, though in some parts we know that the people Makassar South Sulawesi like the Buginese played also significant role in the context of the traditional Balinese kingdoms, as soldiers who helped the Balinese kingdom in South Bali. The close social and cultural relationship between the Javanese and the Balinese it can be seen regarding the Hindu Javanese kingdom in Java that related with the Hindu Balinese kingdoms in the past time. These social and cultural relationship still related until at the present time. However, in some part, it can be said that the religious beliefs between the people as we can see in the Toraja case, it seems to have a similarity with the Bali Hindu. But, how can we explain the relationship between the Balinese and the people of Toraja in Sulawesi?

There are very limited historical sources about the Hinduism in South Sulawesi. This is different in compared to Kalimantan or Borneo for instance where in here there was the first Hindu Kingdom, called Kutai particularly in East Kalimantan. Therefore, in compared to South Sulawesi it seems there are very limited sources on Hinduism in the region. There had been some arguments related to certain sites that Hinduism already lasted in certain regions before the Islamization and Christianization taken place. That is in relation to the certain indigenous communities in the hilly mountains. However, the comprehensive studies on this issue should be carried out comprehensively. There are some arguments about the similarities about the ancestral worships in certain communities or ethnic groups such as in Tengger in East Java, Baduy in West Java, Toraja in South Sulawesi as well. However, it needs some researches to know to what extend the understanding of the Hinduism in those areas.

Hinduism developed the western part of Java to be known since the story of Tarumanegara kingdom. Tarumanegara is regarded as the second Hindu kingdom, after the development of Hindu religion in Kutai in Kalimantan. However, not much is known about the story of the Kingdom of Tarumanegara in the surrounding area, especially in relation to what is meant by the Jakarta area today. At least in the long history process through archeological stories that are found to be discovered, then the story of classical Javanese history, and the modern arrival begins with the Dutch Kedatanga brought the influence especially the Balinese brought to Jakarta. Nevertheless, there is also not much information known about this. Especially after the independence of Indonesia, where Hinduism became recognized as one of the legitimate religion in Indonesia in addition to other official religions, apparently also after many Balinese who served in the field of defense and security such as being Soldiers, police, and so on add to the desire to create a religious institution that can pedal their spiritual and religious needs in Jakarta.

This is the significance of our pemahman in seeing how multicultural society is formed in Jakarta in particular, and in Indonesia in general. To discuss the issue of Hindu roles in Jakarta will be discussed several things as follows. First, how was the early development of Hinduism in Jakarta especially in the modern era. Second: The contribution of Hindu Jakarta in the process of forming a community that Berbhineka Tunggal Ika and third how the challenges and responses of Hindus in the community and countries in the global era. Here are some of the questions that will be discussed in this article in hopes of better understanding of the dynamics of Hinduism in Jakarta in the effort to build the lives of religious believers, especially Hindu.

Hindu in Jakarta has been said to develop at a considerable time as with other religions in Indonesia. The process of history and migration from long enough cross-religious and ethnic life has shaped a multicultural society. This multicultural society’s life is a social and cultural potential that is needed in caring for the lives of Indonesian people who have a single ika. Hindu in Jakarta seems to be known as a religion that perpetuated the harmonious life, the actual tolerance is needed in today’s globalization era. Therefore, the understanding of Hindu today is needed so that it can provide a significant understanding in relation to the education of the young generation character in the present and future.

As a multicultural society or the. The cultural identity referred to here is how they realize the concept of the Hindu community that can embrace Hindus that is set in the diversity of profession or occupation, area of origin, political bow, and so on, but can be embraced in a unity of Hindu Nusantara or Indonesia. However, the idea of forming the concept of Hindu Nusantara seems to be formulated in some respects considering the diversity that has it can be embraced in a concept called Hindu Nusantara, without causing some things such as cultural tension as Implications of that concept. However, the concept of Hindu Nusantara as a necessity, so that it can be easier in developing and contributing to the life of nation and state. As can be understood, when talking about Hindu Nusantara, it is obvious to emphasize that the Hindu in Indonesia not only in Bali, but also in other areas in the archipelago.

The formation of Hinduism in other regions outside Bali for example in Sumatra, Kalimantan and Sulawesi because of the effect of the eruption of Mount Agung as the highest volcano in Bali in 1963. Through the process of development of transmigration, the emergence of many Hindu communities in the transmigration pockets area as it is known in Lampung as the first and most community in Sumatra, the second in Palu, Kendari in the northeast Sulawesi and Menado in North Sumatra. The development of Hinduism in the region, of course, differs from the life of Hindu in Jakarta, which is now the capital of Indonesia. The socio-cultural issues of Jakarta City are not able to be removed from the state or condition of nature oranafi and its state or structure of demography. In general, it can be said that the population of Jakarta is as follows:

From the Table 1 above, it appears that the people of Jakarta who adhered to the most Hindu religion is the first province of DKI Jakarta, Kodya South Jakarta, Kodya East Jakarta, and followed by Kodya North Jakarta, Kodya Central Jakarta and Kodya West Jakarta. This is certainly a very small number, when compared to the number of Muslims of Islam as the dominant religion adopted by the people of Jakarta. However, the most important of these circumstances is that it is not a matter of majority and a minority, but the forward is howthe people Jakarta, consisting of various religions, ethnicity, tradition, language and other differences can live peacefully, integrated in the context of multicultural society and not a monocultural society.

Table 1: Population census data 2010-Badan Central Statistics Republic of Indonesia.

Moreover, that from the Table 1 above, there are several reasons why the inhabitants of Jakarta who embraced the most Hindu religion in DKI Jakarta namely some people who have a job of service that is in Jakarta. Among them mostly consisted of military service or soldiers who had gained duty in the capital of the country. However, it should be noted for the regions that are in a Thousand islands, the number of Hindu people is not an a Nyak in Jakarta is 6 (six) people and for Buddhists is not found in the Thousand Islands region.

The life of Muslims as most of the population in the region plays an important role in addition to other religious populations such as Christianity, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism and so on. This is understandable where the province adjacent to the province of DKI Jakarta such as Banten Province is a province of the majority Muslim population. In other words, besides Islam, there are Christians and Catholics who reside mostly in the North coast area of Jakarta such as the Tanjung Priok area. In Jakarta, there are three major temples that play an important role as cultural identity for Hindu people in relation to the formation of multicultural society in the country’s capital. First, the Pura Aditya Jaya Rawamangun in East Jakarta [7], which was interpreted as the Temple village for the god Brahma. The two temples in Cijantung in East Jakarta as Pura Puseh for Lord Vishnu, and the three Pura Cilincing in North Jakarta as Pura Dalem for Shiwa. From this description, complete the existence of major temples in Jakarta which is considered as Tri Kahyangan or Kahyangan Tiga temple which became a cultural binder in the context of the life of Hindu people in a region in this matter in Jakarta. It should be explained that the concept of Kahyangan Tiga is a socio-cultural concept, and not in the context of political concepts. Therefore, this concept is understood Sebag ai cultural indicators inherent in the context of Hinduism.

It can be understood that Balinese, Javanese and another ethnic Hindu can certainly appreciate this cultural concept, which is understood as a guideline as a Hindu in the region outside Bali. In the Pretender ritual and Hindu religious ceremonies carried out in these temples, where the number of Hindu people who held a show in the three temples is the one. For example, in the celebration of Hindu festivals that come every six months, such as the Galungan and Kuningan days, for example, they went to the temple to do the worship together. In the book know the Temple of Mustika Dharma Katha [3] mentioned as follows:

“Especially the feast of Galungan this time for us is very important meaning because it is coupled by the first stone from Mustika Dharma temple, where we worship Hindu people in Jakarta, especially and all Indonesia in general, with no difference whether it is from ABRI members, civilians, officers, workers, merchants, students and students and others. The short of this temple is for all the Hindu existence without exception and not limited only to ABRI, although this will be built and realized or initiated by our brothers and sisters who are under the auspices of Puspassus, over and the permission of the Puspasus commander who is highly appreciated and glorified. With the laying on of this first stone hopefully Galungan day is the first milestone of the historical sequence of happiness and spiritual peace we all and hopefully also this place or the temple Mustika Dharma we will Is the first milestone also of the sequence of Hindu religious places in this Jakarta wilaya. It can be said that with the establishment of temples that are considered Kahyangan Tiga, then all the Hindus in Jakarta has a place of worship that must be treated, nurtured and maintained for Hindu sustainability in Jakarta in In particular, and in Indonesia in general.


From the above exposure, it can be said that Hindu in Jakarta, where most of the Hindu people consist of Balinese, seems to formulate cultural identity based on local wisdom. This certainly gives understanding, that in formulating that identity in each of the development of Hinduism, should be adapted to the local culture, as with other territories throughout the archipelago. This also gives an understanding of why Hinduism in Indonesia is different from Hinduism in southeast Asia. Hindu in Jakarta seems to adapt to the local wisdom that develops in each region and is enriched with the strengthening of existing local wisdom by accommodating with the thinking they have in accordance with their home area. This can be seen with the understanding of the concept of Kahyangan Tiga, consisting of Pura Desa for Dewa Brahma, Pura Puseh for Lord Vishnu and Pura Dalem for Dewa Shiwa. The implementation of this concept seems to distinguish traditionally and traditions between the Hindu in Bali and Hinduism in other regions without compromising the essence of religious beliefs he adopted. Nevertheless, it appears that Hinduism in Jakarta still seeks to simplify religious rituals caused by the demands of modernization and globalization that is developing in the millennial era.


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