Pancasila in the Progressive Interpretation

In the last few months, the author has taken the time to be active in religious harmony activities initiated by the Lakpesdam (Institute for the Study and Development of Human Resources) NU Malang City, where the author is until now also an active member in it.

The programs and activities for religious harmony have finally touched some sensitive aspects of our religious life, especially in Malang City and Malang Regency.

Several FGDs (Focus Group Discussions) were conducted which resulted in some findings in the field regarding issues of religious life which until now have not been resolved.

For example, it is difficult to build place of worship for minority groups. This is allegedly due to several reasons, including the rules regarding the establishment of place of worship itself, the dominance is the majority group who is always worried about the development of minority religions. The majority pressure on policy makers resulted in the issuance of a letter that did not allow the construction of place of worship.

Ironically, the pressure from the masses not to build place of worship for minority groups was actually used for certain political interests.

Another case of religious freedom that has also attracted quite a bit of attention is related to the group of believers.

Although certain agencies have received recognition, in some cases there are still problems due to the subjective element of public servants who still think that there are 6 official religions in Indonesia.


The little story above is only a small portrait of the reality that actually happens on the ground, not to mention the problems of welfare, civil liberties, disintegration, and so on. Theoretically, we are then concerned with the major theses that have been echoed by thinkers about Pancasila, for example that “the fundamental values ​​of Pancasila have been inherent in the life of this nation for several centuries”; that “Pancasila is actually the character or identity of the Indonesian nation”, “Pancasila is the crystallization of our culture”, and so on.

In this context, the author feels that there is such a contradiction between theory and practice, between das Sein and das Sollen, between ideas and reality, or is it really formed that way that theory is theory, there is no connection at all with reality? The sterility of Pancasila in this practice is always spelled out in classrooms, jargoned in such a way, even more often used as a slogan for certain practical political interests.

Two Ways of Pancasila Practice

It has become common knowledge that the implementation of Pancasila in civilizing efforts has been carried out by the Old Order, the New Order to the Reform Order. In the Old Order era or more precisely the era of Guided Democracy (1959-1966) the Seven Basic Ingredients of Indoctrination (Tubapi) through the Manipol-Usdek narrative in such a way were echoed in the community, this interpretation of Pancasila was then considered to deviate from its purity and resulted in the downfall of Soekarno and the division of national political circles. .

Likewise, in the New Order era, precisely in early 1979, the indoctrination of Pancasila began with the P4 upgrading, namely the Movement for Guidance on the Experience of Pancasila.

In fact, this civilizing pattern also fails to create a society with Pancasila character since Pancasila is more used as a shield for the rulers to maintain their power.

The P4 upgrading project finally failed and at the same time collapsed along with the fall of the New Order regime in 1998.

After more than 20 years of reformation, many people feel uneasy due to the decline in the character of the Indonesian nation, even though the progress of this nation is not considered to be running on the right track.

So, in 2017 the Pancasila Ideology Development Unit or UKP PIP was formed, which was later upgraded to BPIP.

So far, we haven’t seen a breakthrough in Pancasila culture that is systemic and comprehensive, we’ve only heard of some studies, seminars or just awards to people who are judged to be implementing Pancasila. How is the fate of this BPIP found? History will tell later.

If the Pancasila civilizing approach from the top-down side has failed many times, how exactly is Pancasila at the button-up level? The practice of Pancasila at the community level is very cultural which is continuously practiced as part of efforts to maintain existence.

This is in accordance with the thesis put forward by Notonagoro that the root of Pancasila knowledge (Pancasila epistemology) is formed from one of them is the material aspect. The material aspect is in the form of customs, traditions and culture of the Indonesian nation (Kaelan, 2009).

This view gains cultural epistemological legitimacy in the traditions of tepa sliro, compassion, anjang sana and so on as a representation of the practice of tolerance. The practice of anti-discriminatory humanity that wholeheartedly accepts other people or others to live together in this country can be seen, for example, in the Sambatan tradition in Karanganyar village, Central Java, which has a noble value, namely easing the burden on neighbors by helping selflessly, so it feels light because it is implemented together (Kartikasari, 2017).

While the practice of harmony as a reflection of the third precept can be found in the Hawihang Oral tradition (Yanzi, 2018). This oral tradition is present in the midst of traditional society in order to maintain and protect Indonesia from various aspects of life. This is related to the existence of moral messages, beliefs, norms that are obeyed by the community for the sake of the orderliness of the social system, as well as maintaining the values ​​of multiculturalism.

The local wisdom of the nation related to this deliberation can be found in the tradition of village meetings. There is also Tudang Sipulung tradition of the Amparita community, Sidenreng Rappang Regency (Fatmawati P, 2018). This tradition is carried out by residents in a very simple way, they carry out deliberations on agriculture, from planning, planting, implementing to harvesting.

This tradition is carried out in simple places, for example in field huts, fields, and even village halls. While the fifth value, namely justice, is reflected in various local traditions such as sadranan, and others

The practice of civilizing Pancasila that occurs in the midst of this society may be claimed as part of civilizing Pancasila culturally with an ‘esoteric’ interpretation.

The practice of these traditions is also very possible to be a support for national culture, but Pancasila is not just a rite that is celebrated and given a philosophical meaning alone, Pancasila must be practical in reducing intolerance that even leads to extremism and radicalism, Pancasila must also be practiced in the anti-discrimination movement, harmony must also be maintained without favoring a particular ethnic or group, until the achievement of a substantive and distributive stage of social welfare.

The Barrenness of the Progressive Practice of Pancasila

This progressive interpretation of Pancasila has not been heard too much lately, what has happened recently is the emergence of an interpretation of Pancasila which only emphasizes one dimension and ignores other dimensions. Religious drunkards interpret Pancasila in terms of mere religious frameworks, for example, it is stated that Pancasila reflects the highest divinity (taukhid in this group’s perception) among other values. Don’t be surprised then, when the draft for the 2035 Education Vision, the phrase religion disappeared, the crowd protested. There was also a group of people who put more emphasis on the interpretation of Pancasila on the social welfare dimension, which in the end put more emphasis on the material and work aspects. On that basis, massive airports, ports, and toll roads were built, even though sometimes they cannot be used by local people

The post-reform interpretation of Pancasila is indeed more flexible and even tends to be ‘wild’ because there is no definite frame of reference and state institutions that control it. This condition is indeed sufficient to provide a productive space for freedom of interpretation, as long as there is a mature discourse in the public sphere without having to claim to be the most Pancasila, while others do not.

In fact, the encounter of interpretations or the occurrence of horizons for the readers of Pancasila has not yet resulted in a complete interpretation of Pancasila without advocating one precept and ignoring other precepts, and at the same time a practical and progressive interpretation.



Mohamad Anas

Lecturer at Pancasila Center MPK Universitas Brawijaya


[Humas UB/ Trans. Iir]