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How India has influenced Indonesia through ages

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image source: www.livemint.com

By Shriya Katoch

The culture of Indonesia is highly influenced by India. In fact, the word Indonesia actually means “Indian island”.The entire country is diffused with a touch of India.

HISTORY 

It has statues of Ramayana at road intersections, temples and folk performances of the Ramayana.Infact the island of Indonesia actually makes an appearance in the epic Ramayana, when Sugriva the chief of Rama’s army  dispatched his men to Yawadvipa, the ancient name for Indonesia , in search of Sita.

INDIAN DIASPORA 

Indonesia also supports a large Indian diaspora amounting to the humongous count of 129,000. Most of these Indian Indonesians are concentrated in the region of Jakarta. Infact Indians have been living in Indonesia for centuries from the time of the Sri Vijaya and Majaphit Empire, both of which were Hindu and heavily influenced by the subcontinent. Later in the 19th century the Dutch brought the Indians as bonded labourers to work in the expanse of Medan in Sumatra , these were mostly South Indians. They have now been in Indonesia for around four generations and have acquired Indonesian passports. The second wave of Indian influx was in the 20th century with the arrival of the Sindhis in the Indonesian land. The Sindhi community is mainly involved in the arena of trade and commerce. The Indian community is highly regarded in Indonesia.perceived as being intellectually driven, they  hold important positions in different fields .

CULTURAL TIES

India’s cultural ties with Indonesia still continues, with Bollywood music having traces of the popular dangdut music, which originated from Indonesia. The largest ethnicity in Indonesia is Javanese. Javanese culture is humongously effected by Indian culture. Indonesian people, mostly Javanese, even name their children with Indian names like Aditya, Indira etc. They idolise Bollywood with all its colour and fervour. Indonesian cinematography is very similar to Indian cinematography as both of them borrow the power of music and dance to entrance their audience.

A lot of Indonesian mythology has been inspired by Hinduism featuring elements which the Indian culture can identify with. According to a survey 51%, Indonesians identify the Indian influences in their culture positively and only 21% view these influences as negative.

PRESENT DAY SCENARIO 

The Indian-Indonesian relationship stretch back for almost two millennia. In 1950, the first President of Indonesia-Sukarno called upon the peoples of Indonesia and India to “intensify the cordial relations” that had existed between the two countries “for more than 1000 years” before they had been “disrupted” by colonial powers.

To advance Indian culture Jawahar Lal Nehru Indian Cultural Centre was established in Jakarta in 1989. Historically the ties between India and Indonesia goes back to the age of Ramayana. The effect of India on Indonesia in the linguistic sense is the influence of Sanskrit in Indonesian languages . Throughout the history, India and Indonesia have enjoyed a peaceful history except the war in 1965 in which Indonesia aided Pakistan. With all its up and downs both India and Indonesia have continued to maintain a strong bond throughout the years.

Shriya Katoch multitasks as an Engineering student, an avid reader, a guitar player and a death note fan.
https://twitter.com/katochshriya538

5 COMMENTS

  1. Just came through the article, how well written

    But the facts are missing or hidden – your line “Later in the 19th century the Dutch brought the Indians as bonded labourers to work in the expanse of Medan in Sumatra , these were mostly South Indians” and then later you say ….”The second wave of Indian influx was in the 20th century with the arrival of the Sindhis in the Indonesian land. The Sindhi community is mainly involved in the arena of trade and commerce. The Indian community is highly regarded in Indonesia.perceived as being intellectually driven, they hold important positions in different fields”

    This is a fact and I do not deny, but you have effectively degraded south Indians, I say this because you have carefully ignored the history before 19th Century and have just written the Hindu and heavy influence of the subcontinent after that.

    You have created an illusion that some one reading this article will think that south Indians living is Indonesians are bonded laborers .

    But you also say that – “Infact Indians have been living in Indonesia for centuries from the time of the Sri Vijaya and Majaphit Empire, both of which were Hindu and heavily influenced by the subcontinent.” Now here is the catch why were you silent on the this statement? Please refer who influenced ?

    It was the mighty Cholas! the same south Indians you referred!

    Easy reference for you from Wiki…:)

    In 1025, Rajendra Chola, the Chola king from Tamil Nadu in South India, launched naval raids on ports of Srivijaya in maritime Southeast Asia, and conquered Kadaram (modern Kedah) from Srivijaya and occupied it for some time. Rajendra’s overseas expedition against Srivijaya was a unique event in India’s history and its otherwise peaceful relations with the states of Southeast Asia. Several places in Malaysia and Indonesia were invaded by Rajendra Chola I of the Chola dynasty. The Chola invasion furthered the expansion of Tamil merchant associations such as the Manigramam, Ayyavole and Ainnurruvar into Southeast Asia.The Chola invasion led to the fall of the Sailendra Dynasty of Srivijaya and the Chola invasion also coincides with return voyage of the great Buddhist scholar Atiśa from Sumatra to India and Tibet in 1025.The expedition of Rajendra Chola I is mentioned in the corrupted form as Raja Chulan in the medieval Malay chronicle Sejarah Melaya, and Malay princes have names ending with Cholan or Chulan, such as Raja Chulan of Perak..

    The expedition of Rajendra Chola I had such a lasting impression on the Malay people of the period that his name is even mentioned (in the corrupted form as Raja Chulan) in the medieval Malay chronicle, the Sejarah Melayu (Malay Annals). Even today the Chola rule is remembered in Malaysia as many Malaysian princes have names ending with Cholan or Chulan, one such was the Raja of Perak called Raja Chulan.

    The influence was so much their later kings named themselves as Cholas, they are were also from South India! This was at least 900 Years back to the period you are referring.

      • And don’t forget Gujarati Muslim spreading Islam and Indo Islamic culture in this region during early medieval period

        • I dont understand what you mean?

          From Wikipedia – Spread of Islam (1200–1600)[edit]
          Main article: Spread of Islam in Indonesia

          Banda Aceh’s Grand Mosque in Aceh province, where saw the earliest arrival of Islam.
          There are evidence of Arab Muslim traders entering Indonesia as early as the 8th century.[11][17] However, it was not until the end of the 13th century that the spread of Islam began.[11] At first, Islam was introduced through Arab Muslim traders, and then the missionary activity by scholars, and it was further aided by the adoption by the local rulers and the conversion of the elites.[17] The missionaries had originated from several countries and regions, initially from the South Asia such as Gujarat and other Southeast Asia such as Champa,[29] and later from the southern Arabian Peninsula such as the Hadhramaut.[17]

          In the 13th century, Islamic polities began to emerge on the northern coast of Sumatra. Marco Polo, on his way home from China in 1292, reported at least one Muslim town.[30] The first evidence of a Muslim dynasty is the gravestone, dated AH 696 (AD 1297), of Sultan Malik al Saleh, the first Muslim ruler of Samudera Pasai Sultanate. By the end of the 13th century, Islam had been established in Northern Sumatra.

          In general, local traders and the royalty of major kingdoms were the first to adopt the new religion. The spread of Islam among the ruling class was precipitated as Muslim traders married the local women, with some of the wealthier traders marrying into the families of the ruling elite.[8] Indonesian people as local rulers and royalty began to adopt it, and subsequently, their subjects mirrored their conversion. Although the spread was slow and gradual,[31] the limited evidence suggests that it accelerated in the 15th century, as the military power of Malacca Sultanate in the Malay Peninsula and other Islamic Sultanates dominated the region aided by episodes of Muslim coup such as in 1446, wars and superior control of maritime trading and ultimate markets.[31][32]

          By the 14th century, Islam had been established in northeast Malaya, Brunei, the southwestern Philippines and among some courts of coastal East and Central Java; and the 15th in Malacca and other areas of the Malay Peninsula.[citation needed] The 15th century saw the decline of Hindu Javanese Majapahit Empire, as Muslim traders from Arabia, India, Sumatra and the Malay Peninsula, and also China began to dominate the regional trade that once controlled by Javanese Majapahit traders. Chinese Ming dynasty provided systematic support to Malacca. Ming Chinese Zheng He’s voyages (1405 to 1433) is credited for creating Chinese Muslim settlement in Palembang and north coast of Java.[33] Malacca actively encouraged the conversion to Islam in the region, while Ming fleet actively established Chinese-Malay Muslim community in northern coastal Java, thus created a permanent opposition to the Hindus of Java. By 1430, the expeditions had established Muslim Chinese, Arab and Malay communities in northern ports of Java such as Semarang, Demak, Tuban, and Ampel; thus Islam began to gain a foothold on the northern coast of Java. Malacca prospered under Chinese Ming protection, while the Majapahit were steadily pushed back.[34] Dominant Muslim kingdoms during this time included Samudera Pasai in northern Sumatra, Malacca Sultanate in eastern Sumatra, Demak Sultanate in central Java, Gowa Sultanate in southern Sulawesi, and the sultanates of Ternate and Tidore in the Maluku Islands to the east.

          Indonesia’s historical inhabitants were animists, Hindus, and Buddhists.[35] Through assimilation related to trade, royal conversion, and conquest,[citation needed] however, Islam had supplanted Hinduism and Buddhism as the dominant religion of Java and Sumatra by the end of the 16th century. During this process, “cultural influences from the Hindu-Buddhist era were mostly tolerated or incorporated into Islamic rituals.”[11] Islam didn’t obliterate the preexisting culture; rather, it incorporated and embedded the local customs and non-Islamic elements among rules and arts, and reframed them as the Islamic traditions.[17]

          In part, the strong presence of Sufism has been considered a major enabler of this syncretism between Islam and other religions. Sufism retained strong influence especially among the Islamic scholars arrived during the early days of the spread of Islam in Indonesia, and many Sufi orders such as Naqshbandiyah and Qadiriyya have attracted newly Indonesian converts, proceeded to branch into different local divisions. Sufi mysticism which had proliferated during this course had shaped the syncretic, eclectic and pluralist nature of Islam in Indonesian during the time.[17] Prolific Sufis from the Indonesian archipelago were already known in Arabic sources as far back as the 13th Century.[36] One of the most important Indonesian Sufis from this time is Hamzah Fansuri, a poet, and writer from the 16th century.[23]:4 The preeminence of Sufism among Islam in Indonesian continued until the shift of external influence from the South Asia to the Arabian Peninsula, whose scholars brought more orthodox teachings and perceptions of Islam.[17]

          The gradual adoption of Islam by Indonesians was perceived as a threat by some ruling powers.[citation needed] As port towns adopted Islam, it undermined the waning power of the east Javanese Hindu/Buddhist Majapahit kingdom in the 16th century. Javanese rulers eventually fled to Bali, where over 2.5 million Indonesians practiced their version of Hinduism. Unlike coastal Sumatra, where Islam was adopted by elites and masses alike, partly as a way to counter the economic and political power of the Hindu-Buddhist kingdoms, in the interior of Java the elites only gradually accepted Islam, and then only as a formal legal and religious context for Javanese spiritual culture. The eastern islands remained animist largely until adopting Islam and Christianity in the 17th and 18th centuries, whereas Bali still retains a Hindu majority.[37] By the late 15th century, the Majapahit Empire in Java had begun its decline. This last Hindu kingdom in Java fell under the rising power of the Islamized Sultanate of Demak in the 1520s; in 1527, the Muslim ruler renamed newly conquered Sunda Kelapa as Jayakarta meaning “precious victory” which was eventually contracted to Jakarta. Islam in Java then began to spread formally, building on the spiritual influences of the revered Sufi saints Wali Songo (or Nine Saints).

          Despite being one of the most significant developments in Indonesian history, historical evidence is fragmentary and uninformative such that understandings of the coming of Islam to Indonesia are limited; there is considerable debate amongst scholars about what conclusions can be drawn about the conversion of Indonesian peoples.[38] The primary evidence, at least of the earlier stages of the process, are gravestones and a few travelers’ accounts, but these can only show that indigenous Muslims were in a certain place at a certain time. This evidence is not sufficient to comprehensively explain more complicated matters such as how lifestyles were affected by the new religion or how deeply it affected societies.

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India Demands Data on UN Staff Misconduct, Use of Immunity

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India has demanded the secretariat disclose information about misconduct by UN staff. Flickr

United Nations, Oct 7: In an attempt to break the wall of silence around the crimes and UN staff misconduct and those on its assignments, India has demanded the secretariat disclose information about such cases and the immunity invoked against prosecutions.

Yedla Umasankar, the legal advisor in India’s UN Mission, touched a raw nerve here by criticising the UN on Friday for not vigorously following up allegations of serious wrongdoing by its employees who enjoy the equivalent of diplomatic immunity, a prized possession of its staff.

“It appears that the UN system itself may be reluctant to waive immunity even for serious misconduct carried out by its personnel while serving on its missions, so that such cases can be prosecuted by the host governments,” he told the General Assembly’s committee on legal affairs.

“Even a few of such instances or allegations of crimes committed by UN personnel is highly damaging for the image and credibility of the United Nations system and its work around the world,” he added.

His statement also touched on the practice of some countries that protect their wrongdoers at the UN.

Umasankar demanded that secretariat disclose how many cases of serious misconduct by UN personnel were registered and the number of cases where the UN refused to waive immunity to allow their prosecution.

He also wanted to know in how many cases the host country wanted the immunity waived so it can prosecute those accused; the number of times the UN asked the host country or the country that sent them to prosecute them; how many times it consulted countries before waiver of the immunity of their personnel and how many of them refused UN’s request to waive their citizens’ immunity.

The information he wanted does not cover the diplomats sent by member countries to represent them at UN bodies and enjoy diplomatic immunity with the nations hosting the UN facilities.

After scores of serious allegations of sexual misconduct by peacekeepers, especially exploitation of children, the UN vowed to uphold a policy of zero tolerance and began publishing data on such cases in peacekeeping operations including how they were dealt with.

Starting with the year 2015, it began identifying the nationalities of those accused.

However, it has not made public a roster detailing all the allegations and proven cases of serious misconduct across the entire UN.

While the focus has been on sexual exploitation and abuse reported on peacekeeping operations, Umasankar said that “at a broader level, the issue of accountability has remained elusive in some cases”.

He attributed it to “the complexities of legal aspects relating to sovereignty and jurisdiction”, the immunity or privileges that may be necessary for UN operations, and the capability or willingness of countries to investigate and prosecute the accused.

He noted that the UN itself cannot make criminal prosecutions.

While Indian laws has provisions for dealing with crimes committed abroad by its citizens, not all countries have them, he said.

Those countries should be encouraged and helped to implement such measures, he added. (IANS)

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Indo-Pak Peace Talks Futile Unless Islamabad Sheds Links with Terrorism, says Study

A Study by a U.S. think tank calls India and Pakistan talks futile, until Pakistan changes its approach.

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India and Pakistan
India and Pakistan. Wikimedia.

A Top United States of America (U.S.) think tank, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace called the relations between India and Pakistan futile, unless Islamabad changes its approach and sheds its links with Jihadi terrorism.

A report “Are India and Pakistan Peace Talks Worth a Damn”, authored by Ashley J Tellis stated that such a move supported by foreign countries would be counterproductive and misguided.

The report suggests that International community’s call for the India and Pakistan talks don’t recognize that the tension between the two countries is not actually due to the sharp differences between them, but due to the long rooted ideological, territorial and power-political hatred. The report states that these antagonisms are fueled by Pakistani army’s desire to subvert India’s powerful global position.

Tellis writes that Pakistan’s hatred is driven by its aim to be considered and treated equal to India, despite the vast differences in their achievements and capabilities.

Also ReadMilitant Groups in Pakistan Emerge as Political Parties : Can Violent Extremism and Politics Co-exist? 

New Delhi, however, has kept their stance clear and mentioned that India and Pakistan talks cannot be conducted, until, the latter stops supporting terrorism, and the people conducting destructive activities in India.

The report further suggests that Pakistan sees India as a genuine threat and continuously uses Jihadi terrorism as a source to weaken India. The report extends its support to India’s position and asks other international powers, including the U.S., to extend their support to New Delhi.

Earlier in September, Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) slammed Pakistan for its continuous terror activities. She attacked the country by saying that India has produced engineers, doctors, and scholars; Pakistan has produced terrorists.

Sushma Swaraj further said that when India is being recognised in the world for its IT and achievements in the space, Pakistan is producing Terrorist Organisations like Lashkar-e-Taiba. She said that Pakistan is the world’s greatest exporter of havoc, death and inhumanity.

-by Megha Acharya  of NewsGram. Megha can be reached at @ImMeghaacharya. 

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Delhi University Students Win the Enactus World Cup 2017

India wins the Enactus World Cup 2017

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Delhi University
India wins Enactus World Cup 2017. Twitter.

New Delhi, Sep 30: After an extremely tough competition between different students across the world in the Enactus World Cup 2017, Team India, represented by Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies (SSCBS), Delhi University emerged as the winner. The winning projects were project UDAAN and Mission RAAHAT.

Supporting the Government of India’s Digital India and Swachh Bharat Abhiyan mission, RAAHAT strives to effectively eliminate open defecation and provide safe sanitation in the urban slums; whereas, UDAAN aims at narrowing the digital divide between rural and urban India by setting up computer centres.

The Delhi University college team was led by the college’s faculty advisor, Anuja Mathur and student president of SSCBS Student President Aditya Sharma. The winning projects included 34 more members. The Enactus India and Enactus SSCBS were presented the Ford Better World Award of USD 50,000.

Also Read: Three Indian Women on Fortune’s Most Powerful Business Women

President and Global CEO, Enactus, Rachael A. Jarosh congratulated the Indian for winning the world cup and called the projects- RAAHAT and UDAAN, inspirational success stories of Enactus students, who are sowing businesses. She said that the projects address the real world challenges efficiently and innovatively. Enactus India President Farhan Pettiwala said that the two projects created by Delhi University students contribute to the country’s betterment, as they support the Government’s civil and social agenda.

Enactus is an international nonprofit organisation, with 72,000 students from 1,700 universities in 36 countries, which held its annual global event in London from September 26 to 28. A selected group of 3,500 students, business, government leaders and academicians across the globe were present at the event. Participants for the final competition round are qualified from over 72,000 university students. Each team has about 17 minutes to present their projects of entrepreneurial action.

Enactus works to nurture the entrepreneurial skills of students, and to address fundamental, social and economic challenges by developing innovative and experiential learning opportunities for students.

-by Megha Acharya of NewsGram. Megha can be reached at @ImMeghaacharya.