The Revival Of Hinduism in Indonesia



Amanah Nurish

Religion discourse in Indonesia has been a dense, yet, problematic issue to discuss. Although it is interesting to understand how religion develops in Javanese culture, but it would be so much exciting also to pay attention to Balinese life, where Indonesian indigenous religions, formed in Hinduism and Buddhism, are still revived there. Different with any other regions in Indonesia, which most of them already completely apply semitic religions, like Islam, Chritianity and Catholics, Bali is unique for its acceptance and its persistence to spirituality and its endurance to revive Hinduism as their major belief.

Clifford Geertz in his book “Internal Conversion in Contemporary Bali”, conveyed a discussion related to traditional Bali religion which he considered that most of Baliness are Hindus for they keep their mystical tradition. They are proud of being a Hindu island in a Muslim sea (1973: 181). However, one thing that is particularly interesting to note is that, this revival of Hinduism, as an ancient traditional local religion in Indonesia, in Bali, is still linked with the bad incident of massacre 1965-66 that markedly increased the number of religious conversions to Bali-ism (Hindus).

To this matter, I recall an idea from Maurice Halbwachs (1877 – 1945), a French sociologist, who had an interest to understand on how the past comes to be apprehended and rendered meaningful by individual. His core idea was about the existence of memory in social life. This memory does not naturally appear, yet, it is socially constructed; memory is a product of the individual’s interaction with his or her group, whether they are the family, the society, or even any other collectivity in which the individual is affiliated, including the religious group or community. This memory notion helps us to understand why one’s tradition may be preserved. This theory gives a light to comprehend about the question why past’s experience is still meaningful for present’s context. Following the argument, Halbwachs divided his notion of memory into two concepts: the social memory and the collective memory. Next, if we are applying Halbwachs’ argumentation in the religion context, his point of view about “memory” is able to help us to understand about how religion is able to preserve not only its tradition but also its ideology in religion. Collective memory then plays an important role in continuing tradition and ideology in one’s religion. In one side, it brings benefit to conserve one’s religious teaching, but on the other side, this collective memory is also responsible to the occurrence of violence and war among religious groups.


About icrs2011

Blog of ICRS 2011 Gadjah Mada University Yogyakarta
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