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Indonesian Political History - Research Paper Example

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1. The origin of Indonesia’s greatest political movement in modern times was undoubtedly, its freedom struggle, the Indonesian National Revolution. It fed on the discontent of the people of Indonesia with the colonial forces of the Netherlands that had been ruling over them…
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Download file to see previous pages An armed struggle followed between the Dutch and the largely Japanese-trained Indonesians, which culminated in the Netherlands’ recognition of Indonesian independence in 1949, after much loss of lives on both sides. 2. Japanese interests in Indonesia were closely linked to Japan’s colonial ambitions in Asia. It sought to establish itself as the biggest power in Asia after having achieved many victories, on the economic front and on the warfront. Japan also intended to gain an upper hand in the volatile situation that the Second World War presented. They sought to take over the reins of power in Indonesia from the Dutch. They were widely perceived to have dented the power and pride of the white western man and were thus welcomed in many Asian countries struggling under the yoke of colonialism. One of Japan’s main professed objectives in Indonesia was to end the system of administration that was based heavily on race. The objectives of the Japanese were not very different from the Dutch and this can be inferred from the imperialist measures that they undertook while in power. 3. Japanese policies towards Islam in Indonesia were the opposite of those that were followed by the Dutch. While the Dutch believed in imposing restrictions on the practice of Islam through the use of force, the Japanese administration was able to harness the energy of Islamic institutions so as to provide itself with support during the Second World War. Their choice of a course of action was also influenced by the lack of resources available to pursue any alternative strategy. The War had drained tem of the power to pursue any policy that was based on the use of force. Japanese policies were aimed at enabling Islamic structures to be centres of mobilization for the cause of the War and the nation. 4. While a majority of the Indonesian population is Muslim, the constitution does not grant a pre-eminent position to Islam. Based on the principle of Pancasila, the Indonesian constitution provides its citizens with the freedom to practice whichever religion they choose. The first president of Indonesia, Sukarno, was fearful of the secessionist impulses that may have arisen had Islam been declared the state religion. While there were uprisings for the cause of the inclusion of Islam as the state religion, they were defeated with the defeat that the first elections in Indonesian handed out to parties that were based on the principle of Islamic nationalism. Later on, Sukarno, the second premier of the nation, showed great inclination to grant Islam a prominent position within the constitution but failed. As a result, the Indonesian constitution does not grant any special status to Islam. 5. The establishment of a secular constitution received a mixed response from the Indonesian public. While there were protests demanding the inclusion of Islam within the constitution as the state religion, they were largely unsuccessful owing to the lack of large numbers to support the movement. The period of Sukarno’s reign saw a secular government because of the response that the Indonesian public gave to political parties with Islamic nationalism as its main agenda. These parties were able to get only a small portion of the total votes in the first Indonesian elections, signaling the Indonesian public’s aversion to the rise of Islamic politics. Even though Sukarno, during his tenure, tried to appease Muslim powers, the rise ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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