The Pancasila (pronounced / panʧasiːla / ) is the philosophy of the state of Indonesia . This name is formed from Sanskrit words panca , “five”, and sila “principle” or “precept”. It has been taken over from the five precepts of Buddhism (do not kill, do not steal, do not behave badly, do not lie, do not use drugs).

These five principles are:

  1. Belief in one God.
  2. A just and civilized humanity.
  3. The unity of Indonesia.
  4. A democracy guided by wisdom through deliberation and representation.
  5. Social justice for all Indonesian people.

The Pancasila was proclaimed state philosophy in 1945 by President Sukarno and was integrated in the constitution 1 .


The Gedung Pancasila, where Sukarno delivered his speech “Lahirnya Pancasila” the st June 1945

In 1945, faced with the need to assemble the various archipelagos, the future president Soekarno made Pancasila a receptacle for the patriotism of Indonesia. The ideology was announced in a speech known as “The Birth of Pancasila”. Indeed, the st June 1945, when the Dutch East Indies are still occupied by the Japanese , he speaks to the Dokuritsu Junbi Chôsakai ( “the Committee for the investigation of Indonesia’s independence preparedness efforts “). It sets out the five principles that he believes should form the future state of Indonesia.

1. The Nation . Soekarno insists that, although he himself is a Muslim, Islam , the religion of the majority of the inhabitants of the Dutch East Indies, can not be the foundation of independent Indonesia. For him, this foundation must be the principle of the Nation which he defines, reiterating the definitions of the Austrian socialist theorist Otto Bauer in Die Nationalitätenfrage und die Sozialdemokratie (1907), a ” Schiksalsgemeinschaft erwachsende Charaktergemeinschaft aus “, a “community of character resulting a community of destiny “, and the French historian Ernest Renan in a speech on st March 1882 toSorbonne (” What is a nation? “), A group of people united by “the desire to be together”.
2. Internationalism . Quoting Gandhi : ” My nationalism is humanity “, and denouncing European chauvinism, especially German, Soekarno believes that nationalism alone is dangerous and can lead to the principle of “Indonesia”. über alles “.
3. Consensus ( mufakat , word of Arabic origin), representation ( perwakilan , word formed on Arabic wakil , “representative”) and deliberation ( permusyawaratan , of Arabic mushawarah). Indonesia must be the state of “one for all, all for one”. Addressing Muslims, he sees in this principle a guarantee of the maintenance of religion.
4. Well-being ( kesejahteraan ), that is, there must be no more poverty in Indonesia and that capital must not dominate everything. For Soekarno, who quotes Jean Jaurès , it is not enough to have political democracy, there must be social justice, economic democracy.
5. Free Indonesia and a single God ( Ketuhanan yang Maha Esa ), in which “Christians pray to God according to the precepts of Jesus the Messiah , Muslims according to those of the Prophet of Islam Muhammad , Buddhists according to their books”.

Soekarno justifies the symbolic number of five by the five pillars of Islam, from the five fingers of the five senses, from the five Pândava brothers of Mahābhārata , and proposes the name of Panca Sila , the “five principles”.

Since its beginnings, Pancasila has been at the center of differences of opinion. The main area of ​​controversy was the first of the five “pillars”, the belief in one God (ketuhanan yang mahaesa). During the negotiations on this principle, the nationalists were satisfied that this formulation allowed religious freedom. However, the Muslims wanted another wording, by which it would be clearly defined that the religion of Indonesia is Islam.

A historical anachronism has been found in the Constitution. On August 18, 1945, the group that ratified the Constitution unanimously accepted that the term “Allah” be replaced by “Tuhan” (God), a more general term that was supported by Hindus. The word “Tuhan” is used in the preamble of the Constitution, but the term Allah appears in Article 9 which indicates the words of the oath of the presidential office. There are, however, alternatives to the presidential oath in the same article, which does not mention the name of God at all. By the way, the word “Allah” is used in the Indonesian Bible, but the pronunciation is different from the one used by Indonesian Muslims.

Apparently, many Muslims wanted an Islamist state where Muslims would be forced to respect sharia law . Therefore, they proposed an addition to the first principle: “with the obligation to follow Sharia law for adherents” (the Jakarta Charter , adopted on), but this was refused in 1945. Later, this led the elected national assembly in 1956 to create a new Constitution, to a stalemate in the “constituent”. In 1959, President Sukarno solved the problem by dissolving the Constituent Assembly and making the following decree: “We believe that the Jakarta Charter of June 22, 1945, is at the heart of the 1945 Constitution and that it works as a unity with this Constitution, and we, the President of Indonesia and the Commander-in-Chief of the Indonesian Forces, declare that the 1945 Constitution is reinstated “.

Notes and references

  1. ↑ Magazine Geo – No. 437 – July 2015 –


  • Soekarno, Lahirnya Pancasila (“Birth of Pancasila”), Guntur, Yogyakarta, 1949 and Laboratorium Studi Sosial Politik Indonesia, 1997