The Garuda Pancasila is the coat of arms of Indonesia. The main part of the coat of arms is the Garuda with a shield on its chest and a scroll gripped by its leg. The shield's five emblems represent Pancasila, the five principles of Indonesia's national philosophy. Garuda Pancasila was designed by Sultan Hamid II from Pontianak, and was adopted as national coat of arms on 1 February 1950.
History. Garuda, the vehicle (vahana) of Vishnu appears in many temples of ancient Indonesia. Temples such as Prambanan, Penataran, Belahan, and Sukuh depict the images (bas-relief or statue) of Garuda. In Prambanan temple complex there is a single temple located in front of Vishnu temple, dedicated to Garuda. However there is no statue of Garuda inside the chamber today. In the Shiva temple, also in Prambanan complex, there is a relief telling an episode of Ramayana about Garuda Jatayu tried to rescue Sita from Ravana's hand. The deified statue of King Airlangga depicted as Vishnu mounting Garuda from Belahan, probably the most famous statue of Garuda from ancient Java. Now the statue is one of the important collection of Trowulan Museum. Garuda appear in many traditions and stories, especially in Java and Bali. In many stories Garuda symbolizes the virtue of knowledge, power, bravery, loyalty, and discipline. As the vehicle of Vishnu, Garuda also bears the attributes of Vishnu, which symbolize preservation of cosmic order. Balinese tradition venerated Garuda as "the lord of all creatures that can fly", and "the majestic king of birds". In Bali, Garuda traditionally portrayed as a divine creature with head, beak, wings, and claw of an eagle, while has the body of a human. Usually portrayed in intricate carving with golden and vivid colors, as the vehicle of Vishnu or in battle scene against Naga (dragon) serpents. The important and noble position of Garuda in Indonesian tradition since ancient times has venerated Garuda as the national symbol of Indonesia, the embodiment of Indonesian ideology, Pancasila. Garuda also chosen as the name of Indonesian national airlines, Garuda Indonesia. Next to Indonesia, Thailand also uses the Garuda as its national symbol.
Scroll and Motto. The Garuda clutches in its talons a scroll bearing the National Motto of Indonesia, "Bhinneka Tunggal lka" which is an Old Javanese stanza of the epic poem "Sutasoma" attributed to the 14th century poet sage of the Javanese Majapahit Empire, Empu Tantular. The text was re-desicovered by the Dutch scholar Brandes from among the many lontar manuscripts among the Dutch booty called the Lombok treasure- looted from the destroyed Lombok palace in 1894. who is said to have committed the phrase to writing for the first time. The poem expounded a doctrine of reconciliation between the Hindu and Buddhist faiths: meaning literally "Although diverse, both truthful to Dharma- thus there exists no duality in Truth)"This spirit of religious tolerance was an essential element in the foundation and security of the newly emerging State of Majapahit and the thusly fledgling Republic of Indonesia. It is roughly rendered, Diverse, yet united or perhaps more poetically in English: Unity in Diversity.
Symbolism. The Garuda is the mythical golden eagle, common to both Hindu and Buddhist mythology. The Garuda was a chimera, having the wings, beak, and feet of the golden eagle, but a man's arms and trunk. The Garuda is commonly used as an emblem in South and Southeast Asian nations. The use of the Garuda in Indonesia's coat-of-arms invokes the pre-colonial Hindu kingdoms that spanned across the archipelago, from which the present-day Republic of Indonesia is understood to be descended. However, unlike the traditional anthropomorphic form of Garuda as featured in ancient temples inJava, the Balinese Garuda, or the national emblem of Thailand, the design of Indonesia's Garuda Pancasila is rendered in modern naturalist style. The design of Garuda Pancasila was inspired by the Elang Jawa or Javan Hawk-eagle (Nisaetus bartelsi) an endangered raptor endemic to the mountainous forest regions of Java. The Javan Hawk-eagle resemblance to the Garuda Pancasila is most obvious with the prominent crest crowning its head and the plumage coloured dark-brownish to chestnut-gold. By Presidential decree, the Javan Hawk-eagle was legally registered as considered as the national bird of Indonesia, and thus attributing the endangered species very high protection. As for the coat of arms, the Garuda symbolizes strength and power, while the gold colour symbolizes greatness and glory. The feathers on the Garuda of the Indonesian coat-of-arms are arranged so that they invoke the date of 17 August 1945, the officially recognized Indonesian Day of Independence. There are 17 feathers on each wing, 8 on the tail, 19 on the base of the tail (below the shield), 45 on the neck, corresponding to the "17/8/1945" international date format for Independence. Shield. The shield is a martial symbol, standing for defense of the country. It is divided into five sections: a background divided into quarters, colored red and white (the colors of the national flag) in a checkerboard pattern; and a smaller, concentric shield, black in background. A thick, black line lies horizontally across the shield, symbolizing the equator which passes through the Indonesian archipelago.
Emblems. Each section of the shield has a symbol corresponding to the Pancasila principles laid down by its founder, President Sukarno.
The Star. The black shield bearing the golden star at center corresponds to the first Pancasila principle, belief in one God. The color black represent the color of nature. Upon this shield at center is a golden, five-pointed star. This is a symbol common not only among Indonesia's sanctioned faiths of Islam, Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism, but of the secular ideology of socialism as well. This tenet of Pancasila has always been controversial, for it suggests compulsory religious belief as well as compulsory monotheism. Supporters of Sukarno's legacy, however, believe that this tenet was meant to unify Indonesia's population, who have diverse faiths and beliefs.
The Chain. In the bottom right quarter, on a red background, is a chain made up of square and round links. This chain represents successive human generations, with the round links representing women and the square links representing men. The chain corresponds to the second principle of the Pancasila, of belief in a commonly bound humanity.
The Tree. At the upper right quarter, on a white background, is the banyan tree (Indonesian, beringin). This symbol corresponds to the third Pancasila principle, the unity of Indonesia. The banyan is known for having expansive above-ground roots and branches. The Republic of Indonesia, as an ideal conceived by Sukarno and the Nationalists, is one country out of many far-flung cultural roots.
The Bull. In the upper left quarter, on a red background, is the head of the Javanese wild bull, the banteng. This represents the fourth principle of Pancasila, democracy by deliberation and consensus among representatives. The banteng is a social animal, so too is humanity, and decisions must be made collectively. The banteng was also adopted as a symbol of Sukarno's Nationalists, and later by his daughter Megawati Sukarnoputri's Indonesia Democratic Party of Struggle.
Rice and Cotton. In the lower left quarter, on a white background, are a gold-and-white paddy and cotton. These represent the fifth Pancasila principle of social justice. The rice and cotton represent sustenance and livelihood
I wonder about how a country known to the world known as "Japan" proudly call their own country as "Nippon", just like Germany call their country "Deutschland", Moroccans with their own "Al Maghribiyya". What about Indonesians?
Where did the name "Indonesia" come from? In the old colonial time, there were times when the people in this territory were called as Dutch East Indians. The term somehow wasn't favored by intellectuals, some of them tried to find other terms which they thought more agreeable. In 1850, an English ethnologist came up with the name Indunesians and Melayunesians to replace that term. "Indus" means India, and "nesos" means island. Actualy he preferred the term "Melayunesians", "Melayu" which means Malay and "nesos" which means island.
Not surprisingly, academics from the Netherlands were not really fond of these terms, but they couldn't do anything as the term "Indonesia" became really popular in academic circles outside of the Netherlands. Nationalist groups from the island looking for ways to express their political standings finally adopted the name. Ki Hajar Dewantara (Suwardi Suryaningrat) was the first Indoensian scholar to use the name "Indonesia" in his press bureau Indonesisch Pers-bureau in the Netherlands (1923).
Let's put aside the fact that "Indonesia" has already been established as our official name. The name "Indian islands" is a very incorrect way to call our archipelago. Even "Malay islands" would not suffice either, as the people in the eastern part of Indonesia has got nothing to do with the Malay. What is the right way to call our beloved archipelago, then? Didn't we have any term to call our cluster of islands back then? When you ask an Indonesian what alternative names does s/he got for Indonesia, you might come up with "Tanah Air" (which means Land and Water) and Nusantara. Now, what is the meaning of Nusantara?
To find the answer, we might have to dig into the ancient feudal times of our islands, to the history of the glorious Majapahit Empire to be exact. The Majapahit Empire which had a very big power over the islands had special terms for the areas under their sphere of influence. These terms were made famous by an otah made by a prime minister of Majapahit Empire, Gajah Mada, who vowed to unite "Nusantara". The terms are:
1. Negara Agung , the grand state, the core kingdom which covered the whole East Java and its surrounding areas.
2. Manca Negara, countries surrounding Negara Agung which receive strong influences from the Javanese culture that could even be perceived even today. This includes the entire Java island, Madura, Bali, and maybe some parts of Sumatra (such as Lampung and Palembang).
3. Nusantara, "nusa" means island and "antara" means other. It referred to the areas under the influence of the empire but were not exactly under its government, kingdoms which paid tribute to the empire.
Even though areas under the term "Nusantara" consisted of almost all of the areas now parts of Indonesia (and beyond, as it included parts of what is now Malaysia and the Philippines too), it still couldn't satisfy the need of a proper term as this term had a negative expansionist nuance in it and it doesn't cover the whole Indonesia either.
Still, "Indian islands" remained an annoying term. In 1920, Ernest Francois Eugene Douwes Dekker (who preferred to be called Setiabudi) introduced a new term for the country which had no word "India" in it, the name presented was "Nusantara". But this term is not the same with the 14th century one, it has a new spirit and meaning in it. Dr Setiabudi used the term in a non-agressive way, "Nusantara" is just the way he referred to the archipelago from Sabang to Merauke, an area of extend what is now known as Indonesia.
Furthermore, his version of Nusantara has a new meaning, as it does not have the meaning of "other island" like the one in Majapahit's time. His Nusantara is derived from the Javanese word "nusa" which means island, and the new "antara" was not taken from Sanskrit "antara" (which is a foreign word), rather, it came from a Malay word which means "between".
A fusion between the Javanese word and the Malay word created the new meaning of Nusantara, "islands in between". Yes, our archipelago are islands in between, between two continents (Asia and Australia), between oceans (Pacific and Indian), between cultures....
And what a beautiful name he came up with! A name that we could and proudly and full of affection say to ourselves: our islands, our country, our beloved Nusantara :)
Hoisting of the original flag moments after the declaration of independence on 17 August 1945.
The national flag of Indonesia, which is known as Sang Saka Merah Putih ("The Red and White") in Indonesian, is based on the flag of the 13th century Majapahit kingdom in East Java. The flag itself was introduced and hoisted in public at the Indonesian Independence Day ceremony, on 17 August 1945. The design of the flag has remained the same ever since. The design of the flag is simple with two equal horizontal bands, red (top) and white (bottom) with an overall ratio of 2:3. The flag is similar to the flag of Poland and flag of Singapore. The flag is identical to the flag of Hesse (a German state) and flag of Monaco (except for the ratio). Red represents courage, while white represents purity of intent.
History. Its colors are derived from the banner of the 13th century Majapahit Empire. Later, these colors were revived by students and then nationalists in the early 20th century as an expression of nationalism against the Dutch. The red-white flag was flown for the first time in Java in 1928. Under Dutch rule, the flag was prohibited. It was adopted as the national flag on 17 August 1945, when independence was declared and has been in use since then.
Alternative history. There is also another story about the flag of Indonesia, which is significantly related to the flag of the Netherlands. Under Dutch colonialism, every administration used the Netherlands (Red-white-blue) flag. The flag of Indonesia was prohibited. To symbolize the intention of forcing out the Dutch, the Indonesian nationalists and independence movement tore apart the Dutch flag. They tore off the bottom third of the flag, and separated the red and white colors from the blue color. The main reason was because blue in the Dutch flag was understood as standing for the "blue blooded" aristocracy. Conversely, the red color represented the blood shed in the War of Independence, while the white could be understood to symbolize the purity of the Indonesians.
Name. The official name of the flag is Sang Merah Putih (The Red White) according to Article 35 of the 1945 Constitution. The flag is commonly called Bendera Merah Putih (Red White Flag). Occasionally, it is also called Sang Dwiwarna (The bicolor). Sang Saka Merah Putih (The Lofty Red White) refers to the historical flag called Bendera Pusaka (heirloom flag) and its replica. The Bendera Pusaka is the flag that was flown in front of Soekarno's house a few moments after he proclaimed Indonesia's independence on 17 August 1945. The original Bendera Pusaka was sewn by Mrs. Fatmawati Soekarno, and was hoisted every year in front of the presidential palace during the independence day ceremony. It was hoisted for the last time on 17 August 1968. Since then it has been preserved and replaced by a replica because the original flag was deemed to be too fragile.
Symbolism. The red stands for courage, while the white stands for purity. The red represents human's body or physical life, while white represents human's soul or spiritual life. Together they stand for a complete human being.
Traditionally, most Indonesians have used red and white as their sacred colors, mixing the color of sugar (the red color comes from palm sugar or gula aren) and rice (white in color). Inarguably, until today, both of these are the major components of daily Indonesian cuisine or cooking. Apparently, the Javanese's Majapahit Kingdom also used this concept and designed their flag as red and white. Moreover, the red and white colors are also used for the flag of Indonesia's distant cousin, Madagascar. Etiquette. Flag protocols. Similar to most national flags, the etiquette covering Indonesia's flag is very strict and must be adhered to. • Etiquette relating to the order of precedence for the flag. Often more than one type of flag is flown simultaneously, for example the flag of Indonesian military. Below is the order of precedence for the flags: o National Flag of Indonesia o State Flag of Indonesia o Military Flag of Indonesia (in order of creation date) o Other Flag of Indonesia • The United Nations uses alphabetical order when flying national flags, including the national flag of Indonesia. This etiquette ensures that there is no one country's flag has precedence over another country's flag. • The Indonesian flag should never be allowed to drag along the ground as it is disrespectful to the history of the flag and the history of Indonesia in general. • When the flag is tattered or faded, that flag must be replaced with a new flag in a good condition. • It is very important to ensure the flag is always flown the correct way up. Care must be taken to ensure it is. • When in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, the flag should be destroyed in a respectful and dignified way, preferably by burning in private with appropriate care and respect. Flag display • The flag should be hoisted with the correct way up, preferably with a pole. However, if it is not possible, the act of hoisting could be done with a rope. • "Half Staff" or "Half Mast" - The flag is hoisted halfway up the pole to denote grief and mourning. In this case, the flag should be raised to the top of the pole first, then lowered halfway. • Manner of hoisting - The Indonesian flag should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously. Usually, the flag raising ceremony is accompanied by the national anthem of Indonesia (Indonesia Raya), and people should salute the flag. The hoisting should be timed so the flag reaches the top of the pole as the national anthem ends. • The Indonesian flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a manner as to permit it to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way. Furthermore, there cannot be anything on the flag such as drawings, words, pictures and marks, nor can objects be placed on the flag. Relocation In 2003, the governor of Jakarta, Sutiyoso announced his plan to relocate the original Bendera Pusaka from the State Palace to the National Monument. For security and financial reasons, the Rp 3.5 billion (US$388,889) project was delayed for one year. Of the Rp3.5 billion, only Rp 500 million was allocated for the actual relocation ceremony, while most of the remaining Rp3 billion was spent on procuring around 15 kilograms of gold for the conservation room and on security measures such as alarms and security cameras. The spending was proposed in the 2003 revised city budget. The plan was to install the flag in a 24-carat gold plated case in the Independence Room inside the National Monument. Inside the Independence Room, there are three most important relics from Indonesia's history: the Garuda Pancasila statue, the Nusantara (Archipelago) map and the original text of the Proclamation of Independence, which all are kept in the gold plated cases