RoutledgeCurzon - IIAS Asian Studies Series

Hinduism in Modern Indonesia. A minority religion between local, national, and global interests

Martin Ramstedt

The book provides new data and perspectives on the development of 'world religion' in postcolonial societies through analysis of the development of Hinduism in various parts of Indonesia from the early twentieth century to the present.This development has been largely driven by the religious and cultural policy of the Indonesian central government, although the process began during the colonial period as an indigenous response to the introduction of modernity.

The contributors carefully assess possible future religious developments in Indonesia after the fall of Suharto, but also review the historical development of Hinduism in the country. By addressing how Hinduism has had to adapt to a Judaeo-Christian-Muslim notion of 'religion', its 'official' association with Buddhism and its predominantly Indonesian-Chinese constituency, these chapters highlight how many of Indonesia's ethnic religions have been labelled as 'Hindu' sects. As a result of this portrayal, Hinduism in Modern Indonesia suggests that Hinduism is largely seen as a religion at the fringe of a 'true religion' leading to the uncertain status of Hinduism in Indonesian society especially in the context of increasing Islamization witnessed since the late 1980s. Although Human Rights violations in Indonesia have received a great deal of coverage since the fall of Suharto, the increasing pressure on the Hindu community from Muslim and Christian fundamentalists has been largely ignored.

Written by specialists in the field, the chapters presented here provide much needed insight into the lesser-know facets of religious identification in Indonesia, furthering our understanding of how religious identites are negotiated. Those with research interests in religious development as well as students of Asian studies will find this book both interesting and thought-provolking.