dinsdag 6 oktober 2015

Dr. Chaider Bamualim and his interpretation of Religion in West-Java

9 September 2015 Chaidar S. Bamualim defended his dissertation in the ceremonial room of Leiden University. It was early in the morning: 10.00, but nice conditions.

The first picture shows Chaidar together with Carel Stolker, Rector of Leiden University, in front of the statue of the first Indonesian  doctor of this university, Dr. Hoesein Djajadiningrat. Leiden University is fond of old and new traditions (mos or the equivalent of adat). One of these is that there must be a picture of the first and all later Indonesian Doctores.
The second picture is during the examination of 45 minutes with the living professors sitting in front of a great wall with pictures of their ancestors.

Chaidar was during a long period an assistant to Merle Ricklefs who wrote his trilogy on the history of Islam in Java. Especially for the recent period (1930-2010) Chaidar worked on the period when the contrast santri-abangan was very important and then declined after the 1980s. Chaidar pays much attention to two kebatinan or aliran kepercayaan, new Javanese religions. First is the Madrais of the Kuningan-Cigugur region. Second is the AKP, Aliran Kebatinan Perjalanan, risen in 1927 (about the same time as the official recognition of Madrais), developed in the 1950s, banned in 1967. Against a move towards more orthodox Islam (as represented by PERSIS, but also by dakwah at the ITB Campus), there was also a side move towards Christianity. Christianity (not mentioned at all in the famous book by Clifford Geertz, Religion of Java) even turned into Islam's Greatest Opponent (263). Up to recent clashes between (FPI) Muslims and Christians like the HKBP Church in Bekasi, are discussed. Bamualim's book is more a weighed analysis of the developments than a detailed description. Readers will need good background information to understand the many aspects that are touched upon in this rich book.
Above a picture of the fresh doctor with myself. Below the cover of the book with three symbols: cross for Christianity, rising moon and start for Islam and the gunungan or symbol of the wayang shadow play for the 'traditional' or even 'new' Javanese spiritualities. Representing the new pluralism in West Java. Thank you Chaidar for this often surprising and balanced book: from PERSIS and Darul Islam up to FPI and Dakwah at ITB. About the astonishing high number of Protestant Churches: 232 in Bogor and 196 in Bandung: sign of the immense spread and fragmentation of Protestant Christianity!

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