Kaharingan, One of The Indigenous Beliefs in Indonesia

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5 main religions have been acknowledged by the government: Islam, Christian, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Confucianism. These religions became the major religions and has large follower each of the religions. However, not many people know that before any of these religions came to the country, there is another trust that already originated in a particular region. This trust is called an indigenous religion. The word indigenous itself refers to a thing that is originated or native to a particular region, including the geographical, people, culture, or even the belief.

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This indigenous belief refers to a specific belief that had been raised among the particular folk in a specific region. Usually, this belief celebrates or commemorates their trust in a form of a traditional ceremony or a ritual. In Indonesia, there are so many indigenous beliefs that had been around since the past. This belief started from our ancestors that pray to particular non-live things such as the stone, leaf, or even sacred animal or place. This worship is known as Animist and dynamism beliefs. Later, this kind of trust has developed and they even named their belief. One of which is Kaharingan belief.

Kaharingan belief is a local belief that originated in Kalimantan. People that first hold this trust is known as Dayak people. Kaharingan belief consists of live rules that have to be obeyed by the follower to achieve life satisfaction. Besides that, Kaharingan belief also teaches the follower to behave in certain actions when it is related to nature.

According to Kaharingan belief, there are so many gods and goddesses around them that each of them possesses the earth elements such as land, river, tree, stone, air, and so on. Before doing something that needs contact with the element, they have to ask for the god or goddess’s permission because they believe that everything that they do to the land, river, tree, stone, water, will return to them. It can be a good thing or the bad thing according to how they treat those sources.

On top of that, there is a supreme god called Ranying Manatalla Langit. Dayak people worship the god and goddesses through rituals and ceremonies. They do certain ceremonies to honor the god and goddesses such as Tewah/Talo, rejecting bala ceremony, and so on.

When Indonesia entered the new order period, the government asked people to choose one of the legal religions that had been acknowledged in Indonesia. Dayak people couldn’t choose one of those because it’s not their religion. However, the government forced the people to choose or owned a religion or they would consider as PKI. This made Dayak people desperate and ended up choosing Hinduism because only Hinduism has a similar tradition and worship ritual as theirs.

Since then, Kaharingan was known as Hindu Kaharingan as part of the Hindu Dharma religion. However, after the collapsed of the New order and transformed into the reformation era, the Hindu Kaharingan split up. One side of the followers remain as Hindu Dharma, the other one created a new religion called Hindu Kaharingan as the independent religion.

In Indonesia, only 5 major religion that is acknowledged by the government, and Hindu Kaharingan is not included. Because their religion is not acknowledged by the government, the people have to struggle to obtain the legal document that they need such as a birth certificate, marriage certificate, passport, or even identity card because there is no their religion that available on the religion options, therefore, they can’t choose and get one. As a consequence, they have to choose or force themselves to chose one religion provided. This is contradicting with the Pancasila that we have in Indonesia.

The fifth principle of Pancasila is “social justice for all people”. Also, there is a law state that every people have the same right of owning religion. This means that every people can own and hold their religion and the government has to facilitate that by providing the more religious option on the religion column in the identity card. Therefore, we can say all justice of Indonesians.

Until this moment, Kaharingan people still struggle to include their religion to be acknowledged. Because religion is something personal that can’t be forced just because of political benefits. It’s about our faith and what we believe in. Just the same as an atheist. An Atheist is about their choice. It has nothing to do with political and social benefits. Therefore, there should be an atheist option in the religion column when people are registering themselves for an identity card.

Writer: Queen Sahana Tazky Han
Student of Sampoerna University