A younger generation must learn to turn a critical eye

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Muhammadiyah youth leader Dahnil Anzar Simanjuntak. (Photo: Prive. Doc)

IO – The role of the nation’s founders in liberating Indonesia comprises a long historical record. Many groups, organizations, and religious communities came together to fight for an independent Indonesia. At the 75th Independence Day of the Republic of Indonesia, the Indonesian Institute held an online discussion with national figures on nationality and society. With the theme “Towards Indonesia” that you aspire to, the community is reminded again of the history of the struggle of the fighters for independence. 

A young Muhammadiyah leader, Dahnil Anzar Simanjuntak, said that the true independence that is felt today is built on many variables. So there should be no groups who feel the most responsible for Indonesia’s independence 75 years ago. The independence that was initiated through the dialogues of national leaders at that time was worthy of being emulated by the current younger generation. There should be no more egocentrism that can easily divide a nation which can be fatal. 

“Do not bring up final things, even if there are problems that must be resolved through dialogue forums, which are our modalities in our nation and state. Young people must come forward and must be reminded of history to add to the historical literacy of other youth, ones who have been left behind. Young people have to be critical in their social, political, and national life based on mutual respect for one another,” he declared. 

On this occasion, Dahnil explained clearly KH Ahmad Dahlan’s struggle to establish Muhammadiyah on November 18, 1912. An organization that carries the idea of renewal in the religious life and social relations, Muhammadiyah at least focuses on feeding citizens (providing services), schooling youth (establishing schools), and healing the ill (building hospitals). “However, it does not mean that the Muhammadiyah movement is intended for Muslims only or aims to convert the religion of the recipient,” he explained. 

Even though KH Ahmad Dahlan is engaged in the cultural field, it does not mean he is politically blind. He was active in two national pioneer organizations at that time, namely, Budi Utomo and Syarikat Islam, both of which focus on the political economy. Meanwhile, Muhammadiyah is in the field of religion and culture. Although not a political movement, Muhammadiyah often opposed the policies of the Dutch East Indies Government which intended to limit or torment the movements of Muslims. In its development, the Muhammadiyah movement has become an important element in the process of socio-political change in Indonesia. Muhammadiyah plays at least three roles: as an agent of a religious reform movement, an agent for a social change movement, and as a socio-political force. 

Apart from the central leadership, cadres and Muhammadiyah members were also involved in the struggle for Indonesian independence. As a signatory of Indonesia’s proclamation of independence, Sukarno is also a Muhammadiyah cadre. The Juanda Declaration which unites Indonesia’s surrounding seas, between and within the Indonesian archipelago into one unified territory of the Republic of Indonesia, was also made by a Muhammadiyah member. 

“It is also interesting to note that Muhammadiyah Magazine is also a pioneer in the use of Indonesian. Since 1923 the magazine has been using the Indonesian language. Therefore, it received the Pioneering Category Award as a medium for the dissemination of the ideas of the Indonesian Independence Struggle at the 2018 National Press Day (HPN),” he said. 

In line with Dahnil, Chair of the Islamic Community Association (PUI) Expert Council, Irfan Sauqi Beik, said that the younger generation must understand the historical flow of the nation which will enrich Millennials intellectuality. “The younger generation is ignorant of history, like people with amnesia; they don’t know their origins, they don’t know their background, so that certain groups can easily control them. The younger generation must become a new force in the history of the nation to fill independence by maximizing the potential of our nation. No need to fuss over the finished Pancasila. The younger generation now only has to fill in independence by still adhering to the nation’s ideology,” he explained. 

So to continue the history of the nation, the government has three important roles, starting from taking care of the nation’s ideology, human development, and the welfare of the nation. “In terms of function, the State also plays a role in the function of allocation, function of distribution and function of stability and struggle, namely creating economic stability and ensuring security from various threats,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Deputy Chairperson of the Indonesian People’s Consultative Assembly, Hidayat Nur Wahid, said that the current younger generation has a good understanding of the nation’s history which is beginning to be forgotten. “Do not let the younger generation be used by groups who want to change history, Pancasila is final and does not need to be changed, added, or even reduced,” he explained. 

Hidayat, who admits that he is proud of the emergence of future generations who understand enough about the history of a nation that does not forget history, the founders of the nation consist of scholars, ordinary citizens, and national figures. “We have gone through 3 orders where the old order changed to the new order by bringing up the Tritura (three demands of the people asking to dissolve the Indonesian Communist Party, Disband the Cabinet and Lower Prices). Likewise, from the New Order to the present there is a reformation where the people want freedom in democracy,” he explained. 

Hidayat further said that independence frames the unity and integrity of the nation which is the ideal of the nation’s founders. “The aspiration of this nation as stated in the 1945 Constitution is to present a government that can protect all Indonesians while advancing the welfare of the nation,” he said. 

Hidayat agreed that the younger generation must take a role in governance at the legislative, judicial, and executive branches, so that every product of law or decision concerning the lives of many people does not contradict the founding father of the Republic of Indonesia who prioritizes common interests over personal and group interests. (dan)