Sukarno. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Eloquent founding father whose oration marks the birth of Pancasila

IO – Indonesians commemorate the birth of Pancasila every June 1, coinciding with Sukarno’s stirring oration before the Dokuritsu Junbi Cosakai (The Preparatory Agency for the Investigation of Indonesian Independence) on June 1, 1945. 

During its first meeting session on May 29, 1945 at the Chuo Sangi-In building (now Pancasila building in Jakarta), members of the agency deliberated on the state ideology. 

The session lasted almost five days, and on June 1, 1945, Sukarno presented his ideas for the foundation of the Indonesian state. He called it “Pancasila”. Panca means five, while sila means principles. The first was to be “Nationalism”, second “Internationalism or Humanity”, third “Democracy”, fourth “Social Justice”, and fifth “belief in an Almighty God”. 

To refine the Pancasila formulation and create a constitution based on these five principles, Dokuritsu Junbi Cosakai formed a committee known as Committee Nine whose members included Ir. Sukarno, Mohammad Hatta, Abikoesno Tjokroseojoso, Agus Salim, Wahid Hasjim, Mohammad Yamin, Abdul Kahar Muzakir, Mr. AA Maramis, and Achmad Soebardjo. 

After several deliberative sessions, Pancasila was finally ratified during the PPKI (The Preparatory Committee for the Indonesian Independence) meeting on August 18, 1945. Here, it was agreed that Pancasila was to be included in the Preamble to the 1945 Constitution as the legitimate ideological foundation of the Indonesian state. 

Sukarno was born Koesno Sosrodihardjo on June 6, 1901 in Surabaya. Because he often had poor health as a child, his name was changed into Soekarno by his father when he was eleven. 

Sukarno, together with his comrade Mohammad Hatta, is best known as the Proclamator of Indonesian Independence on August 17, 1945. 

When he became President, he changed the spelling of his name from Soekarno to Sukarno to break with the Dutch spelling convention. However, he still used Soekarno in his signature because it is the one used when he signed off the proclamation text of Indonesian Independence. Moreover, it wasn’t easy to change one’s signature after using it for 50 years! 

After his accountability speech was rejected by the Provisional People’s Consultative Assembly (MPRS) at the fourth general session in 1967, Sukarno was relieved of his duties at the MPRS Special Session in the same year and replaced by Soeharto as Acting President of the Republic of Indonesia. 

Bung Karno, as Sukarno was endearingly known, died in Jakarta on June 21, 1970. (rp)