Bali Hindus are fighting a spirited battle against the commercialisation of their culture and also against Islamic radicals who are targeting religious minorities in Indonesia.
Let’s begin with Donald J. Trump. Today he is the President of the United States of America and one of his companies is planning a hotel in Bali. The problem is that the planned structure, the Trump International Hotel and Tower Bali, a joint venture with a local Indonesian company MNC Group, may end up ‘angering the Gods’.
The hotel will overlook the 16th century Tanah Lot Hindu Temple where Gods inhabit, as per Bali Hindu beliefs. Here people believe that no one must build any structure that would be bigger than the height of a coconut tree as the act will leave the Gods displeased.
Bloomberg reported the story and quoted I Gusti Ngurah Sudiana, the local chief of Parisada Hindu Dharma Indonesia, the nation’s top Hindu organization as saying that:
“I would strongly recommend against any new developments that impact the temple. These things are sensitive in Bali. The Balinese don’t tend to speak up, but these things related to the sacredness of the temple are very sensitive, only the enforcement is too weak.”
In short, there are too many loose ends to make the situation complicated but Bali Hindus are a resilient lot. They are not willing to give up on their beliefs and are pushing to get heard.
And they will be heard too because Indonesia cannot afford to anger Bali Hindus who are a roaring majority in Bali (90%of total population).
Currently, 1.7% of total population of Indonesia is Hindu which is approximately 4 million Hindus out of the total population of 250 million. Besides Bali, Hindus live in Sulawesi (Central, South, and Southeast), Central Kalimantan, and South Sumatra (Lampung) as per Indonesia-investments.com.
Bali Hindus insulted by radical Islamic group but Bali Muslims stand by them
Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, the Christian Governor of Chinese origin accused of doing blasphemy against Islam by radical Islamic group Front Pembela Islam (FPI). is still suffering but the attack on Bali Hindus has turned the tables against the Muslim group.
Early this February, Police banned FPI from holding a rally against the Governor and also went a step ahead and booked this group’s spokesman Munarman for dishing out insult to Bali Hindus.
This happened after Bali Hindu groups filed complaints against the Muslim leader.
Muslim leader Munarman had accused the Pecalang for not allowing Muslims in Bali to perform the Friday prayers. Actually, some Balinese Hindus also say that Munarman is being accused of saying that the local guardian spirits, Pecalang, were being used to attack Muslims in Bali so that they do not conduct their Friday prayers!
On February 6, thousands of people rallied against FPI and accused it of, doing violent acts against other religious groups.This happened right after Bali Hindus were attacked by the FPI spokesperson. Gus Nuril, chairman of the Pagantara and a prominent cleric, even demanded the immediate disbandment of FPI after calling it an intolerant group who claimed to defend Islam but accused non-Muslims of being infidels. In short, Bali Hindus were able to score a win against FPI, but what about the Trump plans? That we will have to wait and watch!
Picture source: Social media