Discontinuity in Indonesian Political Representation: The Case of the ‘Sundanese Association’ (Paguyuban Pasundan)

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Date(s) - 28/03/2012
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Japanese Studies Centre Auditorium, Building 54 (next to the bus loop), Monash University, Clayton Campus


Monash Asia Seminars – CSEAS Seminar Series

Mr Iip Yahya

The ‘Sundanese Association’ (PP) will next year celebrate its one hundredth anniversary. Since its formation in 1913, PP has had its ups and downs, but continues to survive strongly in the present. PP has 38 branches across West Java, as well as special branches in various provinces and countries. It has 104 high schools spread throughout West Java, three universities in Bandung, and one in Sukabumi. One of PP’s universities, Universitas Pasundan, is amongst the largest and most popular tertiary institutions in West Java, and offers Masters and PhD programs. Its active members amount to around 120,000 people. Even though PP is an ormas, and not a political party, it has a socio-political role on the Indonesian political stage, especially in West Java. All candidates for governorship of West Java, for example, seek approval from the Chairman of the PP during their campaign, as do national figures who want to gain support from Sundanese people.

Nevertheless, the political role of the contemporary PP cannot be compared with the period during which the organisation was led by Oto Iskandar Di Nata (1929-1942). During that period, almost all Sundanese leaders on the national stage were PP activists, including Djuanda (PP General Secretary, Prime Minister of Indonesia), Ukar Bratakusumah (PP Secretary General, Ministry of Mines), Sanusi Hardjadinata (Institute of Economics Pasundan, a key figure of Indonesian National Party/PNI), to name a few. In the subsequent period, after Oto was mysteriously kidnapped and murdered in December 1945, the PP ceased “contributing” national leaders. The public frequently compares the contemporary PP with its predecessors of the pre-independence period, to the point where such comparisons have become a burden for the leadership.

This seminar will present an overview of the organisation. It will ask whether PP will be able to meet the expectations of contemporary society, and specifically whether it will be able to “contribute” national leaders from West Java. The presentation will also ask why nationalist organisations defined by ethnicity have not developed as successful political parties in the Republican period.

Iip D. Yahya was born in Tasikmalaya, West Java, Indonesia. He is currently a freelance writer and the Victorian correspondent for Pikiran Rakyat, the biggest daily newspaper in West Java. His research project concerned the history of writing traditions in Sundanese Islamic boarding schools (pesantren). He has studied Arabic Literature at IAIN Sunan Gunung Djati in Bandung, West Java and has written books on various themes, including children’s books and biography, as well as translations and adaptations.