Faculty of Cultural Sciences UGM in collaboration with Indonesia’s and India’s Foreign Affairs Ministries conducted ‘Indonesia-India Interfaith Dialogue’ from Wednesday (3/10) to Friday (5/10). The event to celebrate the 150 years of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi consists of Public Lecture, Photo Exhibition, and Movie Screening.
H.E. Mr. Shri M.J. Akbar, Minister of State for External Affairs, came to UGM to deliver a public lecture. He said for Indian people, Gandhi was not merely a thinker but also actively engaged in politics to fight for the right of Indian people who were then colonised by Britain.
Minister Akbar said the British colonial government had said that British rule would not fall apart for 400 years. But apparently, less than 40 years since Gandhi started his movement in 1919, India finally broke free of British power.
The Minister said Gandhi had made Indian people reflect themselves by introducing Indian nationalism. “In the past India was like other colonised nations in Asia which had kingdoms. After Gandhi was born, nationalism was introduced not by the leadership of a sultan or king, but leaders elected by people,” he said.
Gandhi, said the Minister, brought modernisation movement to India based on three things. First, each citizen had the right to voice their opinion. Second, freedom in faith with the spirit of justice. Third, gender equality and emancipation for women.
“On the last point, Gandhi said that women were key to a nation’s progress. He made them the centre of his economic policy. When a country invests in the women, the country holds its own future,” he said.
According to Minister Akbar, the fight of Gandhi had inspired other statesmen in the world. The fight for independence in India was like the thing in Indonesia. “Even, the ideology of Pancasila is similar to Gandhi’s teaching which contains freedom of faith, humanity, and justice,” he said.
Dr. Wening Udasmoro, M.Hum., DEA., Dean of Faculty of Cultural Sciences UGM, said that the Faculty was honoured to hold the event. “The 150 years of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi became a special moment to reflect on the ties between Indonesia-India through culture,” she said.
Meanwhile, Prof. Ir. Panut Mulyono, M.Eng., D.Eng., Rector of UGM, said the close ties of culture between Indonesia-India could be seen for example in the dangdut music in Indonesia which was more or less influenced by Indian music. “Hopefully, the close ties in culture can make the ties between the two countries stronger,” he concluded.