Indigenous Affirmation of Harmony among Dayak and Banjar
In the era of political freedom following the end of Soeharto regime, identity politics goes strong in Indonesia. Ethnicity and religion often intertwines by which identity negotiation and accommodation sometimes ended in displease. This resulted in the outbreaks of communal violence in the recent years that demonstrated the prominent roles of religious and ethnic identities. This poses a question about the affectivity of diversity management in Indonesia.
Fortunately, there are always ways of negotiating and accommodating certain identities that helps people prevents the use of identity in conflicts. Local wisdom provides modes of identity negotiation and accommodation that aids people to constructively deal with conflict. This can be exemplified by the relations between Dayak Meratus and Banjar people in South Kalimantan through the ‘common platform’ called Badingsanak where both people believe that they are brothers.
This book elaborates the pattern of identity negotiation and accommodation between Dayak Meratus and Banjar. The book is based on a research in two villages, i.e. Hulu Banyu where majority of its inhabitants are Banjar people and Loksado where its inhabitants are relatively equal among Dayak Meratus people who are predominantly Christians and Banjar people who are Muslim majority and Balian believers. Both villages administratively are located in Loksado district, south Kalimantan province. The research identified key factors for the harmonious relations among people of different identities in both villages and elaborates situations that can trigger tensions and collisions if left unaddressed.
In the Muslim majority village of Hulu Banyu, the writer suggests that people have a strong ability to accommodate differences. However, this is not the case in Loksado Village where the composition of ethnic groups and religious believers are more balance. The intercommunity relations in this village are more nuanced marked by conflict and negotiation. Understandably, while the relationship between Balian groups within the Lokasda village has been more peaceful, sparks of conflict occurs in the relationship between the Muslim and the Christians groups.
The harmonious relations between Dayak and Banjar is made possible by their ability to establish a common root of origin. The mythology of both Dayak and Banjar suggests that they share the same ancestor. Potential for identity conflict based on different religious affiliation (Christian and Muslim) is pacified by the common notion called Badingsanak. It lays the foundation of the belief that that Jesus and Mohammad are brothers. This leads to inclusive interaction between communities in various sectors of life including religious ceremonies such as Maulud Nabi.
Additionally there is also a common sense of mutual interest in the concept of “bread and butter” which binds different communities in an exchange of interest. This prevents the escalation of conflict potential that is often inherent in multi-identity communities.
However, as the book suggests, it could not be said that the Banjar dan Dayak communities are totally immune from conflict. Potential for conflict escalation could come from marginalization, excessive exploitation of natural resources and economic gap between different communities. In this situation the state has a critical role in providing a just structure by making just distribution of political and economic sources in a way that encourages inter-ethnic relations between people in both villages. (AGA)
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