Inter-area/Border Crossing

Organized Panel Session

4 - Heritage Networks Between Indonesia and India, the Non-alignment Movement of the 1950s, and Visions of Greater India

Friday, July 6
4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
Location: Jacaranda I, First Floor

Dominant historiography analyzed the 1950s India-Indonesia cultural diplomacy in the context of the Bandung Conference (1955) and the non-alignment movement. Instead, this paper argues for a 1950s cultural diplomacy-based re-alignment founded on the ideas of ‘Greater India,’ discourses of a shared civilizational heritage going back to an ancient Indianized Asia. Establishment of Indian Cultural Council in Delhi and in Jakarta provided impetus to this realignment by fostering exchange programs which brought a number of Javanese and Balinese scholars and artists to India. Further incitement came from the revival of Borobudur, the eighth-century Buddhist site in a Muslim-majority Indonesia, as an active site of worship and a secular site of contemplation on the occasion of 2500th Waisek (marking the Buddha’s Birth, Awakening, and Death) in 1956.


Focusing on these two moments of cultural-diplomatic exchanges and religious revivalist interventions re-connecting sites between Indonesia and India, this paper will provide insights into changing hierarchies in knowledge production regarding these sites at multiple levels – at inter-Asian, state-centered and, “ground-level.” Following an Indonesia-centred perspective, it explores parallel-alternative engagements with sites located in Indonesia to understand processes of belonging and exclusion towards visions of “Greater India” at transnational and local (Indonesian) level in the 1950s. Thus the paper inquires into the myriad ways in which visions of “Greater India” were used and their relationships to alternative visions within Indonesia that had to engage with Muslim beliefs, practices, and ideas central to the lives of the majority of Indonesia’s population.

Marieke Bloembergen

Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies, Netherlands

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4 - Heritage Networks Between Indonesia and India, the Non-alignment Movement of the 1950s, and Visions of Greater India



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Send Email for Heritage Networks Between Indonesia and India, the Non-alignment Movement of the 1950s, and Visions of Greater India