Senin, Juni 17, 2024

Hijrah and cultural awakening

Donny Syofyan
Donny Syofyan
Dosen Fakultas Ilmu Budaya Universitas Andalas

Muslims will celebrate the Islamic New Year (1st of Muharram) on Wednesday July 19, 2023. In general, Muslims commemorate it relatively quietly with prayers and readings upon hijrah, the year in which Prophet Muhammad emigrated from Mecca to Medina. While performing ritual reflection is important, the need for intellectual reflection of hijrah is equally necessary.

Inspired by its very nature—a desire for transformation—hijrah should practically touch on greater segments of society such as grass root and young people, which are sources of cultural power. Hijrah, therefore, should set the scene for cultural awakening not only for its capability of cementing our society in a very stronger manner but also making our nation respected considering its distinctive feature at the international level. I am of the opinion that the cultural revival is instrumental in pushing the transformation (hijrah) of the people and the country for better.

First of fall, developing creative economy to the full is very central. The opportunity of boosting the creative economy and industries are highly possible given our abundant human power on the one hand and our limited natural resources on the other. Instead of indirectly prompting university graduates to apply for government employees, the government should state stage for the burgeoning growth of creative economy.

Why are Bandung, Yogyakarta and Bukittinggi, to mention just a few, are famous for their economic magnetism? The answer is because they keep their reputation of being the centers of entrepreneurship, which are the key to boosting creative economy. Such an entrepreneurship will never develop without taking young people into account. In other word, creative economy requires two important components, namely entrepreneurship and young people.

Looking into the history of the Prophet Muhammad, it was found that the power of business and young people had been influential in the propagation of Islamic teachings under the prophet era at Medina. Nine of the ten companions of the Prophet which have been promised jannah (heaven) by Allah were businessmen. A great number of the Prophet’s supporters for the sake of propagation (dakwah) were young people. Many of those were entrusted as leaders on the battlefield.

Young people are considered as having capability of creating added values, making breakthroughs and applying trial and error approach. Considering their ‘nothing to lose’ mentality, creative industries expecting the massive growth of crazy entrepreneur, the famous author, the sought-after painter, the renowned musician, the amazing dancer, the respected film maker, the genius poet, the talented actor will certainly glow and grow in no time.

Furthermore, local art need to get fresh touch as a part of cultural awakening. Despite its overlapping with creative industry, local arts need to get special attention involving private and public collaboration. Like it or not, future development and preservation of traditional and local arts must go hand in hand with education institution and entertainment industry. While the former serves to generate public literacy to the country’s tradition, the former is helpful in protecting the traditional legacy in a scientific fashion. Basically, both target younger generation.

Entertainment industry and mass media could pave the way for the cultural awakening by exploring local mosaics. Instead of producing unrealistic sinetron (soap opera) in very long episodes, TV stations and production houses would be better off adapting local literary works and folklore to movie, like Siti Nurbaya, Sengsara Membawa Nikmat and Sangkuriang.

In addition, thanks to cooperation between TV industry and university, randai (martial dance and art from West Sumatra) might have English performance intended for wider international audiences. On this core, success story of Musra ‘Mak Katik’ Dahrizal to run randai performance in English at University of Hawai is a good instance.

The appeal of art, however, is closely linked to the development of tourism in this country. In terms of tourism, there is a public fallacy that it tourism is merely a matter of art exhibition and exploration of natural beauty. What is frequently ignored is the importance of habit as the country’s identity with its own selling point.

Many Indonesians misunderstand Western people as caring for no people given their respect for privacy, whereas in fact it is completely wrong in public sector management. They seem to be more professional and attentive since they have been exposed and trained at home since very beginning to say ‘please’ to ask for help, ‘sorry’ to express apology, or ‘thank you’ to convey appreciation.

Foreign visitors come to Indonesia due to the fact that Indonesians are famous for being people smiling faces. When we less smell at and get suspicious of foreigners instead, it is very likely that their visit to our parts of the country become their first and last one. Along with exhibiting our diverse art to visitors, our values and habits such as gotong royong (mutual collaboration) or respect for the elderly and extended family must be retained.

The spirit of hijrah teaches us how to enjoy genuine engagement of diversities within bonds of civility. Culture belongs to and unite people.

Donny Syofyan
Donny Syofyan
Dosen Fakultas Ilmu Budaya Universitas Andalas
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