In Indonesia diversity is generally seen as a blessing and the biggest asset of the nation that needs to be celebrated and protected. Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (Unity in diversity) is the epitome of national identity and an essential source of Indonesian soft power.
Amid signs of growing intolerance, the book Indonesia - Emerald Chain of Tolerance by the Indonesian center for Islam and state studies (PSIK) is a timely and impressive compilation and reminder of real-life examples of tolerance in Indonesia - based on symbols, practices and personas. The mapping of multi-ethnic, multi-religion, multi-culture, multi-beliefs and intercultural and inter-faith practices in different parts of Indonesia provides rich realities of lived tolerance.
With 560 ethnic groups, each using and preserving their own group-and geographic-specific characteristics, language and wisdom - the tolerance of all cultures, religions and practices in Indonesia is challenging. But it seems to be fundamental in guaranteeing a basis for understanding others as a precondition of collaboration, togetherness and cohesiveness.
The next level after realizing tolerance in a community; in a society is inclusiveness, which in Indonesia is enshrined in the Pancasila as state ideology. And therefore, Pancasila is a national consensus that has been distilled from the every-day life of Indonesian communities.
The renowned scholar and co-author of this book Yudi Latif by referring to Sukarno advocates that the five principles of Pancasila could be converged as an essence into one principle: Gotong royong; which could be translated as mutual cooperation, jointly sharing and shouldering as well as finding common ground. In practice that means not only tolerating but also recognizing and appreciating the others.
Yudi Latif has been assigned by President Jokowi in June 2017 to lead the newly established presidential working unit on the implementation of Pancasila (see article below