The Formation of Federal Indonesia, 1945-1949

The Formation of Federal Indonesia, 1945-1949

The Formation of Federal Indonesia, 1945-1949

The Formation of Federal Indonesia, 1945-1949

Excerpt

When hostilities ceased after World War II it became evident that a political struggle of considerable intensity was brewing in the Netherlands Indies, the overseas territory of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The interest of the world focussed upon the struggle between the Dutch and the newly established Republik Indonesia. This interest was magnified with the intervention of the United Nations. In pre-war days the culture of the peoples of the Indonesian archipelago had increasingly attracted the interest of the archeologist, the anthropologist, the sociologist the world over. In the post-war years the concentration of attention was upon political affairs. Such concentration has contributed to the comparative neglect of other aspects of Indonesian life. One of the fascinating branches of Indonesian culture from a comparative point of view was the position of adat law in the total social structure. Adat law connotes the principles guiding the every-day actions of the indigenous population of the archipelago. 'Adat' signifies the customary practices observed by village and regional groups of a population which had not adopted a western (Dutch) way of life, and which had not consequently adhered to western law in the form of codes and statutes. Such customary practices may be denominated 'law' inasmuch as for almost a century the Netherlands Indies government had provided that the indigenous population was to be 'left the enjoyment of its own administration of justice.' Thus the adat law of Indonesia was the law of the great mass of the autochthonous population. Adat law governed the institutions in the fields of family, inheritance, property and obligations throughout the archipelago. The adat law of Indonesia was a unique instance of accomodating traditional rules and at the same time ever-evolving rules of oriental society to the ways of the modern western world.

For decades Dutch and Indonesian scholars have studied adat law. They have described the content of the different fields of . . .

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