How ‘Ganesh ji’ on the note of the world’s largest Muslim country?

– infinite light

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday almost stunned the BJP and the Congress, urging them to put pictures of Hindu gods and goddesses Ganesh-Lakshmi in Indian currency. Making this appeal, Arvind Kejriwal has said that if Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country, can do this, then why not India?

The head of the Aam Aadmi Party has even said that 85 percent of the population of Indonesia is Muslim and only two percent of the population is Hindu, yet the picture of Ganesh ji is on his currency. Arvind Kejriwal raised this issue at around 11 am on Wednesday. After this the issue spread from TV channels to social media and internet.

According to Google Trends, after Kejriwal’s press conference, there has been a tremendous surge in searches for the keyword ‘Indonesia’s currency’. Internet users are curious to know why there is a picture of the Hindu deity Ganesha in Indonesian currency.

Why picture of Hindu deity in Indonesian note?

The BBC has found in its investigation that Indonesia had issued this note in the year 1998 under a special theme and now this note is not in circulation. If you look carefully at the picture of this note going viral on social media, then on one side the picture of Hindu deity Ganesh and a person is seen in it. On the other hand, a picture of some children studying is seen.

Astudestra Ajengrastri, a senior journalist associated with BBC Indonesia Service, says that having a picture of Ganesha in Indonesia reflects the diversity in the culture here.

She says, the theme of this currency note issued in the year 1998 was education. Ganesha is considered the God of arts, wisdom and education in Indonesia. The picture of Ganesh ji is also used in many educational institutions here.

The note also carries a picture of Indonesia’s national hero ‘Ki Hazar Devantara’. He fought for the right of Indonesians to education during the period when this country was a colony of Denmark. At that time only children from the affluent and Dutch community were allowed to attend school.

However, there is still a currency note in circulation in Indonesia which has a picture of a Hindu temple located on the Indonesian island of Bali. Astudestra confirms this saying that ‘the fifty thousand rupee note has a picture of a temple in Bali. The Hindu community is the majority in Bali.

However, it cannot be said that there are only symbols of Hinduism on the notes, because in other notes, symbols of different religions and communities have been given place.

Why is Ganesha so popular in Indonesia?

Hindus may be only two percent of the whole of Indonesia, but 90 percent of the population of the island of Bali is Hindu, but Hinduism is spread throughout Indonesia.

According to a report, in the 1960s and 1970s, thousands of people converted to Hinduism on the island of Java. If we look at Indonesia’s society and culture, many areas get a glimpse of Indonesia’s Hindu history. Indonesia has been ruled by several Hindu dynasties in the past.

Most of Indonesia was ruled by Hindu-Buddhist dynasties between the 7th and 16th centuries. Of these, the Majapahit Empire and Sri Vijaya Empire were the largest. During these times, Hinduism flourished in the Indonesian islands.

Many religions flourished in this empire too, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Animism, but the religious language remained Sanskrit. Prior to this, the Sri Vijaya Empire lasted from the 7th to the 12th century, with Sanskrit and Old Malay being the main languages. The influence of folklore and symbols is seen in the history of Indonesia even in the present period. The national symbol of Indonesia is Garuda, which is directly related to Hindu mythological texts.

According to the Ramcharitmanas, the Garuda bird helped Rama in bringing Sita back from Sri Lanka. Along with this, the picture of Ganesh ji is also used as a logo in one of the most prestigious universities of Indonesia, Bandung Institute of Technology. The name of Indonesian airlines is also Garuda Airlines, whose logo also uses the image of the mythical bird Garuda.

Along with this, Ramayana is being staged continuously since 1961 at one place in Indonesia. Along with Hindus, people of other religions are also involved in playing the characters associated with Ramayana. Along with this, keeping Hindu names is also quite popular in Indonesia.
photo courtesy: twitter

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