In the past, the town of Ende in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) was often seen as nothing more than a tiny, unimportant dot on the map of Indonesia.
Its greatest claim to fame, in many people's eyes, was being the place where Indonesia's founding father Soekarno was exiled from 1934 to 1938.
However, when you learn more about the town, you will find out that Ende was much more than just a ”place of exile” for Bung Karno.
To really understand what Ende means for Soekarno, you have to take into account his imprisonment by the then-Dutch rulers at Bandung's Sukamiskin Penitentiary from 1933 to 1934.
When Soekarno was exiled to Ende, his spirit was broken and he was at his lowest point, thinking his banishment to the remote town would kill the fight for Indonesia's independence.
As it turned out, Ende ended up becoming the place where Soekarno found himself again and finally crystallized his ideals of a free and united Indonesia, which years later would serve as the state's ideology under the name Pancasila.
Nowadays, more and more people are recognizing Ende's importance as the birthplace of Pancasila.
NTT Governor Frans Lebu Raya said that NTT people, especially in Ende regency, were proud that Pancasila was formulated there.
He said that it was in Ende that Soekarno realized that Indonesia was a plural entity and fought independence by promoting the pluralistic values of ethnicity, religion and race.
“In Ende, Bung Karno contemplated the values of humanity, peace, egality and tolerance. Ende is the womb of Pancasila,” he said.
Examples of the pluralistic values Soekarno learned in Ende include the various stage plays (called tonil in the local tongue) he wrote during his exile in Ende.
Ende Flores Foundation member Maria Matildis Banda said that Soekarno used the stage plays to voice his ideas of pluralism. The stage plays include Rendo Rate Rua, Amuk, Gera Ende, and Rahasia Kelimutu (Kelimutu's Secrets).
Rahasia Kelimutu tells the story of a clash between traditional and modern beliefs which created strife among villagers near Kelimutu Lake.
Senior local journalist John Dami Mukese said it was in Ende that Soekarno met with several Dutch priests who supported his fight for independence.
”It was these encounters that completely changed Soekarno's views toward the Catholic religion, which later became the foundation of his tolerance towards all minority religions during his presidency,” Mukese explained.
During this year's commemoration of Pancasila on June 1, a ceremony was held in Ende, in which Vice President Boediono officiated the Bung Karno Monument and the Bung Karno Exile House.
The monument is built in Rendo Park, which is located at the north side of Pancasila Square, where the ceremony took place. The Bung Karno Monument depicts Soekarno sat facing Ende Beach under a sukun (breadfruit) tree.
It is believed that Soekarno contemplated the five-principle ideology while enjoying the shade of the sukun tree.
Unfortunately, the original tree died but it was replaced by another of the woody perennial plants. The tree is 20-meters high and has five branches.
It was under this tree that Boediono officiated the Bung Karno Monument. Also in attendance was Education and Culture Minister Mohammed Nuh and Public Works Minister Djoko Kirmanto.
Governor Lebu Raya added that he deplored Indonesia's current condition, when moral decadence and corruption were rife across the nation. “I hope we all can contemplate the real values of Pancasila,” he said.
A representative of the Soekarno family, M. Risky Pratama, said the family was very proud with the inauguration of the monument and the exile house.
“A great nation will always honor heroes who laid the foundation of the nation’s high values,” he said, adding that Pancasila was a gotong-royong [cooperation] concept that involved various groups in Indonesia.