INTERNATIONAL ISLAMIC UNIVERSITYM.A ENGLISH LITERATURE & LANGUISTICS4th SEMESTER-SECTION ACOMPARATIVE LITERATURESubject: Among The Believers: Indonesia; Usurpations (Summary)SUBMITTED TO: MADAM RUBIA AKRAMSUBMITTED BY:HUMA ASLAMHUMA HAFEEZSUMAIRA BIBIKINZA GHAFOOR
Dated: 7thMay, 2013INDONESIA: USURPATIONSAssaults:The person named Shafi telephoned Naipaul when he was about to leave KaulaLampur, and gavehim the names of people participating in the Muslim Movement in Indonesia. Shafi said that thearmy in Indonesia was hostile to the movement. He wanted to meet the Narrator to say good byebut when he came, Shafi was not in his office; instead he sent an old man who had just cameback from Switzerland. The old man had gone to Switzerland for an Islamic business. TheEurope was converting fast into Islam.The old man told him about the seizing of an American embassy in Iran and that the Americanshad hired some Iranians to attack another western embassy in order t damage the reputation ofthe revolutionaries but when they found out, they led them to the American embassy instead.The Narrator went to Jakarta; he shows us the situation of Jakarta. There was red mud on theedges of road, iron fences, fruit vendors, buses and crowds, red tile roofs and many trees. Thehighways were filled with air pollution. Narrator feels the place very much like Asia. There werenews-boys and beggar-boys and men carrying heavy loads.Jakarta was also a city of statues and monuments which seemed unrelated to the life of city butstill they showed a respectable celebration of pride and freedom.Being in Jakarta enables one to think of its past colonial times and freedom struggle when Dutchhad ruled there for more than hundred years and Jakarta was known as the city of Batavia.Instead of the use of Dutch language, Indonesia language did not lose its grip even in Romanletters. Some of Indonesian words had roots from Sanskrit name, meaning ―the city of victory‖.Narrator stayed in a hotel named Borobudur Intercontinental. The ground design of the ninth-century Buddhist temple in central Java was the basis of the hotel logo. It was stamped on ashtrays, woven into carpet, in the elevators, on the tiles of the floor of the pool.The pre-Islamic past in Malaysia seemed to be only a matter of village customs, while inIndonesia and Java it reflected a great civilization. Islam is their formal faith which came in thefifteenth-century but Hindu-Buddhist past which lasted for fourteen hundred years before that,survived in many ways, this gives them a feeling of uniqueness.Japanese occupied Indonesia in 1942 and abolished Dutch language and theirrule. Dutchdisappeared after three hundred years. The Japanese made the nationalist leaders their positions
which were imprisoned and exiled by the Dutch and established Sukarno. They organized theIndonesian army. The army fought the Dutch for four years when they tried to reissue their ruleand it also held the islands of archipelago and suppressed the Muslims and Christians movementsin various places.It was not easy for Indonesia to get independence. The army power grew and it over threw theSukarno in 1965 because it claimed that the communist were planning, with the help of Sukarno,to take over the country.The archipelago felt a great terror due to the chaos and the frustration of independence.Thousands of people were arrested and Chinese were put to death. In the popular rebellions inarchipelago millions of people which were suspected to be communists were killed. Indonesiaare stilled shocked by these events.The army of Indonesia has made itself into a political organization. During army rule Indonesiapracticed fifteen years rest and it gained great progress. But the restless progressed in Indonesia,which is progressed by the new Islam that speaks of the injustices done to Allah‘s creatures andsatanic ways of worldly government.A man named, Suryadi described himself as one of the ‗Statistical Muslims‘ OF Indonesia. Hehad received no religious training. He was not sure about his belief hereafter; neither had heknown that belief was fundamental to the Muslim faith.Suryadi belonged to the nobility which means that he was not from peasantry. His grandfatherwas a bookkeeper in a bank during Dutch time which was a noble and modest job. Being noble itwas easy for him to go to Dutch school where he had not to pay. The Excellency in Englishspeaking was considered to be the quality of education.Siryadi got certificate in exanimate marked with the help of Dutch taught in German.In 1942 the Japanese occupied Java and news was that they would liberate Indonesia soIndonesians welcomed them as liberators. Suryadi was in university then. Teacher, professorsand supervisors were replaced by the Indonesians. The Indonesians used to preach nationalism inclasses. Suryadi was sure that the whole economy was subverted to assist the Japanese wareffort.The university authorities ordered to shave the heads; a Zen monastery which Suryadi felt like anassault on his personality. Another incident occurred which humiliated the Indonesians, was thata student was slapped by a Japanese officer. The protest demonstration made the Japanese secretpolice thirty teachers and students.In jail they were treated as political prisoners and they continued to be disciplined in the way ofZen monastery. Suryadi and his friends were released but they were expelled from university.
They were punished lightly in the jail because Indonesians nationalist leaders were stillcooperating with Japanese. Sukarno never believed that Japanese were going to lose the war.Suryadi had no ill feelings for either Dutch or Japanese. He did business with both; and respectedboth as people who honored a bargain.Army rule had appeared to revive the country but it seemed as if Japanese culture was beingasserted but at the same time Suryadi felt that the Japanese culture was misused. It was not whatSuryadi had wanted for his country.Suryadi‘s daughter had become a convert to the new Muslim course. She met a born-againMuslim and begins to change. She went out with her hair covered and wearing long gown andher mind begun correspondingly dull. Suryadi and his wife came to know that their daughter hadsigned a pledge to be ruled in everything by a particular Muslim teacher who was to be her guideto paradise.Suryadi asked his daughter one day that what if she goes out camping and there would be nowater for her ablutions before prayer. The daughter replied that she had checked in Quran that itis not necessary during travelling. Then Suryadi asked that does she have to consult the bookevery time before taking any step, doesn‘t she have her own mind to think. She replied that ―theQuran is the source of all wisdom and virtue in the world‖.The girl married to the born-again Muslim and remained subordinated to him. This was a sadsituation for Suryadi. One day Suryadi got a chance to talk to his daughter. He asked her toreside at the house he has bought for her and that‘s why her husband did not act on his own andlive without his parents. The daughter replied ―he‘s got inferiority complex, father‖. It was amoment o relief for him that her daughter still had a capability of judgment.Before separating, Suryadi said to Naipaul that people here are turn mystical, logical andrational. They start burning incense or sitting in grave yards if they want to seek something.Naipaul went to a market area in central Jakarta, the PasarBaru where he came upon a bookshop. There were books in English on technical subjects. There was also a large section inEnglish books on mystical or occult subjects like Taoism/Cbing, Paul Bruton‘s searches in secretIndia and secret Egypt. This was how the new civilization appeared: technical skill and magic, acivilization without its core.Sitor: Reconstructing the PastV.S Naipaul met a poet, named Sitor Morang, who had been connected with the later days ofSukarno. He had been imprisoned during the military takeover. He came from the North of thelarge island of Sumatra which was wilder than Java. Hindu-Buddhist influence was less thanMuslims. There were Christian areas and animist tribes as well; Sitor was one of the tribes andthat was the trouble with his autobiography which he wished to be overlooked.
Sitorhas lost touch with his past and background and he thought that writing without knowingone‘s past is just like recording a series of events that‘s why sometime he would put aside hiswritings and concentrated on his tribal background. He went back to his village in Somalia withan anthropologist who helped him reconstruct his tribal past.Sitor invited Naipaul to his residence. His house was apparently made up of bamboo. It was aGerman house with kind of diplomatic status. It was temporarily without an occupant, had littlefurniture. But there was a piece of contemporary Indonesian sculpture and many Indonesianpictures.Sitor was expecting a young man Adi at his place. Adi was Muslim, when he was asked ‗why‘ heanswered ―my parents were Muslims‘.Sitor introduced Barbara by saying that ―Barbara is Dutch‖. She was young, in her late twenties,and good looking; she had certainty and style. When Naipaul asked about the sweets that wereserved that, ―what are those things‖. She told him that that they are made of beans and that Sitorliked these.Barbara was married to Sitor despite of the age differences. He was fifty six and he was twentyfour. She worked in a Dutch centre for Indonesian handicrafts.Sitor and Naipaul had arranged to talk about Sitor‘s autobiography that morning but he had atoothache which was not permitting him to talk much so he showed Naipaul some of the recentcolored pictures of his tribes when he and Barbara visited the village together. Sitor came of achieftain‘s who showed that for Sitor there was a part of earth, that was absolutely andinalienably his.Sitor‘s ancestor‘s had ruled over a small area in North Sumatra for eighteen generations. Hisfather had fought the Dutch but had been defeated. After that he was appointed as anadministrator of the area by Dutch. He remained a chief; things went on as much before.The tribal area, the area ruled by Sitor‘s father consisted of three valleys. The photographsshowed pale paddy fields with bonds or walls of down in the valley. Sitor had spent his earliestyears there. He had no memory of any conversation with his father or mother. He was six whensent to Dutch school.They had extraordinary building skills. Big stone walls protected the village. The houses werebuilt in a square. They had horn roofs; a design that protects the houses against the strong windsin the area. They had corrugated iron for the roof.Sitor was in his last year at the secondary school in Jakarta when the Japanese came. One daySitor came across a Japanese soldier who asked him for his bicycle, as soldier‘s bicycle was hardto paddle. That was the limit of Sitor‘s direct contact with the Japanese.
Japanese ordered that all non-Japanese students were to return to their own islands. Takingadvantage he went back to Sumatra. He stayed in the village for three years. Though Sitor didnot finish school, he had read widely by the end of the war.The army that had been created by the Japanese emerged as rulers. Sitor was arrested for hisSukarno connections and imprisoned for ten years. In prison, he got to know people he had notknown; politically and socially learned a lot. When he came out of jail he had to be reinitiated tothe tribe for which a ceremony was organized. Sitor had a black and white photograph of thattime.Sitor had a reputation of a poet. Once he was giving a poetry reading at the house of a Dutchmanin Jakarta. There he met a tall and beautiful European girl; Barbara. She was a Dutch. Barbarawent back to Holland and Sitor had been invited to Holland by a cultural organization. They metin Holland for several tomes. She made him aware of intellectual movement in the west.They lived together when they came back to Indonesia. The tribe got to know, and the tribeinsisted that they get married according to tribal rites. For this, it was necessary for Barbara to beinitiated into a related but separate tribe.Sitor had made two attempts in the last three years and had discarded hundreds of pages, becausethe material was too rich and extraordinary. To him the essence of his experience was somethinghe had not been able to express. He had only been able to record events.During lunch hour, Naipaul asked Barbara that if she wanted to go back to Europe but shereplied as negative. Though, Sitor said that he would like to be invited for a long time. He saidthat there are too many things here that hurt him.For Barbara the glamour of Indonesia and Sitor meant a lot and for Sitor it was the glamour andsecurity of Barbara and Europe that meant a lot. For Sitor Indonesia was a land of hurt andfailure where he could get no job now, and where he could be snuffed out, without anyone oranything to appeal to. Sitor had written his poems and became famous. He had later become apolitician and a man of power.Analysis (Assault&Sitor: Reconstructing the Past)Naipaul uses descriptive passages as he describes the condition of Jakarta in a detailedparagraph. He mentions ―roads were edged with red mud‖, ―corrugated-iron fences‖, buses withsmoking exhausts‖, ―a feeling of great choked city‖, the highways marked with rising smog‖.―News-boys and beggar-boys with deformities worked the road intersections‖. This kind ofsarcastic tone and imagery incorporation was the themes of futility and decay.Throughout the chapters Naipaul has frequently talked about the historicity of Indonesia. He hasmentioned the Hindu-Buddhist past of Indonesia which had lasted for fourteen hundred years.Other than that Naipaul presents different historical events such as the abolition of Dutch
language by the Japanese when they occupied Indonesia in 1942. In this way he also fulfills therole of journalist reporting.There is a detailed characterization presented in his travelogue. A character named Suryadi isintroduced. Naipaul describes his age, his physical features, complexion and about his residenceas in the book he mentions ―Suryadi was in his mid fifties, he was small, dark frown, fraillooking. He was born in east Java…….‖There is another important character named SitorSitumurang: a poet. Naipaul describes him as ―asmall man of fifty-six, with a small bony face, Chinese-Negvito, with bristling eye-brows, acanvas shoulder bag with books gave him an odd touch of contemporary undergraduate style‖.Naipaul frequently uses ethnographic details in his book as he mentions a ceremony of Sitor‘svillage, for being reinitiated into the tribe. For this ceremony the skull of his grandfather wastaken out of the stone sarcophagus with the lizard of good luck carved on the lid. Sitor held aplate with this skull and a lemon, the lemon an agent of cleansing.There is a use of dialogues which authenticate his writings. Here is a dialogue between Suryadiand his daughter, when he said, ―But don‘t you have a mind any longer? Do you have to go tothat book every time? Can‘t you think yourself now?‖ she said‘ ―The Quran is the source of allwisdom and virtue‖.Naipaul seems to be replicating the image of Muslim in Indonesia as being passive which heauthenticates through the views of Suryadi being presented as an eye witness to his point ofview. Suryadi says, ―You know how people are like here, but perhaps you don‘t, they turnmystical; logical, rational people. They start burning incense or sitting up at night in graveyardsif they want to achieve something. If they feel they are frustrated, not advancing in their work orcareer.Naipaul uses vivid and long descriptions as when he describes the basis of the hotel logo ofBorobudur Intercontinental. The ground plan of the Buddhist temple in cultural Java was thebasis of that logo; three concentric dotted circles within five rectangles, stepped at the cornerswith the rippling effect. It was stamped on ashtrays; it was woven into carpets; in the elevators; itwas rendered in tiles on the floor of large pool where the ripple of blue water added to the rippleof pattern.To conclude, Naipaul‘s travel narratives are replete with these writing strategies, their mainfunction being to enhance and convince the reader of the ‗idea‘ or ‗mood‘ which needs to becommunicated, and at the same time, to be invoking some form of ‗narrative authority‘, not tomention his intense exploration of ‗self‘.Deschooling:
the narrator met AdiSasonoatSitors place, who suggest him to visit traditional Islamic villageschool known as Pesantren ; that will help him to understand Indonesian Muslims. Adis businessadvised narrator to visit modern pesantren, there was a famous one near Yogyakrta, Borobuduand there was an old one near Surabaya.the village school were different from the western style schools, set in Asian country side,because they preserved harmony Between community and school, village life and education.Adis friend told narrator that Ivan Illich, who had given the theory of deschooling, also visitedIndonesia to look at pesantrens. the narrator was accompanied by a nineteen year old boyPrasojo; who had been to Arizona, on scholarship by American Field Service. he was fluent inEnglish. he enjoyed in Arizona and was grateful to American Field Service. Prasojo was wearingjeans with the AFS lebel stitched at the hip pocket. he had Chinese appearance, and was ofmedium height, but his father was a bulky man of Indonesian appearance.narrator and Parsojo went to Surabaya through Garuda airline. the narrator draws the imagery ofland as overpopulated and the rivers were muddy and there were rice fields around Surabaya.The houses were narrow, they were at a little distance from the road and the yards were clean butshady. there were banana trees, coconut, mango and sugar cane cultivated at the land ofSurabaya. The rice fields began right at the back of houses. narrator feels it hard to associate Javawith old kingdoms and empires and was over crowded by the people. The population was fourmillion at the beginning of the last century and now it has reached to eight millions.Prasojo told him the word wongcbilik, which was considered as insulting and old fashioned; butwas used the word for the people of Java. Some people called themselves noble, raden and usedthe letter R. They built their houses with a distinct style and these houses had a hat shaped roof.The houses containing red tiles roofs and walls of woven bamboo were of poor and concretehouses were for not so poor. In traditional Javanese house ventilation was permitted by the wallsof woven bamboo and the light came through gaps in the roof and those houses didnt require awindow but concrete walls require window for ventilation. There were no gates but gateposts ofvarious designs i.e. of pyramids or diamond at the top. These posts at first suggested the singleownership of the land and people were the remnant of the architectural style of the last HinduKingdom of Java, the kingdom of Majapahit that disintegrated at the end of 15th century.Indras city was painted on the bus which was taken as a figure from the Javanese puppet drama;and was no longer the Aryan god of the Hindu pantheon. Prasojo told the story o the localMuslim legend of the five pandava brothers who represented the five disciplines of Islam andnarrator believed that Prasojo didnt have any idea of the legend and the story came from theancient Hindu epic of the Mahabharta which had taken Javanese roots and had been adapted toIslam.In the afternoon they reached the town of Jombang; and there was the old pesantren. Jombangwas full of schools and the little school girls were chattering, with cover heads, blouses and
sarongs. Then they entered the muddy rural streets and the pesantren was so ordinary looking.There was the fence and behind the fence there was double story concrete building with few treesand in the centre of the yard there was a mosque. Boys in shirts and sarong were sitting at thefloor, reciting an arabic text.They passed by a newspaper board, to the office at the side of the mosque. The boys weremoving along the veranda. They stared at both of them and soon they encircled them. Theybecame a crowd as they move along the dirt lanes and muddy gutters. There was mud andrubbish outside the rough kitchen. Then a man of four feet ten wearing a black cap took them toa building near mosque. Prasojo and narrator sat down and the man told them that they arecreating the disturbance, and after sometime it was revealed that the man in the black car had noauthority. The narrator hand over a letter and asked him to take it to his leader. But a pesantrenbeing a traditional and unstructured didnt have a principal but a kiyaki or leader.The narrator asked Prasojo to talk to leader but he didnt want to interrupt the teacher whileteaching and both of them decided to wait, meanwhile man with the black cap entered with theletter in his hand. He hadnt found the leader. Prasojo took narrator back to the room and wentfor finding someone. After sometime Prasojo came back with two men. One was the student andthe other was English teacher and after some conversation in Indonesian with the teacher,Prasojo told Naipaul that teacher would take them to another pesantren.Thepesantren they reached now was newer and well-constructed. There they met Mr. Wahid,who knew about pesantren. In Hindu Buddhist days in Java, a pesantren was a monastery whichwas supported by the community in return for the spiritual guidance and it was easy for SufiMuslims to take over such places and continue as a counselling centre for people when the oldcivilization cracked. A man can visit the leader any time for guidance and there was no formalcourse for the help, in this way pesantren could be said to be unstructured.In the end of the 19th century, in the Dutch time, villagers began to change the Pesantren into theschools for children. Islam was changing in Java and the Sufiside was becoming less important.TheJombangpesantren had been established in 1896, but that remained the religious place wherepesantren could go for advice. Leaders of pesantren met after every thirty five days to discusswhatever issues had been arisen and narrator had said that it was a relic of the Hindu Buddhisttime that the leader of the monasteries met after every seven weeks. The Jombangpesantrenlooked different and the main gate was closed and the lights were dim, and the boys werepretending to study because light was so dim.They spent their night in Surabaya. British had fought the Indonesians in Surabaya in 1945 andafter that they left for Yogyakrta, through the Jombang road and the stabbed gateposts that spokeof the Hindu Empire of Majapahit. They stopped at Majapahit museum. There was a templeoppositeto the village lane. It was a green lane full of shade. Prasojo didnt know the significanceof the temple except that it had been built without machines.
Prasojo told Naipaul at the Jakarta airport where there were photographs of antiquities ofIndonesia, that Japanese with their swords cut off the heads of the buddhas but narrator said thatMuslims were the greatest cutters of the noses of the statues; Prasojo didnt accept that at first butafter that he remarked that it was done to prevent the people praying to them. They continuedtheir journey again Prasojo fell asleep from time to time and narrator was gazing at the fields.In the afternoon Prasojo woke up and he was alert again. He spoke about the beauty of thecountry. He told about the dating habits of the afternoon and the time was between4 to 6. Prasojotold him that it wasnt easy for them to be abroad because they got homesick for everything theyhad experienced all the day. An Indonesian is well aware of his country and nothing wentunconsidered. Then Prasojo talked about some of the oddities of his time spent in Arizona. Oncehe met one of his neighbour and as a matter of courtesy asked him where he was going, and theboy said thats my business, which was considered rude in Indonesia. Indonesians were morecourteous then the people of Arizona.Prasojo wished to become a writer and wrote a hundred page autobiographical essay,MederBuhan Casa Grande "Merden is not Casa Grande", Casa Grande was the place wherePrasojo stayed in Arizona, and Merden was the name of his village in Java. At sunset they cameto the temple of Prambanan and the onle thing that amazed Prasojo was that, temle wasnt madeof machines.A group of local girls went giggling along the balustraded terrace, the balustraded was carvedwith the scenes of Ramayana, the Hindu epic, that they had made their own. Prasojo knew theepic with the reference of puppet theatre. They moved further to Pabelan, and that was thepesantren showpiece and Prasojo had high hopes of that. It was the traditional Islamic teachinginstitution and it gave no diploma, "unstructured" a cooperative self-supporting institution.Teacher and student working together, that was a self-help organization, something in harmonywith the village life.There they met Taufiq and he said that there was not permanent office staff, people of pesantrentook it in turn to be in the office and that morning Taufiq was in the office because that was histurn. Taufiq introduced another man who spoke English well. They talked about environment.Ecological concern sounded modern and it had also been deemed Koranic and that was thereason it was incorporated in the new Islam. Then narrator and the young boy who was fluent inEnglish started conversation and during that he said to the narrator that he looked like Prophet.Prasojo outraged on that and said Nobody knows what the prophet looked like". Taufiq stoppedthem and asked them to go outside and left the young boy in the office. in the sandy yard theysaw an old man with black cap making bed. Narrator asked Taufiq that who taught them andTaufiq said that they taught one another themselve.Girls were picking the coconut roots and were admired by Prasojo. Taufiq said that they weregathering fuel; on Friday they dont have classes. Prasojo then offered him to have a look at girls
dormitory, but narrator refused to do so. they moved to look at a group that was cleaning the pooland a middle aged man was supervising them. Taufiq told them that man founded the pesantrenin 1962.On a board there were photocopies of articles in Indonesians and the English about the pesantren.Three of them were in English and they talked about the interaction between community andschool and in one article Ivan Illich was mentioned and that Pabelan was a perfect example ofdeschooling.They walked back to the office. Narrator was puzzled by Taufiqs description of the pesantrenand he said to Prasojo―I think its a bad school; and Prasojo replied to him that he couldnt saythat, because it is unfair to spend fifteen minutes at a place and made assumptions about that.Then Narrator referred the novel Nicholas Nikel by Charles Dickens in which he described aschool like that." Nicholas Nikleby. I would hate to be forced to stay in a place like that" andPrasojo said that it would be criminal if the narrator made the same remarks.Prasojo was annoyed by that, because he believed in the pesantren system and he hadnt been toPabelan before but he respected the pesantren system. Prasojo was hurt by narrators words andwhen they came back and car stopped he said that he didnt want to be a guide any more. ButNarrator apologized him. In the evening they went to a gathering at the house ofUmerKayamanda little of the mystery about pabelanpesantren was resolved there. Umar was abig, attractive of late forties and a teacher at the university in Yogyakrtaanda writer as well. Theysaid to the narrator that he misunderstood the Pabelan.They said to him that he was misled by the language and that he had gone on Sabbath when therewere no classes. When Taufiq said that there were no teachers, he meant that there were noproper teachers. Pabelan was mainly religious and Islamic but it taught other subjects as well,and it had a laboratory and a library as well.Both of them went back to Pabelan to see what had been missed. There was a man sitting at theoffice as a spokesperson and narrator asked him about Taufiq. He replied that he was washingclothes. They went to see Taufiq washing clothes. Then they went back to the building whereyoung girls with tight headcovers were chanting Arabic. The narrator asked that Taufiq had toldhim that there were no teachers but the secretary replied that by this he meant that Taufiq himselfwas a teacher and was learning by different people, so he was a student as well. The narrator hadmisinterpreted Taufiq.Analysis (Deschooling)Naipaul, has always sought to position himself as a lone, stateless observer, devoid of ideologyor affiliation, peers or rivals - a truth-teller without illusion. Naipaul‘s limitation of visiondominates his writing because he cannot transcend his apparent ―nativist‖ bias and exclusivefocus on the local as opposed to the regional or the global. Taking interviews of some persons
randomly, he makes totalizing assumptions in a very subtle and twisted way about a rich,diversified and complex religion, culture and civilization like Islam. As it can be mentionedthrough the text that Naipaul said that Muslims were the greatest cutters of the noses throughouthistory. At another place he made an assumption about the Pabelan Pesantren, "I think its a badschool" and that "if I was a boy and my parents sent me to a place like that, I would hate it."Naipaul‘s works take the reader on a journey of experiences from the local to the global andfrom a narrow perspective to a broader and more encompassing vision. Naipauls works are set inmany places and explore many themes of dissatisfaction, decay and he focuses on the ugly anddarker aspects of Islamic states."we walked about the narrow dirt lanes and muddy gutters between the houses at the backof the compound...there was mud and rubbish outside the rough kitchen shed"Naipaul has done characterization in a detailed manner. Naipaul has told his age, physicaloutlook, and dressing,"Prasojo, a nineteen year old college student...Prasojo had been to Arizonafor a year on a scholarship given by the American Field Service. He spoke English well, with anAmerican accent...he was just above the medium height and of Chinese appearance."Naipaul has used dialogues to provide authenticity to his text, and the use of dialogues provideshis travel writing gives a glimpse of fictional elements. Here is a dialogue between the narratorand Prasojo: ―you can‘t say that. You can‘t spend fifteen minutes in a place and make up yourmind about it.‖ And narrator replied that ―we didn‘t spend fifteen minute.‖V.S Naipaul has mentioned the historicity of traditional Islamic village schools known asPesantrens, he said that in Hindu—Buddhist days in Java, a Pesantren was a monastery whichwas supported by the community in return for spiritual guidance.Naipaul has drawn condensed, stinky, ugly and dark images while presenting Indonesia. He wasmore prone toward highlighting the sinister, gloomy, dark or bleak aspect of nature. As he saidthat the land was overpopulated and the rivers were muddy and there were rice fields aroundSurabaya. The houses were narrow, they were at a little distance from the road and the yardswere clean but shady. There were banana trees, coconut, mango and sugar cane cultivated at theland of Surabaya. The rice fields began right at the back of houses. Narrator feels it hard toassociate Java with old kingdoms and empires and was over crowded by the people. Thepopulation was four million at the beginning of the last century and now it has reached to eightmillions. Description of the people of Java and the structure of their houses. They built theirhouses with distinct style and these houses has hat shaped roof. The houses containing red tileroofs and walls of woven were of poor and concrete were for not so poor. In traditional houseventilation was permitted by walls of woven bamboo and light came through gaps is the roof andthey didn‘t require a window.The Rice Goddess
Umar kayam and V.S Naipaul left for one of the villages below the volcano of Mount Merapi . Itwas one of the most beautiful village that had been evolved over the ages and reached a kind ofperfection. Rice fields were on more than half of acre. Many kinds of bamboos were creativelyhad been used in furniture and household products. Construction of houses were very traditional,in every house there was a small room at the back of the pillared main room. Considered asshrine-room of the Rice Goddess named as ‗Devi Sri‘.Along with Umar we went to Linus‘s village. Linus was poet and catholic, his belonging wasfrom farming family. Linus father converted as catholic to marry Linus‘s mother. Linus fatherwas headman and he had to see different projects of government that were carried out forfarmers.Umar was well aware of this area. During the revolution the Dutch had invaded Yogyakarta; hewas in the students ‗army and shared his experiences. Linus house was of the Javanese patternand there was a catholic symbol above the inner door. In bookshelf there were books and thecollected poems of T.S Eliot that was given by BBC on winning 2ndprize in poetry competitionorganized by them.Hospitality at Linus‘s home was fabulous. One dish was brought by Linus‘s younger sister andthen another girl entered the room who was elder sister of him. Once his elder sister was ill anddoctor injected a wrong injection that damaged her nervous system. So, poet‘s house has atragedy story too. His mother entered the room; she was beautiful lady, well dressed but small inheight. She came to see us and without discomfiture always seemed to be about to turn intolaughter. She with Umar had conversation that was in Javanese language that was different fromeveryday language. Umar told me later that the conversation was about rituals of welcome. Shealleged that she had to go for getting one of his child report from school, that is why she couldn‘treceive them on time and she apologized for it.When we left the Linus‘s house he shared with us that his mother was worried about his job.According to V.S Naipaul Linus‘s mother must be proud that Linus was poet. But Linus clarifiedthis notion and said she had no sense of poetry. In fact, according to her poetry was somethingthat had been written already in old traditions. However, Linus‘s was asked to write column incultural paper for twenty five dollar a month.Islam in Indonesia didn‘t came as civilization rather as a faith. Muslims used places for religiousactivities were there already but used for some other purpose previously. So, there was nothingspecial in construction of mosques. Near mosque there was a catholic church as well with similarshed that mosque had, church was as bare as mosque. Christianity was faith of colonizers andlike Islam it came in these villages as a complement to old faiths. Islam was religion of thepeople that had served Indonesian pride during the Dutch line.We walked through the village to the house of the Muslim Koum . Umar translated ‗Koum‘ as‗elder‘ of Muslims, called in by families on important occasions like funeral, birth, and
anniversary or on religious ceremonies to perform Salamatan ritual. This ritual had to do with theconsecration of food and its distribution. His house was next to rice fields and whitewash turningto black. He didn‘t invited us inside and came out instead stood with us in shed of tree. Helooked more like a farmer than a priest. It was strange to know that duties of ‗koum‘ includedwashing dead bodies of Muslims and shrouded them for burial. He had inherited position ofkoum from his father. He saw himself as successful man who had lived a good life. He seemed tobe satisfied with present condition of his village. The only regret of past he had was whenJapanese occupied Java. On asking a question about it, he said that time was awful and filledwith chaos. There was shortage of food, cloth and almost of every basic need one has. He had torun away often as that village was searched when Dutch had invaded Yogyakarta.On question about Sukarno who was leader against Dutch he replied he was a great andhandsome man. Beauty has great importance in Indonesia said by kayam. As Umar asked thequestion from him he replied that he had heard about Sukarno in 1945. Whereas, Umar andNaipaul was expecting to hear about Sukarno in 1930 or at time when Japanese brought Sukarnofrom exile.So, the old man had heard of Sukarno only after independence in August 1945. All of a suddenSukarno appeared as leader with an army and also a man followed because he spoke well andhad nice looks. Koum used to live in a hut, Umar put a question to old man and the old man said,‗it‘s the way of Islam‘. A way that was not followed anymore, only few Muslims lived likeMuslims. But situation got better by steps took by government of making religious subjectcompulsory that helped young generation to improve their knowledge about religion.Then, Umar showed traditional Javanese house, we went there on his scooter. It was few minutesaway; environment was very traditional, every girl had a doll, but it was living dolls: a littlebrother or sister held on the hip.Islam, like Christianity, complemented the older religions. People could not say precisely fromwhich religion they belong. People said ‗I am a Muslim, but‘ ‗I am a Christian, but‘.Umar told a story about Prambanam villagers. Prambanam were in conflict about their religion.In one way they appeared to be Muslims and believed on Prophet and Paradise. On other sidethey liked Hindus epics and puppet shows based on Mahabharata and Ramayana. So,Prambanam people decided to declare themselves Hindus. But now the issue was that they didn‘tknow what they should do as Hindus. They had no priests and no idea of rituals they shouldperform.so, finally they decided to returned to being what they had been in past, people ofcomposite religion.Umar Kayam lived opposite to Chinese burial ground. He told them that people of china wereindustrious, successful and Chinese graveyard spirits were likely to be good spirits. But somepeople didn‘t want to hear about this. People who lived close to the spirits of the dead alsoovercome living epics that have become moral stories like Ramayana and Mahabharata.
These stories weremore than just a story. They were of legends and battles they had. WhatsoeverPuppet masters interpreted politically, socially or culturally mystically leaves the issue open.Puppet plays bear any number of repetitions, because more the audience knows the more itunderstands and interpretations constantly changes.As Islam was part of composite religion and there were many questions raised about Islam so theideology was studied in more detail to answer those questions. In Indonesia population was toohigh and Government family planning system, was threatening as it gives less protection thenrequired. Especially in case of food that was more needed.At Pabelan Naipaul had been given a copy of an article from an unnamed magazine, it was aninterview of Christian by Muslims Kiyai In which all the facts about today‘s Islam was given.The Koum of Linus‘s village said that young people were learning more about Islam at schoolsand for this reason they are more interested in faith. But knowledge that Koum had was of oldIslam and Islam they understood afterword was not Koum‘s Islam. The Islam that was nowintroduced to people, borrowed new ideas about evilness of machine and misapplication offoreign –aid. Islam had given idea of late twentieth century raised issues of politics. Thispolitical Islam was Rage, chaos.One day in Yogyakarta tourists visited from Japan, Germany and Australia. One of them werepreparing a scholarly paper on the charcoal-burners of Java. Naipaul got to know about this sadidiosyncrasy from a sociologist that Australian apparently discovered about people who wereselling tomatoes or repairing shoes or pushing food carts are Charcoal-burners. Australianprepared that paper in period of two months that was again disappointing because it might makejob easy but would cause severities in future .Naipaul received a call and had to left Yogya buthe was sad as he had missed visiting palace of Yogyakarta and many historical places . He wentback to Jakarta to Borobudur intercontinental.The Loss of PersonalityThe Borobudur Intercontinental situation changed at Christmas. Most of the people from therewent back to their homes to hills or to villages. Now Borobudur offered cut-rate holiday for localpeople and now local people came with their families.it was recognized way to spend holidays.Children ran up here and there in corridors, nannies holding kids.one, Chinese family doing rightthings but unfortunately not enjoying. People enjoying in pools and from fifteenth floor I couldsee them relaxing chilling in pools. The feeling of wrongness was there. All that had been doneduring the fifteen years of peace could be ignored.th richer the country became, the better it wasmade to run, the easier it was for its creative side to be taken for granted.in the town, as in thevillages, every improvement made matters worse.
‗The loss of personality‘ this was theme of Darma-sastro. He was high civil servant andconcerned with department of technology and we met in his office. He wasn‘t handsome but hadauthority and presence. He had good connections with high nobility and that was something thatfavored him in his life.Darma-sastro shared that ‗Among us there are now people who have lost their identities andpersonalities. He said that people who migrated from villages to town had left their associationswith villages as they thought that going back to their villages would be degenerations. On thesame time they were not considered to be western individuals .Darma-sastro shared that some ofthem have been abroad but their minds have stayed in the country. They live there but never atewestern food. Because these were the people who went abroad for some purpose and would getback to Indonesia. In their own country they were not considered to be from noble class so theywent abroad so that they can come back with new dignity and get wealth and respect in society.It‘s really saddened that before them duty of noble people were to guide the society about rightand wrong. Whereas, now they even didn‘t know difference between right and wrong.in societyof Indonesia there were number of individuals who were morally good but they don‘t haveauthority to implant that goodness in society.From top view of Jakarta was beautiful, area was spread by trees, red tiled roofs and only fewroads visible that was followed by traffic. Jakarta included urban areas as well as villages.nostreet maps could record these twist and turns of lanes. Few villages had houses made ofconcrete but few covered with fruit trees and gardens. these were the villages were leaders areappointed and situation are far better than rest of the areas of Jakarta, but only few rightguidelines were required to them for development in their villages.Rag-pickers in their finely made bamboo stick baskets carried all the garbage and filteredmaterial that could be sold out. At every open space like gardens there were children asnumerous as chickens. One morning Naipaul and Prasojo walked through a place where an oldman and his son were using bamboo tree to pick the red fruit. They saw us and with greatgestures offered us fruit. Fruit to them was like a money they pick it to sold.in this village peoplestill followed old traditions and behavior of old civilizations. Prasojo said there were people thathad lost their dignity and became rag-pickers. They were the people who were squeezed out bythe fertility of Java from civilization of Java, people at the very bottom who had lost theirpersonalities as much as Darma-sastro‘s people at the top.This country needed wealth and skills but there was rage about the loss of old order and the oldknowledge of good and bad .Finally holidays ended all the multinationals and economistsreturned.There was peace in the corridors everything came back to its order.Analysis (The Rice Goddess &Loss of Personality)Dissyanake and Wickramagamage gave three types of travel writing; experiential information-oriented and intellectual- Analytic. Whereas, V.S Naipaul travelogue exists in third category i.e
intellectual-Analytic.in this voice of author emerges. Further it can be said that its ‗observationand depth of analysis‘. During the course of travelogue ‗Among the Believers‘ Naipaul‘spersonal point of views on observations and his analysis about different instances is prevalent.He has given every single detail staring from setting of locations to characterization, dialogues,imagery, and history, social and political aspects of Indonesia in detail depending on his ownobservations.Therefore Dissyanake and Wickramagamage has also given three formal aspects of Naipaul‘stravel writings .They argued that Naipaul‘s assumptions, actual travel and note taking , return tocenter and re-organization of events could not be said as actual travel writings. Because it ismore influenced by author‘s personal interpretations and views based on notes that he tookduring his travel experiences.Throughout in his travelogue to Indonesia he has described historicity. As in chapter of ‗The ricegoddess‘ he mentioned about heroic figure Sukarno and asked questions about him to knowdetails of history from other characters.as Umar asked Koum ‗when he first heard ofSukarno…he says in 1945…I was expecting to hear about Sukarno in 1930‘s when Sukarno wasexiled‘.Naipaul has given the explicit ethnographic details describing welcome rituals of Indonesian‘s as‗It was the Indonesian ritual of welcome,…no one wished to be first to eat or drink; and it oftenhappened that the tea, say was drunk right at the end, when it was cold‘. Naipaul‘s way of givingdescription about ethnography is indeed creative. He tries to give every minor detail to givereader a whole picture.When it comes to characterization Naipaul gave head to toe detail of characters. Whiledescripting about mother of Linus he said ‗she was small and slight Indonesian way, and shemight have passed unnoticed in the streets. But now …her beauty shone; and it was possible tosee the care with which she had dressed.‘His travel strategies and techniques, along with his fictional elements are fully intertwined at thispoint. His interviews are transformed into fictional dialogues. As its prevalent throughout thistravelogue that Naipaul has asked question from different characters and interweaved hisexpectation .While questing ‗koum‘ about rituals of Indonesians he shared his view as ‗ from myHindu childhood I recognized the ritual as Hindu survival, and I thought of the Muslim ‗Koum‘as a kind of successor to the Hindu priests .V.S Naipaul by journalizing justified his travelogue ‗Among the Believers‘ through referring toarticles, newspapers and documentaries. As at Pabelan he has been given by an article from anunnamed magazine. It was interview by a ‗Christian lay person‘ with a Muslim Kiyai or Koum‘.By this he described details about Muslims specifically leaders living in Villages.
Similarly, imagery he represented in The Borobudur International seems to be very savageimagery about natives of Indonesians. As he described it as ‗children ran up and down incorridors and plays with elevator…one Chinese family, doing the right thing for the holidays butnot enjoying‘. ‗The head of the family, an old man with a ravaged face, wore a singlet without ashirt.‘ So, throughout imagery that Naipaul has presented is not a pleasant imagery of Indonesianrather it seems that he only focused on darker side of Indonesians. Naipaul has drawn condensed,stinky, ugly and dark images while presenting Indonesia. He was more prone towardhighlighting the sinister, gloomy, dark or bleak aspect of nature.As his fictional and non-fictional works reveal, V.S. Naipaul has an expressed loathing for thecultures and political aspirations of many third-world societies. His book, Among theBelievers (1981) testify to that. They deal with his visits to four non-Arab, Muslim countries:Iran, Pakistan, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Based on brief visits to these four countries, he makescategorical presumptions about a rich, diversified, and complex culture like Islams. Heextrapolates whatever contradictions he gleefully spots in the Muslim individuals he interviewsin these countries toward totalizing assumptions about the whole societies to which thoseindividuals belong.Mental training in Bandung:It was the rainy season. Even on bright days, southern Jakarta was hidden by cloud, skyscrapersand greenery and red roofs fading away. The land seemed flat, but there were hills to the south,and they showed when the cloud lifted. Up in those hills were the holiday bungalows of peoplewho wanted to get away from the heat and humidity of Jakarta.A freeway, cutting through agricultural land—the cause of student protest at one time, but nowthe freeway took much traffic—led part of the way to the hills. When the freeway ended it wascrowded Java again, with a narrow road winding up through unending village (occasionallydensing up to little towns), past vegetable and fruit stalls, to tea plantations, over which raincloudand mist drifted, mixed with the black exhaust of buses and trucks and scooters. Here and therethe sodden earth at one side of the mountain road had slipped, and the roots of a tea bush,surprisingly thick and long, hung loose above the road.Bandung of the famous postcolonial conference of 1955, with President Sukarno and Mr. Nehru;Bandung of the cool climate, one of the many Parises of Asia that people spoke about in colonialtimes; Bandung also of the famous Institute of Technology, founded by the Dutch, and inevitablythe forcing ground of revolution. Sukarno went to Bandung; his title of ―Doctor Engineer‖ camefrom this institute.And Bandung still had a radical reputation. It was one of the centres of the Islamic revival inIndonesia. Many of Prasojo‘s Jakarta friends had gone there for the holiday weekend, to attend athree-day Islamic ―mental-training‖ course at the mosque of the Institute of Technology.
The course was being given by a man famous among Indonesian Muslims, Mr.Imaduddin, anelectrical engineer and an instructor at the institute. Some people in Jakarta thought Imaduddinbrave; others thought him dangerous. He had been released from jail five months before, after ayear inside. His name, Imaduddin, Arabic rather than Indonesian, hinted at the kind of Muslimhe was.The outskirts of Bandung were more Javanese than Parisian in the dusk, with the dirt sidewalksand the makeshift roadside stalls. The colour of the langsatfruit was considered the perfectcolour for an Indonesian woman. The fruit was pale-ochre, a pale adobe colour; and the girl onthe scooter had a clear, southern-Chinese complexion.It was in the older, colonial part of the town: impressions, in the darkness and lamplight, of wide,silent streets, houses set back, and of a big administrative building in whose carved roof Java hadbecome only an architectural motif, a piece of Dutch colonial exoticism.The cylindrical tower of the mosque was ―modern.‖ It was past seven, and in the open pavedspaces between the mosque and its ancillary buildings, groups from the mentaltraining class,boys and girls, was waiting for the evening session to begin. Soft girls‘ voices called from theshadows, ―Prasojo! Prasojo!Imaduddin was telephoned, and someone led us to his house. Before we could get out of the car,Imaduddin himself came out of his house to greet us, a man of medium height, broad-shouldered,wide-faced, smiling, and open; and he swept us inside.Imaduddin read the letter of introduction Prasojo had brought. His face lit up as he read; he saidhe was honoured. He looked less than his forty-eight years. His skin was smooth, his dark eyesbright, and he had a wide, humorous mouth. He was attractive, full of welcome. But how, heasked, had I got to hear of him? I mentioned the name of a Jakarta journalist, and Imaduddinsaid, with a laugh, ―But tell him I am still fighting for my freedom! After five months. Theinstitute hasnot given me any duties this year.‖Aurthor asked about his name. He said, ―It‘s Ima-dud-din. It means the pillar of the faith.‖ Theinterrogations had been tough in jail. The first had lasted twenty hours, but Imaduddin had nostories of maltreatment. Among his fellow prisoners there were some famous men. Imaduddinhad met and talked with Dr.Subandrio, who had been foreign minister at the time of the armytake-over in 1965. Dr.Subandrio had been accused by the army of plotting a communist coupwith others, and he had been sentenced to death. Three days before the execution QueenElizabeth of England had made an appeal for his life and he had been reprieved.After being setting free from prison, but he hadnot been given any duties at the Institute ofTechnology after his release. All he was doing now was his Islamic missionary work among theyoung. His mental-training courses were well known. He had started them seven years before
and had even done a few for Muslim student groups in England. Then Imaduddin went for hismental training.The mental training had been going for an hour when I got back. The class was in the shed likeclinic building attached to the mosque. The floor was tiled; the green blackboard was written onalready; the lights were fluorescent. The trainees sat on folding metal chairs with broad shinybacks. There were more girls than boys, and the girls sat on the right, the boys on the left. Thegirls wore head scarves or head-covers in pretty colours—yellow and green and lilac and pinkand purple and white. Every trainee carried his name on a green card. The instructor was a small,moustached young man in a flowered shirt. Imaduddin was sitting at the back of the room. Hetold me when I went and sat beside him that we were witnessing an exercise in―communication.‖Four or five trainees were sent outside, and the instructor, a tape recorder in his hand, read out astory—an account of a motor accident—to a young man. One of the students outside, a girl, wasthen called in. The young man began to tell her the story. She asked questions; he becameconfused; the class laughed. The trainees were used to the puppet shows; they had the instincts ofactors. The mental-training class became more and more like a puppet show; and the hilarityincreased as the story was passed on, more and more distorted, from one trainee to the next.Imaduddin said, ―All this is being recorded. At the end it will be played back, so that they cansee how much the original story has changed. It is to help them when they go out into the worldto start preaching Islam.‖ Then it was time for the serious part. They had learnt important things:the value of inquiry, rational analysis.It seemed to me that the deductions might work against them, because the message they weregoing to take to the world was extraordinary: a divinely inspired Prophet, arbitrary rules, apilgrimage to a certain stone, a month of fasting. But we were well within Islam now, and itsarticles were beyond question. Inquiry and analysis were for internal matters: the hadiths, thetraditions and reports about the Prophet. Some hadiths were more reliable than others; peoplewho went by unreliable hadiths could easily find themselves committed to un-Islamic ways. Andthe trainees had gone straight to the point: the game they had played had led their thoughtsdirectly to the hadiths and even to certain passages in the Koran. These passages were read out.And the langsatgirl on the back of the scooter seemed far away, part of another, frivolous world.One boy, I was happy to see, did a swift cheat, taking a piece from a neighbour and adding it toanother‘s pattern. There was a shout and clapping from a group of girls: they had completed. Itwas like bingo.They had learnt five things—five was a sound Islamic number, there being five Islamicprinciples. ―Cooperation is indispensable for the common goal. Those who give up easily cannotachieve. You have to give others without asking. Knowing each other is also indispensable.Perseverance‖.
All that had come to them from the game. Even with the little cheating that had taken place theyhad gone straight to the Islamic idea of unity or union: men abased together before the creator,and bound by rigid rules. There was an unspoken corollary: everything outside that communitywas shut out, everything outside was impious, impure, infidel. They were the righteous and thesecure; they were happy in their reinforced faith. And again pertinent verses from the Koranoccurred to some trainees. Again there was that display of scholarship and inquiry as the pagesof the book were turned, and trainees and instructor read various verses.Imaduddin said, ―The instructor is calling upon me to read a poem. It is by Iqbal. This is the lastsession of the mental-training course, and I always end it by reading that poem by Iqbal. I chooseit because it is very emotional.He was so varied. He used tape recorders and Western psychological games for his Islamicmental training. He had a mullah‘s passion; but he also jogged. He had lived through atremendous period of Indonesian history; he had been acquainted with great Indonesians.Imaduddin was born a Muslim in Sumatra.Everything was contained in that beginning: to that beginning there had only been added events,tools, and age. Imaduddin told him about his father; ―My father was a religious teacher, attachedto a religious school run by the sultanate in the Dutch time. It was a famous school, and myfather was the principal. During the revolution, the war against the Dutch, I was involved in theMuslim army, Hizbullah. I was trained for two weeks in 1946 as a guerrilla fighter, and theygave me a star and a stripe as a first sergeant. At the age of fifteen! Hizbullah actually means thesoldiers of God.‖Then there was a long conversation between author and Imaduddin about his religion, passionand devotion. At one instance Imaduddin began to cry; ―I cried in Mecca. The first time I enteredthe mosque there, the place with the black stone, I cried. And I also cried when I was about toleave.‖After that time abroad his Muslim interests became more international. At Cornell he had met aman from Malaysia. In 1971, through this man, he went to Malaysia to help with the conversionof a polytechnic into a university. Imaduddin stayed for two years in Malaysia, until 1973; hebecame involved with the Muslim youth movement there and still looked upon the people of thatmovement as his ―brothers.‖Imaduddin further told that he travelled, to Libya, to England, rising higher in internationalMuslim studentsorganizations, more and more in demand for his mental-training courses, whichgave a now necessary modernity to old-fashioned mullah‘s teachings.His imprisonment had not arrested his rise. His card, white, black, and green (the Islamic colour),said: Muhammad Imaduddin Abdul Rahim—Secretary General—International
IslamicFederation of Student Organizations. He had no Indonesian name. Author said, ―But allyour names are Arab.‖ ―They are not Arab names. They are Muslim names.‖The midday call to prayer came from the mosque tower—the mosque that hadnot been therewhen Imaduddin first came to the Bandung institute to study electrical engineering.He said he would be back in fifteen minutes, and he left me to the books in the bookcase. Some,in English, were the bread-and-butter books of Islamic missionary work: The Mythof the Cross,Jesus Prophet of Islam. Others were Indonesian translations published by the movement,paperbacks. One book was by Qutub, an Egyptian. I didnot know about Qutub; Imaduddin saidhe had been killed by Nasser. Another book was by MaulanaMaudoodi. He was the Indo-Pakistani fundamentalist so extreme that he had opposed the idea of Pakistan, because IndianMuslims werenot pure enough for a Muslim state.For Imaduddin, as a Muslim and a Sumatran, Indonesia was a place to be cleansed. His faith wasso great that he could separate his country from its history, traditions, art: its particularity.According to author‘s understanding of Islam, I cannot own a stretch of land if I cannot cultivateit. Only Allah has that right. So if this is run as an Islamic state, the state should arrange the landso that landlordism cannot exist.‖Narrator asked; ―Is there an Islamic state where that has happened?‖ and he replied;―Yes. In thetime of Abu-Bakr and Omar and all the first four caliphs.Right at the beginning of Islam, then, inthe thirty-year period that ended with the death of Ali, the Prophet‘s son-in-law, in 661 A.D. Itwas the reply from a village mullah in Pakistan. It wasnot the reply I was expecting fromImaduddin in Bandung. The logic of Imaduddin‘s faith, and his own integrity, was simple:injustice was un- Islamic, and Indonesia was full of injustice. And the Imaduddin who grievedabout injustice at home could travel without pain to Muslim despotisms abroad.The interchangeable revolutions:To replace all this. Islam sanctified rage—rage about the faith, political rage: one could be likethe other. And more than once on this journey I had met sensitive men who were ready tocontemplate great convulsions.In Iran there had been Behzad, who had shown me Tehran and the holy cities of Qom andMashhad. He was the communist son of a communist father, and not a Muslim. But hiscommunism was like a version of the Shia faith of Iran, a version of the Shia rage aboutinjustice: a rage rooted in the overthrow by the Arabs of the Old Persian Empire in the seventhcentury.Behzad believed that the best time was in Russia between 1917 and 1953. Darkness had beendispelled; an unjust society had been overthrown; and the jails and camps of Russia were full ofthe wicked.
In Pakistan, in the Kaghan Valley in the far north, I had talked to the gentle Masood. He wasonly sentimentally a Muslim. But, standing beside me above the gorge of the cold, green KunharRiver, he had allowed anxieties about his family and his own future to flow into a wider politicaldespair about his country, and he had said: ―Millions will have to die.‖And something like that was said to me in Jakarta by a businessman. We met late one afternoonin the restaurant of the hotel. He had been described to me as an economist, someone in touchwith government departments, a man planning for the future. He was all that, but he also had theIndonesian feeling of things going wrong. And he was full of rage: against the Chinese (toogifted for Indonesia, ―like Rolls-Royce spare parts in a Japanese car‖), the multinationals, thesuccessful, the ignorant men who were now running his country.He said, ―The leaders of the developing countries—most of them—are prosperous outside butvery poor inside.‖ He was not a humorous man, but his anger (and his fondness for scientificmetaphor) appeared to give him a kind of wit.He was a Muslim from Sulawesi, formerly the Celebes, where—as in Sumatra and West Java—in the 1950s there had been a strong Muslim separatist movement. And there was more than aremnant of that rage in him, though he had benefited from the holding together of the Indonesianstate.There was too much injustice. Too many people were unemployed, and their number grew yearby year. Not enough jobs were being created by the government, the multinationals, the Chineseentrepreneurs from Singapore and Hong Kong. Rage was the response of this man: rage,seemingly political, that was really Islamic, an end in itself; and racial rage.One day the students from the pesantrenwill come to Jakarta and burn down this nice hotel.Islam can become cocaine. It makes you high. You go to that mosque and you get high. Andwhen you get high, everything that happens becomes Allah‘s will.‖ ot half a million, as was nowgiven out. And more should have been killed: there were two and a half million communists atthe time. So a million and a half had escaped killing, and many of them were still around.I talked one day with Gunawan Mohammed, editor of Tempo, the leading weekly magazine ofIndonesia, about the 1965 killings. Gunawan was twenty-five at the time. He said, ―It was awar.‖ Gunawan‘s explanation of the killings of 1965 was simple. ―Fear. I cannot tell you howfrightened people were of the communists. They were so strong, and nobody knew what theywere going to do.‖An Indonesian book preceding those days of fear came my way. It was ContemporaryProgressive Indonesian Poetry, an anthology of Indonesian communist poetry inEnglishtranslation, and it was published in 1962 by the League of People‘s Culture.
Pramaedra was much like SitorSitumorang, whom I had met only a few days after I had arrivedin Indonesia, whose history I hadnot fully appreciated at the time, and whose intellectual andsocial graces I had taken too much for granted.In 1962 Sitor was a man of power in Indonesia. He had made his name with his early lyricalpoems. He had said to me one day, ―The people here have lost their religion.‖ The bread of thecommune; social life, solidarity and hope: the theme wasnot Sitor‘s alone.It was the Indonesian theme, now more than ever. It was the theme of the Muslim pesantren.And that was the surprise of this communist anthology of 1962: many of its themes and moodswere Muslim and Indonesian, still.Imaduddin had said he couldnot be a socialist because he could find the good ideas of socialismin the Koran. He said more than he knew. The Islam of protest was a religion that had beenbrushed by the ideas of the late twentieth century. Men no longer simply found union in acommon submission to Allah. Men were the creatures of Allah; and the late twentieth centuryextended the meaning of the words: these creatures of Allah had ―their importance as humanbeings who must be given justice.‖ The land and its wealth belonged to Allah and not to men: thelate twentieth century made that a political rather than a religious idea.So to conclude, Among the Believers: An Islamic Journey he focuses on the role of religion, ashe sees it, in affecting the creative and intellectual resources needed by nations to develop ontheir own.Roaming far from his native Trinidad and adopted Britain, he uses his novelist skills forreportorial purposes on a recent journey through Iran, Pakistan, Malaysia, and Indonesia. On theway he repeatedly finds a reason for backwardness in the very devotion to Islam which bringsbuoyancy or serenity to so many he meets."Among the Believers" exemplifies the Naipaul conviction that it is of no favour to a country towithhold negative views of it. Yet the delicate mockery that flavours his writing also reminds areader that the view is affected by the eye of the beholder.A more sympathetic, less secular eye might see the same problems with greater appreciation ofMuslim ideals in proportion to lapses from them. This is not to say that Naipaul does not warmpeople, revise this estimate of them, or try enlightening those he feels are wrong. And he keepsnoting his personal reactions, in effect warning you that youre in the presence of an individualwith an individuals point of view. The result is a vivid sense of travelling through a world intransition, with pungent vicissitudes of daily life artfully played off the deeper perceptionsNaipaul conveys.
He weaves references to literature, history, and the press into encounters with a range of officialand unofficial voices. For all that Naipaul finds to appreciate, he keeps coming back to variationson the theme that many Muslims would reject – and indeed did reject early in Irans revolution.Analysis:Naipaul uses descriptive passages as he describes the condition of Jakarta in a detailedparagraph. He mentions ―in the darkness and lamplight, of wide‖, ―silent streets‖, ―pastvegetable and fruit stalls, to tea plantations, over which raincloud and mist drifted, mixed withthe black exhaust of buses and trucks‖. This kind of sarcastic tone and imagery incorporationwas the themes of futility and decay.There is a detailed characterization presented in his travelogue. A character named Imaduddin isintroduced. Naipaul describes his age, his physical features, and complexion and about hisresidence as in the book he mentions ―His skin was smooth, his dark eyes bright, and he had awide, humorous mouth. He was attractive, full of welcome‖.Naipaul has talked about the historicity of Indonesia. He has mentioned the mass slaughter inIndonesia. In 1965 the communists had been wiped out. A million people had been killed, nothalf a million, as was now given out. And more should have been killed: there were two and ahalf million communists at the time. So a million and a half had escaped killing, and many ofthem were still around.There is another character named SitorSitumurang: a poet. Naipaul describes him as ―Sitor was aman of power in Indonesia. He had made his name with his early lyrical poems. He was nowmore political, general secretary of the League for National Culture; and he was represented inthe anthology by three poems he wrote after a visit to China.‖.There is a use of dialogues which authenticate his writings. Here is a dialogue between thenarrator and Imaduddin, when narrator asked; ―Is there an Islamic state where that hashappened?‖ Imaduddin replied; ―Yes. In the time of Abu Bakr and Omar and all the first fourCaliphs.‖Naipaul seems to be replicating the image of Islam in Indonesia as being passive, sarcastic whichhe authenticates by saying; ―One day the students from the pesantrenwill come to Jakarta andburn down this nice hotel. Islam can become cocaine. It makes you high. You go to that mosqueand you get high. And when you get high, everything that happens becomes Allah‘s will.‖Naipaul uses vivid and long descriptions as when he describes the color of langsatfruit wasconsidered the perfect colour for an Indonesian woman. The fruit was pale-ochre, a pale adobecolour; and the girl on the scooter had a clear, southern-Chinese complexion.