Save Hindu Dharma in Bali, Scrap Bali Benoa Bay Reclamation

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Bali, Indonesia is known to be a unique community, primarily composed of Balinese Hindus who have preserved, practiced and propagated a Hindu culture for centuries. It is known as a tourist paradise. But underneath this paradise is a deep conspiracy that threatens not only the land, but also the culture and very existence of the Balinese Hindus. Hindu Janajagruti Samiti has been in contact with Balinese Hindu leaders for the last three years. HJS applauds the efforts Balinese Hindus have put in to preserve and propagate Hindu Dharma in a Muslim country. However, we are appalled to learn about the Bali ‘Benoa Bay Reclamation Project’ that aims to exploit the environmentally delicate Benoa Bay and also turn Bali into a cash cow for vested interests. We are reproducing a matter sent to HJS by a group of concerned Hindu Organizations of Bali regarding the Bali Benoa Bay project.

What can you do ?

Sign the petition below to urge the Government of Indonesia to revert the controversial legislation that made way for the Bali Benoa Bay Reclamation project and to scrap the project altogether, to preserve the culture of the Balinese Hindus. Show your support to the Balinese Hindus !

Participate in online signature petition and request Hon. President of Indonesia  to revoke the Bali Benoa Bay Reclamation plan in interest of preserving the delicate environment of Benoa Bay and also the unique cultural heritage of the Balinese Hindus. (Copy to Hon. President of India, Hon. Prime Minister of India, Hon. External Affairs Minister, India)

Scrap the Bali Benoa Bay Reclamation plan

To,
Hon. President of Indonesia

Copy To,
1. Hon. President of India
2. Hon. Prime Minister of India
3. Hon. External Affairs Minister, India

Subject : Request to revoke the Bali Benoa Bay Reclamation plan in interest of preserving the delicate environment of Benoa Bay and also the unique cultural heritage of the Balinese Hindus

Dear Sir,

I learned about the Bali Benoa Bay Reclamation project through various media houses. As a Hindu and an environment lover, I request you to revoke the project plan for the following reasons

1. Benoa Bay is home to a large fishing community that earns its livelihood by fishing in the area. Filling up the area with sand with lead to a geographic disaster, the sea will disappear and the fisher-folk will lose their livelihood.

2. By artificially altering the landscape, there will be danger to the other naturally occurring flora and fauna of the area. History is replete with examples where nature retaliates with unchecked fury in response to human interference.

3. Bali is known to be a unique community, primarily composed of Balinese Hindus who have preserved, practiced and propagated a Hindu culture for centuries. By opening up the area to crass commercialization, this sociocultural status will change. With influx of outsiders, the spiritual Hindu heritage of Bali may be irreversibly lost.

4. Bali is home to the most famous Pura Besakih, a place of much reverence to Hindus from Bali and world over. With unchecked influx of outsiders, the sanctity and purity of this temple will be in danger of being overrun by commercial interests. It would be a sad day if a temple would turn into a tourist attraction.

Over 100000 people alone from India visit Bali to experience the unique culture of Bali and Indonesia. With the Bali Bay Reclamation and commercial exploitation of the Bay, the unique culture will be lost and with that Bali stands to lose on the tourism front. So, preserving the Benoa Bay and the Balinese Hindu identity should be a matter of pride for the Indonesians!

In all, the geography, the spiritual, social and cultural heritage of Bali is at stake. And as a devout Hindu and an ardent environmentalist I request you to consider this plea and revoke the plan for Bali Benoa Bay Reclamation.

Sincerely,

[signature]

52 signatures

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Matter sent by Love Bali Forum, Ashram Pancali Indonesia

We, the Balinese people, are the only living remnants of the ruins of the archipelago’s Hindu kingdom that encompassed almost all south-east Asian regions. After the down fall of this Hindu kingdom, the archipelago became a State populated by the largest Islamic community in the world.

The remaining Hindu culture of the archipelago in its totality may be found in Bali. The Balinese people are descendants of religious leaders and their devotees, who together with their adherents who were still faithful to their conviction, fled east to an island, now called BALI.

In the past, 95 percent of the Balinese people were Hindu. Gradually they will become a minority, being misdirected by three noxious public contrivances, which are:

1. New Village Statute suspected to contain propensity to weaken the Traditional Villages, of which the constitution has for centuries upheld Bali against external influences.

2. Reclamation of the Benoa Bay

An artist’s impression of the Benoa Bay reclamation project. (Photo courtesy of ForBali)
  • For this project, the government will allow hundreds of workers and experts from outside Bali. The onslaught of outsiders will cause Bali more squeezed, the Balinese people soon become a minority within their home land

  • This project will dump millions of tons of sand in the sea, potentially disrupting the ecosystem, and ecologically may bring flood of mud engulfing the public settlement around the project

  • The same project tends to develop as an exclusive enclave, precluding public access, annihilating the source of income from the majority of people living in the surrounding areas, whose main livelihood is fishing.

  • In term of tourism worldwide, Bali is famous for its unique cultural attraction, whereas the Benoa Bay project which will be positioned as alternative tourism enticement may evaporate the charm of cultural tourism in which most Balinese participate and earn their living.

  • In the event that the Balinese people become the minority in their home land, it would be no longer comfortable for them to perform their Hindu rituals and ceremonies, something that has made Bali famous for its cultural heritage. Consequently if this happens the centuries old custom will slowly disappear.

3. KSPN (National Tourism Strategic Area) for the BESAKIH TEMPLE.

The temple of Besakih is the core soul of Bali. Historical discoveries have recorded that it was from here Maharsi (Holy Man) Markandeya started to propagate Hindu religion throughout Bali.

Besakih is the mother temple in Bali. It comprises rows of temples where God as NIRGUNA BRAHMAN and SAGUNA BRAHMAN is worshipped. This temple also preserves inscriptions about several Balinese clans.

By entering the temple of Besakih into the KSPN Program, this sacred Temple could then be easily treated as tourist object, something that will mar the holiness and spiritual vibration which hitherto holds the devotion of the Balinese.

The KSPN Program will open the road for construction of tourist facilities such as hotels, restaurants, shops and so forth in the vicinity of the temple.

Observing these three programs, we detect brilliant surreptitious strategy aiming to obliterate Hinduism from Bali.

These programs would marginalize Bali, make Balinese a minority crowd

Being a minority, the Balinese may be deprived from their freedom to practice their custom and tradition as evidenced in many instances, in several places. If we protest or oppose such cases others would label us insurgents, and no body or world organization help us.

Before all these happen, we like to make a plea to Hindu Organizations and International Hindu Leaders for counsel and support.

Do not let Hindu fade away from this world, because Hindu is Dharma (the principle of cosmic order).

Hindu is genuine truth, it is our obligation to uphold the existence of Hindu in this world. We shall stand to the last drop of blood to defend truth, because Hindu is Sanathana Dharma, genuine truth.

Tri Murti Indonesia, unity of Indonesia Hindu devotees.

Love Bali Forum, Ashram Pancali Indonesia, Center of Indonesia Hindu Coordination

How media is ignoring cultural aspect of the issue of Bali Benoa Bay Reclamation

Of all the issues that have been highlighted in the letter, people all over the world are concerned only about the environmental impact of the Bali Benoa Bay Reclamation. Many environmentalist groups are actively protesting and condemning the project, however, everyone is completely neglecting the impact of this project on the unique and beautiful Balinese Hindu culture. So it is apparent that the Hindus of Bali need help from their brethren all over the world, especially from India. Hindu Dharma teaches to view and respect God in every animate and inanimate object, and only when such Hindu culture is preserved, will it be possible to preserve the environment and beauty of the Benoa Bay.