When we go to a bookshop, collections of essays by Emha Ainun Nadjib (Cak Nun) are easy to see. Slilit Sang Kiai, Markesot Bertutur, and Markesot Bertutur Lagi are some of them. Interestingly, those are his old works. They were reprinted, again and again. There is a process of perpetuation.
On April 2013, collection of essays Indonesia Bagian Dari Desa Saya was republished by Kompas Book Publishing. Previously, the book has been republished twice, in 1983 and 1993. In the book, there are 27 essays of the husband of Novia Kolopaking. Most of them were written in the seventies when the man born in 1953 was still in his twenties.
The reason behind Kompas republishing – as done by other publishers with the books of this humanist born in Jombang – was because the works of Noe Letto’s father considered still relevant with modern life now.
There is also another reason, the market for his book , Jamaah Maiyah, is loyal and getting bigger. Jamaah Maiyah, calling term for his incited sermon enthusiasts.
This sermonic gathering, also known as Maiyahan, is held in many cities monthly. Some of them are Jakarta (called Kenduri Cinta), Surabaya (Bangbang Wetan), Yogyakarta (Mocopat Syafaat), Malang (Obor Ilahi), Jombang (Padhang Mbulan), Semarang (Gambang Syafaat), and so on.
Reviewing Indonesia Bagian dari Desa Saya
Reading Indonesia Bagian dari Desa Saya, line by line, took us back in time, remembering rural and urban character in the old days. Since 1970s, cultural mix has been the focus of attention.
Worrying the prestige, being cocky, narcissistic and assuming modernity was the right thing, was starting to grow at that time. Villagers swarmed to buy television when they have not understood Bahasa Indonesia used on TV yet. They forced themselves to buy motorbikes when their walls were still made of plaited bamboo.
Through his works, Cak Nun has predicted that technology sophistication and foreign culture will keep pushing and make this time getting crazier. In the author’s note, he stated that crazy times in the past gave a headache, while these crazy times now almost successfully smashed our heads (page: XIII).
Togetherness, intimacy, unity, commitment, solidarity with others, and local wisdom are threatened. It is impossible to find cendol (doughy rice-flour droplets in cold drinks) seller who do not want to sell his cendol all to Pak Kyai (Muslim cleric), because he does not want to disappoint his customers in the afternoon (Kebijaksanaan Cendol, page 57).
In his essay Indonesia Bagian Dari Desa Saya (page 248), Cak Nun sampled the phenomenon of money politics before the election in the village three decades ago. There was a legislative candidate who distributed some money while shouting, “This is me before becomes a legislative member, I have given you some money freely. Imagine if I had been a member of the council?
Let’s compare it to our current condition. It is reported that in some towns in East Java, there were many aerobic clubs of madams from Family Welfare Movement (PKK) which went to the candidate and offered their votes if he can provide funds.
In fact, one club did not only go to one candidate or one party. One club could promise and boast to some candidates.
This phenomenon showed that the public have been smarter and they do not want to be swayed by money politics. Moreover, they have tried to deceive the politicians and their parties. If then, politicians practiced money politics, now, the public which exploit politics to get money.
This book has many layers of topics. Its uniqueness undoubtedly caused by the author’s vast knowledge and experiences in various angles. The man who lives in Kadipiro Yogyakarta is an nationalist, a humanist, an artist and also considered as religious leader. Thus, he do not only modern technology, market economy, politics, and culture, but also admonish our religiosity.
In his essay Berkatalah Sufi: “Ia mati, Alhamdulillah” (page: 234), there is a satiric and sufistic view of his. Some people now still think that life comfort which is materialistic is the main objective of life. Human is ready for hardships to get a luxurious life in the future.
Even our service to the Almighty, is no longer sacred or intimate as between a servant and God. But it is merely a tool or a means to ask good things in this world. Religion is no more than a reflection of materialism embraced by the human. (*)
Writer: Rio F. Rachman
This post is also available in: Indonesian