The Indonesian President, Joko Widodo has issued a presidential regulation last week to set up the country’s first Hindu State University in Denpasar, Bali. As reported by The Jakarta Post, the existing Hindu Dharma State Institute (IHDN) will be transformed into the I Gusti Bagus Sugriwa State Hindu University (UHN).
IHDN’s assets, employees and students will be transferred to the newly formed university. The institute was formed in 1993 to serve as an academy for Hindu religious teachers. It was then transformed into Hindu Religion State College in 1999, followed by IHDN in 2004.
The primary objective of the regulation to set up a new varsity is to administer and support Hindu higher education programmes. IHDN rector, I Gusti Ngurah Sudiana, is optimistic about this new development. He is now awaiting the handover from the central government. Sudiana also hailed this move as a historic moment for the Indonesian Hindus.
He said, “Clearly this shows that President Jokowi has given special attention to Hindu educational institutions in Bali in order to improve the quality of our human capital.” Earlier, in November 2019, the largest Hindu temple in Indonesia (Prambanan Temple) was purified through Abhiseka ceremony after 1,163 years.
The name of the university is taken from the famous Hindu leader I Gusti Bagus Sugriwa. It is notable here that Hindus are the third-largest religious group in Indonesia. Bali has a majority of Hindus with over 83% of its residents following the Balinese Hinduism. The UHN will be the first public Hindu university in the country.