In a historic move, Indonesia’s first Hindu state university has been instituted. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has issued a presidential regulation (Perpres) turning the Hindu Dharma State Institute (IHDN) in Denpasar, Bali into the country’s first Hindu state university, reports the Jakarta post.
Though Indonesia is a Muslim country, Bali has a majority Hindu population. The Presidential regulation states that the new university, named I Gusti Bagus Sugriwa State Hindu University (UHN), would administer Hindu higher education programs as well as other types of higher education programs to support Hindu higher education programs.
The change in the status of IHDN has been welcomed by the students and faculty of the institute as well as the people of Bali. In a statement IHDN rector I Gusti Ngurah Sudiana, put on the institute’s official website on Friday, said “The change in status has been declared through a Perpres (presidential regulation) and is just awaiting the handover from the central government. I am very happy and thankful.”
The institute started as a state academy for Hindu teachers in 1993, before being converted into the Hindu Religion State College in 1999, and then into the IHDN in 2004. The regulation for creating the country’s first Hindu university is marked as a historic moment for the Hindus in Indonesia.