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Maintaining Academic Tradition, Break Through The Future

Who still remembers IPB Baranangsiang Campus? It is said that under the main stairs behind the plaque of establishment of the Faculty of Agriculture dated 27 April 1952, there is a special room. This room keeps a text written on the parchment leaf and signed directly by Dr.Ir. Soekarno. Do you want to know the message of the founding father of this country for Indonesian agriculture? Here is an extract from the speech that he gave entitled “ A matter of Life and Death”.

“I asked you: Indonesian people will suffer from misfortunes, disasters, in the near future if the people’s food problems are not quickly solved. Food availability is a matter of life and deat. What’s wrong with you? In 1951/1952 Why were there only 120 people applying to the Faculty of Agriculture and 7 people applying to the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine? No. my young people, study of agricultural sciences and animal sciences is no less important than others, no less satisfying than other studies. Keep in mind, once more, if we don’t ‘aanpaltken’ this people’s food globally, radically and revolutionarily, we will face disasters!

The speech on life and death by Soekarno tells us the big problem that Indonesia was facing and it was a warm call to develop agriculture. However, if it is read slowly and carefully, there is actually a question and demand. Where are you (agricultural academics) when imported food is increasing in this agrarian country? Where are you when food problems are put aside by the interest of a group of people?

Meanwhile the Faculty of Agriculture has moved to Darmaga campus. However, its traditional academic, spirit, expectation that have raised it should not be left behind in the old campus. As long as the trees planted by Soekarno that are passed by Civa everyday still bear the roots and leaves, or as long as the learning site next to it is still used by its lecturers and students, “Suara Darmaga” shoud be able to reflect and echo scientific explanation about food and agriculture. Or like a science well in a desperate field that is always visited by the people who are searching for an anwer.

It is not easy to translate. These disciplines that are like a pyramid sometimes make people forget that sciences dealing with agronomy, horticulture, landscape, soil and land, pest and diseases are a group of agricultural sciences whose results are anxiously looked forward to in order to be harvested, processed and cooked together for the inhabitants to eat. Communication gap among civa needs more interfaces, borrowing the term from the computer science, sillaturahim in Islamic term, forum or whatever it is, as long as there is a room for the civa to interact or to study together with agricultural stockholders, decision makers, and other parties. This room is an initial step of the expedition journey to find critical and constructive thoughts that are based on farmers’ needs, or at least it can produce emphaty on the national existing problems. This room will close the gap among branches of shoots.

Thus, a university soul can break into the future to find new things in one way, and to keep on its academic tradition in another (Prof. Andi Hakim Nasution). This scientific discussion is an academic tradition which is at present formulated into a form of “Suara Darmaga”, and it is let to live naturally so that it can achieve its goals according to the norms. (Dr. Hermanu Triwidodo):

  1. It should consider other people’s opinion, be open-minded, and reasonably doubtful about own opinion in order to avoid selfishness. Thus,

a way out that was not previously solved can be found (expecting the unexpected).
2. It should realize that a different role will bear a different charater: those who comprehend will not guarantee to be able to act; those who

can act cannot guarantee to have authority to take action; those who have authority cannot guarantee to be able to decide.
3. Forum should not become an area of irresponsibilities or finding a scapegoat, so that its ideas can attract people to come and listen to

what it says because it is presented gracefully and unprejudicially.

From a tradition “Suara Darmaga”, there are a load of expectations of new ideas that can break through the future, like the above speech given by Soekarno, although it is considered a political speech, it is full of technical considerations that can reach the 80s era, time when there was a rice self-sufficiency in this country. This story must tell the new IPB students not to stop at the 60s BIMAS/INMAS, because afterwards there is no more a historical pole posted. (Please correct me if I am mistaken).

Then how can we do it? Borrowing a term used by our forefathers “mbongkar seka ndhuwur, mbangun seka ngisor” (breaking the top, and building the bottom), it is like building a house. Breaking or renovating should be done from the top. The nearest thing to do is repairing and criticizing regulations that can handle many people (Laws, President Instructions, Ministry Decision, Regional Regulations, etc.) or a number of actual issues that are developing. Then explain the scientific studies, take action and express it loudly through available media. This is a crowded way that can make famous the person who sounds it.

However, we should not forget the other route, a quiet way to build from the bottom. Building patiently a research until it becomes a valuable product, technique, or model. Confidently announce that there are a heap of products, techniques, and models that are produced by the Faculty of Agriculture academics, and what is needed by “Suara Darmaga” is binding them with ‘suh’ said Javanese or ‘simpai’ said Sundanese to become strongly and usefully united. Then find a way to make it reach the persons who need them. In order to be useful for farmers and to increase their prosperity, a technological product of agriculture or a development model of agriculture can be scaled-up by the authority so that the benefits will become larger. A book that is full of research results and constructive thoughts in the field of agriculture is needed to take initial action. Hopefully……..

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