Preserving Kyai Authority in Modern Society: A Case Study of Pesantren Cidahu, Pandeglang, Banten

Executive Director of InMind Institute Yon Machmudi, Ph.D. wrote his research about how kyai or traditional ulema is respected in Banten, Indonesia. His article is published by Universitas Indonesia (UI) on 2014 at Wacana journal and accessible at

A pesantren is a typical component of the Indonesian cultural heritage. Besides
being thought of as one of the oldest type of educational institutions in Indonesia,
pesantren have played a significant contributing role in the process of nation
building in modern Indonesia. Pesantren have many roles in society in education,
the economy and in the social and political fields in which pesantren alumni play
a role. Currently, pesantren roles are being challenged by modernization and
they have to change or transform into modern institutions in order to survive.
Nevertheless, traditional pesantren continue to resists change and they insist on
preserving their identity in terms of authority and student teacher relationships.
This article seeks to analyse the efforts that the traditional Pesantren Cidahu in
Banten makes to preserve its identity and to maintain its authority in modern
society. By hanging on to modest practices, Pesantren Cidahu manages to
continue to exert strong influence over its students and over the society in West
Java in general.

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