by Muhammad Sulton Fatoni (Lecturer on Sociology at )

The Law about Desa (Village Act) certainly bore some consequences. The most prominent issue was the consequences of the village officials as cities have. The villages are currently led to the fulfillment of the bureaucrats. A Village chief is not enough as well as its administration and Consultative board. The Apparatus at village level is as a motor to set the village-owned enterprises, rural finance, rural development, village regulations enforcement, and others.

However, it is not that easy to make changes at this level of village community. Since the promulgation until now, the implementation of the Village Act has not come to be reality. The government is still preparing technically the implementation, human resources, the amount of funds disbursed, including the ratification of Government Regulation No. 43 (PP 43) 2014 concerning the Implementation of the Village Act.

Need some times to examine the PP 43. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono signed the PP 43 on May 30, 2014. It consisted of 91 pages, including the explanations. The three pages of details were set up on the authority of the village, while the rest were administrative and political issues surrounding the village (See Robert Lawang Perspevtive, “Anti Village…”, 2006).

These symptoms are the indicators of Village Act and Regulation 43 that puts villagers as a group of people who have the right to govern themselves. On the other side, the village has made the structural more bureaucratic, busy with the development structured. This was where the most likely change the face of the village in the reformation era. In the New Order Era, the large portion busyness of the village pursued the tasks imposed by custom and tradition (Abd. Kappi, 1988: 101). While  the village in the reformation era was only a set of bureaucratic machine bound by the power above it.

If we pay attention to condition of the society, the people in the cities also feel the alienation experienced by the villagers in the process of social change. The village and the town are a hall, while the alienation is not caused by space but the government’s political hegemony. Only the hegemony of the rural population is quite high to make people have initiatives, creations led to internal empowerment. If we would like to see people experiencing a better social change then they should be given the rights of taking full advantage of the potency of creativity.

For those who like to shape and reshape itself for the benefit of the members, the government should allow or even encourage the rich and changeable sectors of social movements (Piotr Sztompka, 2004).

Nearly years after its enactment, the conditions of rural communities have not still experiencing an improving growth yet. One indicator could be seen from the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) in March 2013 where the number of the poor in the village amounted to 17.74 million, higher than in the city, amounting to 10.33 million. Villagers could only wait for the implementation of the village Act.

At one Village Act, discussion round 4, held by NU on October 2, 2014, identified that the village community resources needed to be promptly prepared. A total of 72 944 villages were to receive the funds. The village heads along with the device would have to manage the funds with accountability in accordance with the standards of the state budget.

Lilis Husna, NU Lakpesdam Secretary highlighted the ability of the Government in setting up rural infrastructure and bureaucrats. While the perception begins to emerge that the preparation process could only be done by Non Governmental Organizations (NGO) not by social, religious and political organizations. If this perception were justified, the villagers would become victims caused by the very limited range of NGOs.

Dynamizing villagers to make social changes can be done for the rural community’s improvements. The villages where the pesantrens are have a higher dynamics than the ones where the pesantren do not exist. Many of the dynamics models of rural communities made because of the encouragement from pesantren. One interesting pattern is the current model of service from the Village apparatus, to Pondok pesantren’s community becomes something routine and important for the village’s activities. Keeping in the spread of the pesantren from Aceh to Papua, many parties make it as an object and a basis of analysis of rural communities.

The Islamic boarding schools or pondok pesantrens in the village have become a force outside the village bureaucracy that could determine the attitudes and behavior of bureaucrats. Using Moeljarto analysis, in this case there are three possible forms of influence or balance: first, there is a balance between pesantren and village bureaucracy (balanced polity). Second, the relationship between the two powers, the pesantren’s is more prevalent (bureau-nomia). Third, a situation that puts bureaucratic relationship was more prevalent (bureaucratism). However, when the bureaucratic position is more prevalent, it tends to be less sensitive to determinant unbureaucratics (read: pesantren) of bureaucratics behavior. 

In this paper, the Author puts the rural communities as the existence base of pondok pesantren’s communities, Islamic institutions with specific characters that distinguish them from modern-secular educational institutions. Certain characters attached at pesantrens are flourishing in the countryside. At the village community level, the characters are embodied in the pesantren’s tradition. The pesantrens, villages and customs are three related to each other. The government also recognizes and gives special space for customs when it is about the village.

The custom is the conception of cultural values. The concept of cooperation, for example, thrives in the rural communities. The value of cooperation becomes customary code of conduct in everyday of rural communities. At a later stage, the concept of cooperation becomes an opposite value to the competition, fights and its kind. In this context, the pesantren’s community at the same time is giving legitimacy to the concept of cooperative action to be a good value. One of the actions is exemplary form as a strategy to foster the participation of the rural community hall.  The religious elites attached to the pesantren’s community are identical with the nature of ‘dependency’. However, in the context of social change,  the religious elites to take action within the framework of self-evocative ability to not depending on others.

The villages where the Pesantrens are, when the relation with pesantren’s community is closed, they can influence each other, either in a positive or negative sense. In this case, the villagers are changing from a close to an open society system. The position of pesantren in certain areas is as religious elite related to activities in social and economy.  

Therefore, it is interesting to see the relationship between them, primarily focusing on what Pesantrens have and how they affect the relationships with the villagers. The boarding schools as an elite religion of rural communities are common things. The wider community has known the roles of function and the relationships. It becomes interesting when the pesantren as religious elite is also able to portray the social and economy function in society.

This paper is motivated or inspired by the desire to see pesantren community’s social capital and their influence on the growth of civil society in their surrounding. The Choice of the community refers to several studies that show the relationship between social capital with civil society (see, among others, Francis Fukuyama, 1999; Jonathan Fox, 1995). Several phenomena the writer thinks as important reasons in the research of a civil society with the analysis of social capital in pesantren’s community.