Pradna Aqmaril Paramitha / 180410150049
To Ilham, there had always been one “grandpa” to him and one grandpa only. And that grandpa was Ki Ucup.
You see, Ki Ucup was an oddity in Ilham’s strict Muslim family. Among all the family members in that big house, Ki Ucup was the “crazy old man" with his Sunda Wiwitan (Old Sunda) belief. No one ever reached out to him but Ilham, his brother’s youngest grandchild, who would sit next to him while the old man rolled up his cigarette paper. Ki Ucup would tell stories of the Great Prabu Siliwangi, sing kidungs, and list the five Cara Ciri Manusia. Ilham never actually practiced Sunda Wiwitan, but the lessons were enough to instill the Jati Sunda within him without clashing with his Muslim identity.
That is, until Ki Ucup died.
Years later, Ilham is ‘back on track’ according to his family. They sent him away to learn Islamic studies in faraway pesantrens. His father pushed him to work in a Syariah bank. They made him forget, so forget he did.
It was the trip to Gunung Padang with college friends that re-awakened the Sunda within Ilham. There, he witnessed the cradle of Sundanese culture -where his ancestors had thrived and lived in the peak of their culture like no other civilization ever had. And from then on, he was determined to explore his heritage and make it his life’s work.
Here, he is shown drawing a temporary excavation map. Next month, his team of archaeologists from UI are unearthing a newly founded site in Garut. Ilham firmly believes that by rediscovering his roots, Ki Ucup’s teachings (and those of his ancestors) will continue to live on.
The lotus is a symbol of attaining enlightenment. It also represents the endless cycle of life, death and rebirth.