Donny Tedjo Blog

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Djago The Rooster Part 2

Sukarno_djago_the_rooster_2 Backward Teachers.
Sukarno was born in a small village about 60 miles from the seaport city of Surabaja in 1901, the only son of an impoverished Javanese schoolteacher named Sukemi* and a high-caste Balinese mother, Ida Njoman Rai.

From his father, Sukarno learned the Moslem faith and the seeds of nationalism; from his mother, the long cycle of Hindu epics that have sustained Bali in its centuries-old resistance to the Mohammedanism of the surrounding islands.

The combination left him securely dedicated to no faith. As a member of the priyayi, or gentry, the class that monopolized the few bureaucratic jobs left open by the Dutch to natives, he was socially far above the marhaen, or peasants, who were to become his most ardent followers.

As a precocious child, he soon got the nickname of Djago (Rooster or Champion). He could run faster, jump higher, learn more quickly than anybody else; when he felt arrogant, which was often, he would learn more than the teacher knew, then tell the teacher how backward he was.

At 14, his father sent him to live as a foster son with a Surabaja businessman named Tjokroaminoto, a pioneer nationalist and writer who drew his political ideas from Islam, Marx and George Bernard Shaw. Tjokroaminoto's home was a meeting place of revolutionaries—one of whom, Muso, a Communist, was later to die leading the Madiun uprising against Sukarno—but the quick-witted young Sukarno was soon Tjokroaminoto's favorite. His foster father brought Sukarno up to be a politician, trained him in oratory, nationalism, political organization, and gave him his daughter, Siti Utari, in marriage. In 1920 Sukarno became one of the first dozen Indonesians admitted to a new Dutch technical college in Bandung.

Sukarno graduated as a civil engineer ("The most promising student we ever had," said his Dutch professors) but turned down engineering offers from several Dutch firms. In a characteristic scene that was to be often repeated in his life, Sukarno broke with his mentor, Tjokroaminoto, divorced his young wife, and promptly married another one, a well-to-do widow named Inggit Garnasih.

Bonnet_penaripenari_bali_sedang_berhias "Above Such Foolishness."

It was then that he began his long association with Dr. Mohammed Hatta, who was everything that Sukarno was not—scholarly, sober-minded, steeped in Western culture, profoundly democratic. Hatta's family had been wealthy enough to send him to study economics in The Netherlands. He returned home, as passionate a nationalist as Sukarno, but aware also that there were other currents of thought in The Netherlands than colonialism, and other white men than imperialist oppressors. Sukarno and Hatta have differed most of their lives, and the history of Indonesia's politics is largely a history of their quarrels and their reconciliation's. But their friendship has run steady through it all.

The Dutch spotted Hatta first.

When Hatta was arrested, Sukarno used his "martyrdom" to unite several revolutionary factions under his own leadership. At 26, he became the best-known nationalist in Indonesia, a position he has never relinquished. He was also such a frequent patron of Bandung's brothels that his fellow conspirators, who were mostly good Moslems, argued that his behavior would ruin him and the movement. Sukarno replied that his personal life was no one's responsibility but his own, and went off to another brothel to prove his point. "Even then," recalls an associate, "discipline was for other people, not for him. He was above such foolishness."

The Dutch got around to Sukarno in 1929, and after a four-month trial, sentenced him to four years in prison. But they had also given him a nationwide forum: in an impassioned courtroom speech. Sukarno denounced the "vile evils of colonialism" and promised Indonesians that he would serve them as the instrument of "historic necessity." On his release in 1931, Sukarno was greeted by applauding crowds, flowers, gifts. He asked for only ten patriotic youths aflame with love for Indonesia, and "with them I shall shake the earth." The Dutch, already in the long shadows of a dying empire, promptly exiled him to Flores in the Outer Islands, where with thousands of other political detainees he continued his revolutionary education, reading insatiably in Dutch, English, French and Indonesian and drawing new conclusions from an odd compost of Lenin, Thomas Jefferson, John Dewey, Otto Bauer, Abraham Lincoln. He took time out-to divorce his wealthy widow and marry a young and beautiful Javanese girl named Fatmawati. He had no doubts about the future. "I entered prison a leader and I shall emerge a leader," he said.

The Collaborator.

He emerged in 1942 when the Japanese landed on Indonesian soil. Sukarno, released from prison in Sumatra, quickly made his way to Djakarta, where he met with the two other top revolutionary leaders, Hatta and the Socialist. Sjahrir.

Both Sukarno and Hatta believed that the Axis would win; Sjahrir was convinced the Allies would win. It was therefore easy to apportion the jobs for the next phase of their struggle for independence: Sjahrir would head the underground resistance against the Japanese occupiers, Sukarno and Hatta would collaborate with them. The Dutch administrators and businessmen were herded into Japanese concentration camps, and native bureaucrats, who had never been allowed above the lower rungs of government, took charge under the guidance of Japanese officers. Sukarno was at last in his element, free to roam the country and make countless broadcasts. "America we shall iron out, England we shall destroy," he cried. He urged Indonesians to enlist in defense forces recruited and armed by the Japanese; he helped supply his Japanese masters with romushas, or slave laborers, most of whom were never heard of again.

The surrender of Japan came so suddenly that it was six weeks before the British could get together enough forces to land on Java. In that time, Sukarno got a government in operation. It was creaky, inefficient, poorly administered and defended by a ragtag military force armed with everything from Japanese machine guns to bamboo spears, but it was a going concern.

For four years the Dutch tried vainly to re-establish themselves in Indonesia. They tried it with two major military campaigns, which only proved that they could seize any city they wanted but they could not control the countryside. At one time (1948) Dutch paratroops captured President Sukarno and every member of his Cabinet except Sjafruddin Prawiranegara, who was in Sumatra and continued the fight. In 1949, worn down by Indonesian resistance and world opinion, the Dutch gave up. All of their old island possessions except West New Guinea became the Republic of Indonesia. Sukarno and his fellow revolutionaries had won independence.