Government gives posthumous honor to heroes
The government has awarded national hero status to seven figures for their contribution to the nation, including a Catholic politician and two renowned Muslim thinkers who were once jailed by former president Sukarno.
The award ceremony was hosted by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at the State Palace on Tuesday, two days before the commemoration of National Heroes Day on Thursday.
The seven national heroes are former minister Idham Chalid, first central bank governor Sjafruddin Prawiranegara, Muslim cleric and writer Abdul Malik Karim Amrullah (also known as Buya Hamka), education pioneer Ki Sarmidi Mangunsarkoro, first governor of Bali I Gusti Ketut Puja, key figure in Indonesia’s fight for independence Sri Susuhunan Pakubuwono X and a Catholic politician named Ignatius Joseph Kasimo.
“They struggled for independence. They produced ideas, masterpieces and great leadership,” Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Djoko Suyanto said.
Sjafruddin, of Sundanese and Minangkabau descent, was the president of Indonesia’s emergency government in 1948 during the Dutch military aggression. He later served as finance minister and welfare minister before becoming the first governor of BI in 1951 and establishing the ORI, Indonesia’s first currency, which gave birth to the rupiah. However, his involvement in the Revolutionary Government of the Indonesian Republic (PRRI) in Bukittinggi in 1958 led to his downfall.
Buya Hamka, a man of letters and a cleric who was born in Tanah Sirah, West Sumatra, on Feb. 16, 1908, was the head of the Indonesia Ulema Council (MUI) before leaving because his advice was being ignored by the government. His books include the novel Di Bawah Lindungan Kabah (Under the Sanctuary of Kabah) and a religious book, Tafsir Al Azhar.Sjafruddin and Hamka were sent to prison by Sukarno after respective spats with the nation’s first president.
Ignatius Joseph Kasimo, who was born in 1900 and was baptized in 1913, joined the Catholic Political Association in Java and worked to unite the national movement. He was appointed to several ministerial posts, including welfare minister in 1947, people’s staple food stock minister in 1948 and central Java guerilla minister in 1948 under the emergency government of Soekiman.
Idham Chalid, who was born in Setui, South Kalimantan, on Aug. 27, 1922, entered politics after he joined Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), which took part in the 1955 legislative elections. At 34, Idham became the youngest NU chairman and held the post for 28 years until 1984, making him the longest-tenured NU chairman.