Kamis, 09 Oktober 2008

The named Raden Ajeng Kartini is closely associated with the emancipation movement of Indonesian women. Her activities were confined within the walls of her father’s residence in Jepara, Central Java. Yet, her work and ideas have greatly influenced government policy and our thoughts and outlook concerning the status and rights of women.
Kartini lived at a time when education, employment outside the home, freedom to decide in marriage, and all such things, were beyond the woman’s reach. She saw this with deep sorrow and resentment. Kartini was born in 1879, at a time when schools were still rare, and only meant to be attended by the sons of government officials. As a daughter of a regent, a nobleman of the highest rank in the local government, Kartini did enjoy elementary education. Through her own reading and correspondence with Dutch friends she became acquainted with the greatest thinkers of the west.
For a girl in her teens at that time, Kartini was very progressive in her ideas. When her father did not allow her to continue her studies in Holland, she was frustrated. However, fortunately, through her brother’s comforting and encouraging words she got over her depression, and decided to set up a girl’s school within the confines of the regent’s residence. She gathered the girls from the neighborhood, and taught them to read and write, and other useful skills. Another blow befell her when she was required to marry the regent of Rembang, a man of middle age who had already been married. It was against Javanese custom to disobey a father’s wish, so she left her work in Jepara to her sister, and went to Rembang. She had a faint hope that as a regent’s wife she would be able to accomplish more than as a regent’s daughter. In Rembang, the first thing she did was to set up a school for girls, but even here she did not see the completion of her work. She died soon after giving birth to a son, at the age of 25.
Kartini’s ideas and ideals are expressed in her letters, which have been edited under the tittle of “Trough Darkness into Light” ordinary written in Dutch, now tanslated into Indonesian.

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