Selasa, 03 Maret 2009

Supratman, son of Indonesian colonial army instructor, was born on 9th May 1903. He had five sisters, but no brothers. When his father retired from the army the family moved to Cimahi. At the age of seven, his father sent him to “Budi Utomo” elementary school, where he proves to be of the bright pupils. In 1912 his mother died. Two years afterwards he joined his eldest sister in Ujung Pandang. His sister added “Wage Rudolf” to his name so it became Wage Rudolf Supratman. She did this to enable her to send him to the Dutch elementary school (HIS). He joined in the second year.

Completing his elementary school he continued his study at the Teacher’s Training school. He graduated in 1920 and became a teacher. In 1923, the government appointed him to teach at Singkang another town in South Sulawesi, but his sister objected. At last he resigned. He worked in a lawyer’s office for a year, and then he went to Bandung and worked as a journalist. One year later he moved to Jakarta and worked for the “Sin Po” newspaper. He married Mujenah in 1926, but had no children. After ten years of marriage they divorced.

As a journalist, W.R. Supratman got in touch with many Indonesian nationalist leaders. Besides, Supratman was a musician and composer. His father taught him to play the violin when he was young and he continued playing when he was in Ujung Pandang and Bandung. He composed several pieces of music. “Indonesia Raya” or Great Indonesia was one of them. He composed it in 1928 when the Dutch ruler of Indonesia carried out a divide and rule policy, which stressed ethnic, linguistic, cultural and religious differences among the Indonesian people.

The birth of “Indonesia Raya” was closely related to the awakening of Indonesia’s nationalist and political movement. The song was first introduced by W.R. Supratman at the Indonesian Youth Congress held on 28th October 1928 in Jakarta, when Indonesia’s Youth from different ethnic, linguistic, cultural and religious backgrounds adopted the now famous Pledge of Indonesian Youth. In this they state that they belong to one nation, the Indonesian nation, have one fatherland, Indonesia, and acknowledge one language, the Bahasa Indonesia. The pledge was later recognized as the Youth Pledge which is now commemorated every year.

The song stressed the call for unity among Indonesians, and it soon gained popularity. The song was the n sung at Indonesian political rallies where the participants stood up in solemn respect. It had really implanted a national consciousness among the population throughout the archipelago.

Wage Rudolf Supratman died on 17th August 1938 and was buried at Kapas cemetery in Surabaya.

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