Reasons why Britain bombed Surabaya


Darul Aqsha


“10 November ’45, Mengapa Inggris Membom Surabaya?” (“10 November ’45, Why Did Britain Bomb Surabaya?”)
By Batara R. Hutagalung; Millenium Publisher, Jakarta; (Oct. 2001), first edition, xiv + 472 pp; Rp 59,900,-

THIS book analyzes the simultaneous sea, land and air campaign by British forces against the defenders of the East Java capital of Surabaya in November 1945.

To this day, it remains a bitter memory for older Indonesians.

In the author’s opinion, there are two main reasons why Britain, which did not hold colonial authority over Indonesia, launched the invasion.
First, there were psychological and emotional reasons at play, since Britain was victorious in World War II. Second, the British were bound by a treaty with the Dutch stemming from the conference at Yalta on Feb. 11, 1945, and the Postdam Declaration, which took place on July 26, 1945.

The objectives of the treaty were “to reestablish civilian rule, and return the colony to Dutch administration,” as well as “to maintain the status quo which existed before the Japanese invasion”.

They can be found in a letter dated Sept. 2, 1945 by the Allied Forces’ Supreme Commander South East Asia Vice Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten. British assistance was also in line with the Civil Affairs Agreement between the Dutch and Britain in Chequers, Britain, on Aug. 24, 1945.

The author also outlines the violations committed by British troops. They include infringements upon the sovereignty of the fledgling nation of Indonesia, human rights abuses — including crimes against humanity and forced displacement — and war crimes.

Apart from its thorough dissection of this bloody chapter of Indonesian history, this book carries something else of equally important historical significance: an official apology from the British government. It was expressed by British Ambassador to Indonesia Richard Gozney in the name of the British government during a seminar on the Battle of Surabaya in Jakarta in October 2000.

It was a sympathetic act — one which has yet to be offered by the Dutch who, as a colonial power, ruled Indonesia for centuries.–

The Jakarta Post
Sunday, December 30, 2001




The Bloody Tragedy of Masjid al-Haram – An Indonesian Eyewitness

Asmo Ismail

AFTER I read the article of the  tragedy with the title “Coming Mahdi, Mahdi Dead” in the magazine Muttaqin No. 12 Year XI in December 1979, where it was said that 4 of the 7 towers of Masjid al-Haram finally torn down, but unfortunately the article was  not explained when, what’s the  day, or the date when the towers were torn down.

To my knowledge until the 5th day of the tragedy of the Masjid al-Haram or until Saturday, 24 November, the towers were still standing upright. Only almost all parts of the towers there were patches of black scorch marks caused by explosions of Bazooka bullets, or chipped-chipped as a result of a bullet fired from a 12.7 tanks of the Askar.

Keep in mind, although the vandals were able to survive 15 days in the Masjid al-Haram, but practically since the 4th day, or Friday, November 23, 1979, they only survived in the underground part of the Grand Mosque, to surrender, December 4 1979. For since Thursday, November 22, 1979 at noon, the entire upper part of the mosque has been controlled by the royal army, after all the towers where they were highly strategic defense was struck out by tanks with a bazooka and 12.7.

Of course we so surprised, why the towers were remain upright even though showered with the bullets of Bazooka that can blast shook and broke the windows of buildings around the mosque. Because, in addition to construction of the tower was indeed strong and sturdy stone coated by marble, also the bullets of Bazooka  which were fired not metal, but plastics.

Because they had fled and survived in the basement of the mosque, then since Saturday, November 24, 1979, attacks with heavy weapons are no longer directed to the upper part of the mosque, but transferred to the lower part of the mosque.

Further follow my diary, during the first 6 days of the tragedy of Haram below:

Tuesday, 20 November 1979
This morning, I was with my friend, Br. Moch H.Mansyur Shawwal (late) of Dampit Malang, to perform Fajr (Subuh) prayer in the Masjid al-Haram, while the women of our party could not come to the mosque because oversleep. Even some of them there is an upset stomach.

Approximately 2 minutes before the Fajr prayer ended, on my left side a lot of people running toward the Ka’bah. After saying the greetings as a mark to close the prayer,   around the Ka’bah was sounded bitter dispute. Maybe the new people who came in with less warrior guards the Ka’bah. This dispute was ended by the dawn prayers echoed around the Ka’bah, repeatedly. It’s interspersed with the sound of automatic gunfire. By hearing the sound of gunfire was known only people who pray around the Ka’bah on running toward the mosque terraces.

Wird have not had time, in my heart saying: “… Why are you there was a shot in the Haram? … What is it?” I’m down near the Ka’bah. I saw they catched Imam who led Fajr prayers. On  the next day I heard that they killed the Imam on Tuesday it well: “Innalillahi wa inna ilaihi roji’un.” I kept walking towards the Ka’bah, by not considering the deafening sound of gunfire from all corners of the mosque. They’re still flowing toward the Ka’bah – there they obtained weapons. Around the Kaaba they chanted that I did not understand what he meant, as he held the gun. His white, stout, plainclothes (robe) red turban, belts of ammunition, weapons made in Russia: TRD, AKA, dn pistol knife or sword Arab Emirates typical. Some of them stormed into all parts of the mosque. The whole warriors in the mosque were arrested. Against shot.

They asked the pilgrims that still exist around the Kaaba follow them bertakbir. They asked the congregation to pray. They led him. They told the congregation sits. Finally, they asked the congregation listened to the speech ‘leader’ them from above sanctuary Fajr Prayers Imam earlier. Long-winded speech. They alternately. Some use the text, there is not. Of course I did not understand what they gembar rant. Because the shots could still be heard from the surrounding mosques. I want to know how the situation outside the mosque. But, … Astaghfirullah. All the doors of the mosque were closed. A remarkable thing. According to the statement, the mosque was never closed the whole time. To the extent that people are saying, Haram ‘not leaved the door.’ I can not get to the outside. I try to visit out of the window. But the window was too high. I tried to rise to the level one. Here, the situation is more tense. Quiet. Some of them patrolling with guns at the ready. I do not ignore them and continue to climb up to the top level Sa’i. From the window at the top level, I see the situation outside the mosque. Mediocre. Everything is running normally this morning. Those who patrol approached me, and asked me to go down, because it is very dangerous above. Moreover, the visit to the outside through the window. Because the Askar had surrounded the mosque.

I went down and sat down with the crowd while speculating … what happened? 07.00 breaking the flow of electricity, they do not dapatb continued his speech. 07.30 worshipers allowed Tawaf. 08.00 No person who offered a meal to me. “… Tuanmau eat? If you are willing to eat, come with me … “I told my friend:” Well, it seems we have really become prisoners. The proof we will diransum. Let us join him … ”

We follow ‘him’ up in the basement. Furthermore, we are told to follow other people running in this dark tunnel. Walking in this dark place, apparently my friend a little shock. “How do we want mmakan in this dark place?” he muttered. I replied: “Do not worry. What will we eat of the bread Arabic. Although the dark certainly looks as big …” It turns out that what is said ‘eat’ it is ‘a way out’. Us out through the basement. Outside, Askar block mosque. Chained the doors of the mosque from the outside. Helicopter circling above the mosque.

10.30 Gunshots began again. Out of nowhere. Given these gunshots, people Tawaf around the Ka’bah began to decrease. Gunshots increasingly crowded. 11:00 people who performing tawaf in the mosque has not seen again. Quiet. Shops around the mosque on the cap. Traffic around the mosque was stopped. People clustered around the mosque was also in retreat, go to their respective places. Starting at 15:30 there was a shoot-out that is very exciting and continues until 23:30 hours.

Wednesday, 21 November 1979
The shots began to aggressively again around 04.00 resulting in a fire at a storey building in front of Babul Malik. Fire engulfed the building finished. Belim fire until the afternoon can be controlled completely. 08.00 came directly operated tank reinforcements with his 12.7 shots directed to the mosque. 09.00 2 jet fighters came crossed the city several times. But they did not operate.
16:00 attacks of enhanced warriors. Askar tanks firing bullets were directed to the large size of the minarets. Great explosions shook buildings around the mosque. Seven towers, all had one. These towers still standing. Because instead of bullets fired metal, but plastic. This bullet when when not on target, will be turned off when it reaches its culmination point. Attacks on the towers lasted far into the night. Towards morning, dating troops armored tanks.

Thursday, 22 November 1979
Before Fajr, I woke up. Startled by the sound of a huge explosion streak. Attacks against the tower resumed. Massive attack lasted until 1300 hrs where warriors can break into the top of the mosque through Marwah. Furthermore, attacks are no longer focused to the top of the mosque. Because, at the top of this can already be controlled by warriors. The next cleanup is directed to the center or the underground mosque.

Friday. November 23, 1979
This morning came straight red berets troops and dressed in bulletproof. This forces directly to the theater of operations. Then there was heavy fighting in the holy mosque and strategic. Gunshots in the mosque sound like wind. Great rumble. Interspersed with the loud bang like thunder. Maghrib close battle subsided. Closing Isyak, some warriors milling cars with loudspeakers echoing an announcement. I thought ‘surely Askar announces his victory’. Once I asked the people there, it turns out the contents of the announcement is ‘curfew in Mecca.’

Saturday, 24 November 1979
This morning the streets of Mecca were still quiet because of curfew went into effect, Medium battle inside the mosque still continued throughout the night and this morning. 13:45 hours trucks dipaprkir in areas Suqullail pulled slightly away from the mosque. The tanks advanced closer to supporting the fighting in the basement of the mosque. Fierce fighting was closed by two powerful explosions that boomed and broke the windows that surround the mosque. There was a small fire in the mosque, about Babussalam. It happened around 16:00. 18.00 fire can be mastered after brought in no less than six units of fire brigade.

Saturday, 25 November 1979
I left Mecca for Medina with towers still standing on Haram mosque entirely.

Jalan Tembakan II / 49


The Tomb of Raja Ayang in Brunei


THERE’S a point of interest in the capital that sometimes escapes the attention of passersby, or even the workers in Bandar Seri Begawan who park their cars unassumingly in the car park next to it, but Makam Raja Ayang or the Raja Ayang Mausoleum embodies a sad story that harkens back to Brunei’s past.

The tombstone is dated 1452 AD, which corresponds to the time of Sultan Sulaiman and, according to stories passed down from generation to generation, Raja Ayang was a lady who was a descendant of Ibn Ismail bin Yusof bin Al Aziz Al Khawlani and related to the Brunei Royal family. The lady in question had an unlawful relationship with a sibling, which contravened Islamic religious laws, and was subsequently punished.

During that period, Sultan Sulaiman was known as a king who strictly adhered to Islamic principles. The incident provides a clear picture of the Brunei Sultan at that time, who was firm in carrying out punishments against anyone who went against the Islamic law, and those who were punished were willing to receive the punishments.

In the case of Raja Ayang, no one had the heart to stone the couple to death. However the couple could not be left unpunished, and so they were banished to live in an underground shelter, away from the rest of society, and to live out the rest of their days in seclusion. This punishment was willingly served by the couple, who understood the gravity of their crime. The shelter was shaped like a hill and had many rooms with cooking utensils and sufficient provisions to serve out their sentence. Historians say it was unclear as to how long they survived as some stories recount that they lived for a week, while others for as long as 40 days. According to one historical narrative, the lady was banished to live alone for the rest of her days, while another says she and her entourage voluntarily went to their deaths.

The hill, three metres tall and twelve metres wide, no longer exists as the grave was damaged and levelled by a bomb during the arrival of the allied forces that ended the Japanese occupation of Brunei Town around May 1945. The current mausoleum was renovated and built by the Public Works Department in September 2008, and handed over to the Brunei History Centre upon its completion in October 2009.

Members of The Brunei Museums Department and the History Centre once stumbled across an unmarked gravestone buried a few centimetres away from the Raja Ayang Mausoleum, which had no name or date of death marked on it. Researchers had previously never come across any gravestone at the mausoleum site, apart from Raja Ayang’s, and it is now believed to belong to Raja Ayang’s brother who, according to myth, was buried with her.

Today, visitors can read the story of Raja Ayang which is inscribed on the mausoleum in English, Malay and Jawi script. The inscription also conveys the hope that the punishment dealt was sufficient during the life of the couple that they would be forgiven and not suffer further in the life hereafter.

The Brunei Times,
Friday, May 7, 2010
Photo Courtesy: Borneo Insider

The mystery of 1965 tragedy, can it be solved with reconciliation?

Ananda Rasti

RESPONDING to solve the mystery of 1965 tragedy, the government for the first time in history organized an official event to openly discuss the 1965 massacre, involving the survivors, the government, the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM), academics, and human rights groups.

The symposium, spearheaded by Komnas HAM and the Presidential Advisory Board (Wantimpres), will discuss rehabilitation and compensation for the victims of the tragedy, which took place more than 50 years ago and remains a deeply sensitive topic in Indonesia. The event will occur ahead of a May 2 deadline for settling serious past human rights violations, as declared by Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Luhut Pandjaitan last month.

The two-day event, entitled “Dissecting the 1965 tragedy”, comprised discussions among stakeholders and aimed to provide recommendations for the government on the efforts to settle the past atrocities. The organizers invited three sides to the symposium: members or relatives of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI), ex-military personnel who were involved in operations against members of the PKI, and those who were accused of being PKI members and communist academics.

The two-day symposium on the 1965 tragedy ended on Monday (18/4/2016), but historians could not reach any conclusions about this dark episode in Indonesian history, although the organizers tried to invite all related parties to participate in the discussion.

Quoting from The Jakarta Post, the kidnapping and murder of six Army generals on Sept. 30, 1965, led to a purge of communists and alleged communist sympathizers by the military under the leadership of Soeharto. In the purge, countless thousands were murdered, tortured and arrested without trial. It is estimated that between five hundred thousan to one million people were killed during the cleansing of people with any leftist connections, regardless of their age or level of connection.

Meanwhile, former Army Special Forces (Kopassus) member Lt. Gen. (Ret) Sintong Pandjaitan was a regiment commander of the Army Para Commando Regiment (RPKAD), which led the anti-PKI campaign in areas across Indonesia. At the symposium, Sintong denied that the number of victims killed after the G30S/PKI incident amounted to hundreds of thousands. “It’s a lie,” the retired military general said as quoted by Tempo. “Such a lie has tainted our honor as RPKAD members,” he went on.

Sintong Pandjaitan

Sintong Pandjaitan

Sintong was referring to the results of an investigation by a fact-finding commission formed by President Soekarno in December 1965 and led by then-Home Minister Maj. Gen. Soemarno. The team concluded that the number of victims was 80,000. President Soekarno was not sure about the investigation results and confided that to a team member, Oei Tjoe Tat. “It is around five to six times higher [than the 80.000 figure],” said Oei, as quoted by Julius Pour in his book Gerakan 30 September.

Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the largest Islamic outfit in Indonesia, has called on the government to uncover the truth behind the violence and repression that wracked the nation in 1965-1966. According to NU executive Imam Aziz, the government needs to continue to promote dialogue and shed light on the tragedy.

“The most important thing is to reveal all the facts, and then determine how to continue,” said Imam, adding that revealing the truth would put an end to the “glorification” of the perpetrators, who regarded themselves as victors and heroes.

According to Imam, NU has yet to decide on a firm position in regard to the latest government efforts to settle past human rights abuses and reconcile with the victims, but the ulemas are expected to decide one soon. “I hope NU will take a positive position,” Imam said.

Survivors of the 1965 tragedy have called for reconciliation through the revelation of the truth behind the mass killing of members and sympathizers of PKI and their families. The government of Indonesia stance is a clear. Indonesia’s government doesn’t to apologize to PKI because the botched of PKI efforts to change state ideology, Pancasila to be communism ideology.

Crucially, the mystery of 1965 tragedy has still been blurred because many of vested interest group which come from Indonesia and abroad were politized these issue which could be had “hidden agenda” to raise communist ideology in Indonesia. However, we must alert on the rise of the communist group in Indonesia, because now they are moving under the ground and on all fronts. We must defend our national ideology, Pancasila whatever any risks will be taken.

*) The writer is a historic observer at Galesong Institute and LSISI Jakarta.

Source: Antara

Sultans of Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat

HB Keraton-Jogja

Keraton Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat


Keraton originally means as the place for the ratu (queens) to stay, came from the words of: ka + ratu + an = keraton. It is also translated as a palace. The term Keraton is a palace with several meanings; religious, philosophy, and also cultural. Keraton is rich with its hidden meanings and significance, which is important not just for the internal community but also to the city development of Yogyakarta. Whilst the name of Ngayogyakarta was taken from the area of Yogyakarta, with more comprehensive meaning of Yogya (Goodness) + Karta (Properous) and also Ngayu (Goodness) + Bagya (Happiness) + Karya (Inovative).

 The elements of Keraton, including the ornaments, the buildings, decorations, also the colors and plants have their own hidden story. All of their stories seems to encourage about the importance of doing good deeds in the world and will carry on until the life after death to the people also the visitors. The philosophy mostly adapted from Islam religion with the mix of Hinduism, and progressing until now.

1746 – 1749: Conflict Between Brothers

 The birth of Keraton begun with the battle of Prince Mangkubumi to win back the Mataram Kingdom that has been surrendered by his step brother, Prince Pakubuwono II to the Dutch Colony, with personal interest. The two brother were in the same Kingdom of Mataram. The Mataram Kingdom was originally concluded both the city of Yogyakarta and Surakarta (Solo).

 It took more or less 9 years for Sultan Hamengkubuwono I to restore the Mataram dynasty that was temporarily handed by his older brother, Sunan Pakubuwono 2nd to the Dutch East Indies.


Sultan Hamengkubuwono I, who then went by the name Raden Mas Sujono, went to Sukowati.


On December 1749, Raden Mas Sujono was crowned as the first sultan of Sunan Kabanaran.

 The reason Pakubuwono 2nd gave their land to the Dutch East Indies was to reassure that his heir will become sultan. On December 15 1749, the Dutch East Indies crowned Pakubuwono the 3rd as the succcessor to balance the recently crowned Pakubuwono I.

 Pakubuwono 2nd died in December 20, 1749.

1755: The Giyanti Agreement & the Birth of Keraton Yogyakarta

 With all of the conflicts and tension that happened between the two Keraton of Yogyakarta and Surakata, Dutch Colony then tried to separate the two Kingdom with “Giyanti Agreement” that stated, the Mataram Kingdom will be divided by two regions, the Sunanate of Surakarta which under the authority of Prince Pakubuwono II, and the Sunanate of Yogyakarta which under the authority of Prince Mangkubumi then later became the first Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono, the first “Sultan” (ruler) of Keraton Yogyakarta.

1755 – 1756

The First Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono and The Construction of Keraton Yogyakarta


Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono I

Original Name: Bendara Raden Mas Sujono/ Prince Mangkubumi
Date of Birth: 7 August 1717
Crowned: 13 February 1755
Died: 24 March 1792

 After Prince Mangkubumi was crowned as the first Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono as the ruler of Sunanate Yogyakarta, he decided to build a royal palace by his own desire. Sultan Hamengkubuwono I was the architect of the Keraton Surakarta. His residence in Jogjakarta was his private residence; the design was an application of his philosophies

 Keraton was built on forest, the concept was adapted the Hinduism belief which communicates the relation between God with all of his creation. Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono I believe that our level as human is the same with other living creature. Therefore, it is important to treat the others equally as God sees us all the same way. Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono was also a Muslim. He added philosophies of Islam into the royal palace.

 Sri Sultan Hamengkubowo I Facts:

  • Had wives in total of 25

  • The total of his children is 32

1792 – 1921: The Successors of Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono

 The era of two centuries after the the First Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono was considered as the era of stabilisation. There were not many significant changes happening at that time. Keraton Yogyakarta was still in good condition, with the system that was built by Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono 1 and continued since. Although, each of the successors has their own little stories.


Sultan Hamengkubuwono II                            Sultan Hamengkubuwono III

Original Name: Gusti Raden Mas Sundoro                        Original Name: Gusti Raden Mas Surojo
 Date of Birth: 7 March 1750                                                    Date of Birth: 20 February 1769
 Crowned: 2 April 1792                                                               Crowned: 12 June 1812
 Died: 3 January 1828                                                                  Died: 3 November 1814

 Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono II Facts:        Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono III Facts:

Had wives in total of 28                                                              Had wives in total of 25
The total of his children is 80                                                  The total of his children is 32
Hamengkubuwono IV
Hamengkubuwono V
Hamengkubuwono VI
Hamengkubuwono VII

1921 – 1939

Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono VIII, the Father of New Development


Hamengkubuwono VIII

 The era of Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono VIII was known as the era of new development. This was known based on the new added elements at Keraton Yogyakarta by on the 20th Century. He implemented many of his designs with the use of symbols that has the components of 8 (eight). The elements that were designed by Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono VIII are also shown in the section of                                                                                .

 Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono VIII’s contributions to Keraton Yogyakarta were significant. According to the history, the era of Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono VIII was the time when the Dutch East Indies was trying to take to the whole Yogyakarta for their own purpose, by built fort with missiles that were aiming to Keraton Yogyakarta. However, Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono VIII was smart enough to manipulate them and develop the royal palace using the social funding so that the Dutch East Indies could not take it.

 Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono VIII Facts:

  • Had wives in total of 8

  • The total of his children is 41

1940 – 1988

Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX, the One Who Experienced 5 Periods


Hamengkubuwono IX

 Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX was named as the phenomenal Sultan of Keraton Yogyakarta. He experienced the 5 Periods: 1) The time when Dutch East Indies were invading Indonesia, 2) The British Occupation and the Java War, 3) Japanese Occupation in Indonesia, 4) The revolution period when Indonesia fought to reach their independence, 5) The time when Indonesia proclaimed themselves as an independent country in 1945.

 Under the authority of Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX, Keraton Yogyakarta then decided to be a part of Republic of Indonesia. Keraton Yogyakarta was very significant to Indonesia at that time, chosen as the location for the coronation of the first Indonesian President in 1945. Hamengkubuwono IX was also officiated as the second Vise-President of Indonesian between 1973 – 1978.

 He went to Leiden, Netherlands and pursued his study. His father (Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono VIII) sent him there in order to learn the true education and meet the real ‘Dutch People’ with the hope that Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX will return home and could finally be free from the Dutch East Indies.

 Because of his magnificent achievements during his reign, he held the title of  “Ngarsa Dalem Sampeyan Dalem Ingkang Sinuwun Kangjeng Sultan Hamengkubuwana Senapati-ing-Ngalaga Abdurrahman Sayidin Panatagama Khalifatullah ingkang Jumeneng Kaping Sanga ing Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat”. There is also a museum dedicated to Sri Sultan Hamengkubowono IX in order to remember his contributions for Keraton Yogyakarta and also Indonesia.

The Hamengkubuwono 9 museum was built because to commemorate the sultan’s tremendous efforts of uniting the Kraton with Indonesia. The construction of the museum was initiated by Jogjakarta local authorities with Murwanto/ Tri Martini.

Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX Facts:

  • had wives in total of 5

  • The total of his children is 22

1986 – Present

Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono X, The Current Sultan


Hamengkubowono X

 Nowadays, the family tree of Sultan Hamengkubuwono is currently hold by Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono the 10th. He is also officiate as a Governor of Yogyakarta, from 1998 until present.

 One of the events that is still debatable in the area of Keraton Yogyakarta is the problem regarding to the next successor of Hamengkubuwono, as Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono does not have a Son.

 Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono X Facts:

  • He has one wife

  • The total of his daughters is 5

  • Therefore, he does not have a Son who could possibly his successor. Because of this matter, there are still some discussions about the controversial news of having his daugther as the successor.


Prince Mangkubumi’s war against Dutch colonial

On the Succession and Development Project in Yogyakarta Sultanate

HBX fam

Sultan of Yogyakarta, Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono (HB) X with his spouse, daughters and sons-in-law.

Cally Colbron


THE current Sultan of Yogyakarta, Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono (HB) X is the father of five daughters and no sons. The Sultanate has customarily been inherited through the male line. Following that tradition, it was widely assumed that at the end of the current Sultan’s reign the Sultanate would pass to his half-brother. Since the position of Sultan is automatically granted the office of Governor of Yogyakarta Province, this would also mean the Sultan’s half-brother would assume this position.

The privilege of government office without elections is unique to Yogyakarta. It is also a relatively new phenomenon. The current Sultan’s father, Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono (HB) IX, held the position of Governor of Yogyakarta from the period of Indonesian independence until the time of his death in 1988. However, he had not been entitled to the position by law. The linking of the Yogyakarta governorship to the position of Sultan as an inherited position became national law in 2012.

Gender equality?

On 30 April this year, Sultan HB X issued a royal proclamation indicating that the position of Sultan could be held by a female. The proclamation also altered the official titles of the Sultan. It removed the Islamic designation ‘Khalifatullah’ (Caliph), a title that can only be held by a male, and replaced the Javanese male designation ‘Buwono’ (loosely translated as ‘universe’) to the gender neutral ‘Bawono’. On 5 May the Sultan issued another decree to change the name of his eldest daughter Gusti Kanjeng Ratu Pembayun (GKR), giving her a new title designating her as the crown princess.

Media coverage and commentary from outside Yogyakarta has widely described both the decree and the proclamation as wins for gender equality. Some have suggested that the dispensing of ‘Khalifatullah’ from the official title is a step that not only paves the way for a female Sultan, but also strengthens values of religious diversity within Yogyakarta, since it weakens the identification of the Sultanate with Islam.

Media commentary within Yogyakarta has centred on expert opinions that the changes are illegal under the terms of the 2012 Yogyakarta Special Region Law (Law No. 13/2012). The 2012 law, by linking the governorship to the Sultan, made the position of governor no longer subject to elections. The 2012 law mentions the position of wife of the Sultan, leading some to argue that this indicates unequivocally that the position of Sultan must be held by a male. After 2012, Sultan HB X lobbied the provincial parliament unsuccessfully to remove the paragraph containing mention of the wife of the Sultan but the stipulation remains. The 2012 law also granted the vice governorship to the Pakualam, head of a small duchy called Kadipaten Pakualaman within Yogyakarta Province. Kadipaten Pakualaman was originally created by British colonial powers with land taken from the Sultanate of Yogyakarta as part of colonial Britain’s divide and conquer approach to maintaining control over the local populace.

Among the Yogyakarta public, the proposed changes were met with suspicion. Banners popped up throughout Yogyakarta urging a return to the ‘rules’ of the Kraton. Suspicions were aired on social media and other casual commentary as to the motivations behind the changes. Anti-development sentiment has also grown, due to the Sultan’s role in politics and control of land in the region.

Reclaiming land

Yogyakarta has enjoyed a degree of autonomy and ‘special’ status since the colonial era. After independence, that ‘special status’ was entrenched in national law in recognition of the extraordinary role that both the then Sultan (HB IX) and then Pakualam (VII) played in supporting the independence movement. The Sultan and Pakualam retained ownership of land belonging to the Sultanate and Pakualaman, rather than it being taken over by the new state. Traditional ‘royal’ land remained in use by local communities and a great deal was used for public works projects in the manner of public land. These projects were perceived as benefiting the community at large, and ranged from using land for the establishment of a public university to engineering projects.

In 1984, Sri Sultan HB IX adopted the 1960 Basic Agrarian Law (BAL) in Yogyakarta, a move that saw the ownership of all remaining crown land or royal land (owned by the Sultan or Pakualam) being transferred to the Republic of Indonesia. Prior to this, Sri Sultan HB IX had embarked on a range of public works on crown land and the BAL had little effect on this practice. The adoption of the 1960 BAL came after Sri Sultan HB IX’s withdrawal from national politics in 1978, a move precipitated by then President Suharto’s withdrawal of support. From that time until his death in 1988, Sri Sultan HB IX remained Governor of Yogyakarta. Tensions between HB IX and Suharto then transferred to the current Sultan, who was denied appointment as the governor of Yogyakarta until Suharto fell and the position was won by election in 1998.

The 2012 Yogyakarta Special Region Law, which linked the governorship to the Sultanate, was perceived as recognising Yogyakarta’s unique status as the cultural epicenter of Java. It received broad support from a vast majority of Yogyakartans. This law came in the wake of mass protest against a proposition from then President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono that would see regular democratic elections for the position of governor and vice governor of Yogyakarta. Rhetoric surrounding the debate took on a Jakarta versus Yogyakarta aspect.

A component of the law that received limited attention until now is the clause that cancelled the BAL and returned to the colonial era Sultan Grond (SG) and Pakualaman Grond (PAG)..This meant that large tracts of land within Yogyakarta were reclassified as crown land, owned by the Sultan or Pakualam. In the wake of the 2012 law an unprecedented mapping project was initiated, aimed at recording all land ‘belonging’ to the Sultan and Pakualam under SG and PAG. Locals who have had their land ownership paperwork amended as part of the mapping exercise began posting photographs of amendments on social media in the wake of the royal proclamation, linking the mapping initiative and the changes to succession.

In a pattern that began before 2012, various sites throughout Yogyakarta have been claimed by the Sultan and Pakualam under the legitimacy of SG and PAG and earmarked for large-scale commercial projects. Local communities who use these sites have been resisting eviction from land and controversy has plagued each project. The legal legitimacy of SG and PAG rests in the 2012 law, since prior to this the 1960 BAL (recognised in Yogyakarta in 1984) had voided the SG and PAG and meant the Sultan and Pakualam had no ownership rights.

The anti-development movement

Resistance to land claims based on SG and PAG and the struggles against dispossession have been going on for several years in various parts of Yogyakarta. One such dispute in Kulon Progo district has seen farmers clash with authorities over an attempted dispossession to make way for an iron sand mining project in collaboration with an Australian mining company. The resistance has been fierce and spanned a number of years, becoming known as the ‘bertani atau mati’ (farm or die) movement – a play on the independence era slogan of ‘merdeka atau mati’ (independence or die). While these farmers have gained positive attention outside Indonesia, within Yogyakarta media portrayals have depicted them as an opportunistic fringe group, until recently. In fact, many within Yogyakarta accepted the official narrative that such organised resistance was the work of preman (organised criminals) or thugs aiming to milk compensation money from the government. That opinion has changed over time, particularly after the recent royal decree and proclamation.

Yogyakarta has also seen a growing anti-development movement, focused on resistance to urban development. The Jogja Ora Didol movement (Javanese for ‘Jogja is not for sale’) has protested with street art resisting what is seen as unfettered and inequitable development. At the same time, spontaneous expressions of protest and resistance to the rampant building of hotels, apartment blocks and shopping malls has been on the increase in local neighbourhoods.

Throughout Yogyakarta, banners expressing opposition to commercial development projects can be seen in virtually every area. Nonetheless, until now only a minority of activists have drawn attention to the nexus between rampant development and the Sultan and Pakualam’s roles as political office holders, landowners and developers. The royal decree appears to have been a trigger which has brought this previously taboo topic out into the open for discussion by the broader Yogyakarta public.

Suing the Sultan

In an unprecedented move, residents of Kulon Progo facing eviction to make way for another development project, the grand scale international airport, launched legal action against the Sultan for his approval of this project. In this case, there is also uncertainty about land rights. The BAL meant that use of the land by local people was protected, whereas reversion to PAG and SG means land rights within these areas are now uncertain. If the Kulon Progo project proceeds, the implication is that PAG and SG takes precedence.

The residents resisting the Kulon Progo airport project are being represented by a local legal aid organisation famed for advocating social justice. Public opinion on the airport project has shifted, and protesters who were viewed with suspicion just months ago are fast becoming a symbol for all Yogyakartans fed up with rampant development, an attitude sharpened since the royal decree and proclamation. The Kulon Progo court case against the Sultan was successful, and a temporary stay on work has been granted. The court decision in favour of residents coincided with the removal of many banners advocating a return to the ‘rules’ of the Kraton. The Sultan has declared his intention to appeal the case and locals still live in uncertainty.

Although the Sultan’s half-brothers have protested the changes to succession, protest from within the royal family has mostly been muted, and it is difficult to imagine protest from those quarters uniting with communities resisting land possessions, given that many members of the Sultan’s extended family have benefited from property development in Yogyakarta. In the view of many locals, succession staying within the immediate family, rather than going to one of the Sultan’s half-brothers as has traditionally been the case, has undermined one of the checks and balances on the power of the Sultanate. The Sultan has defended the changes to succession by saying that the impetus came in messages from God.

Cally Colbron ( has a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from Monash University and has been living in Yogyakarta with her family.



Slavery In Dutch Colonial Era

(OLD Indonesian writting style) “Sjahadan antara boedak-boedaknya Toean Van Der Ploegh, ada djoega satoe orang prampoean moeda, Rossina namanja jang teramat tjantik dan manis parasnja, dan dalem antero bilangan Betawi tiada ada lagi seorang prampoean jang boleh disamaken padanya. Maskipoen Rossina asal toeroenannja orang Bali, koelitnya tiada hitem, malahan poetih koening sebagai koelit langsep. Oemoernja moeda sekali, belon anem belas taoen.

Apabila Njonja Van der Ploegh pergi melantjong atau pergi di gredja, Rossina selamanja di adjak boeat bawa tempat siri. Dimana tempat ia liwat, senantiasa Rossina dipandeng dan dipoedji orang kerna eloknya. Pakeannya tiada sebrapa bagoes, sedang sadja, jaitoe badjoe koeroeng poetih pendek sampai diwates pinggang dan kain batik, aken tetapi pinggangnja jang langsing ada teriket dengan pending mas, taboer berliant.

Ramboetnja, jang item moeloes dan pandjang sampe dimata kaki, selamanja dikondei sadja di betoelan leher. Ramboet ini biasanja digaboeng dan terhias dengan brapa toesoek kondei mas bermata berliant. Semoea barang mas inten ini soedah tentoe boekan poenjanja si Rossina, tetapi ada punjanja Njonja Van der Ploegh jang soeka sekali riaskan boedak-boedaknja soepaja njata pada orang banjak bebrapa besar kekajaanja.”

(English) “Syahdan is one of slaves among Mr Van der Plugh’s slaves. there is also one slave, a very young girl named Rossina, she is so beautiful and she has a very sweet face, and among Betawinese, there will be no woman can be equated with Rossina. Although Rossina came from Bali, she is not brown skin, her skin is white, she is sixteen years old.

When wife of Mr Van der Plugh were travelling or go to the Church, Rossina always accompany wife of Mr Van der Plugh for bringing her betel box. In every place she passes, all guys turns to look at her due to her awesome prettiness. Her clothes are usual, but there be always something special around Rossina, that is gold and diamond belt on her waist.

Her long hair always tied, and wears gold and diamond hairpins, all this luxury stuff doesn’t belong to Rossina, but it’s belong to Mr Van der Plugh in order to display how rich Van der Plugh’s family.”

The story above was written by H.F.R. Kommer, in his book titled Rossinna published in 1910.

slavery-in-dutch-colonial-eraThe Trend Among VOC Officials In Batavia (Jakarta)
Slavery in Dutch colonial era had been progressed since Jan Pieterszoon Coen had managed to seize Jayakarta fort in 1619. During the heyday of VOC (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie), slave ownership peaked because the slave system that had been neatly organized. This led to the “new culture and trend” in colony, rank and wealth of VOC’s officials were measured by the number of slaves they owned.

JP COENSlavery, especially in Batavia has become massive competition among VOC officials and rich people during Dutch colonial era. For example, in every sunday, the exhibit show of person’s wealth can be seen from how long the row of slaves who accompanied their Dutch master to go to the Church. Each slave has a duty to bring equipments, such as an umbrella, foot pads, big fan, religious books, a cigarette, even a betel box, because some Dutch lady was also chewing betel. The other objects that made ​​by gold or expensive silver carving, clothes and jewelry were wore by slave, just to display the wealth levels of their masters.

Human Trafficking During Western Imperialism And Colonialism In Asia
The need for the slavery was grown during VOC era to build a fort of Batavia. When Coen defeated the Prince of Jayakarta in 1619, 80 of 350 people in Jayakarta costal are slaves. The number of slaves needed grows much larger, especially during developing the Batavia under Dutch colony.

VOC requires energy for extracting vessel, draining swamps and locating city. Residents around Batavia could not be recruited, most of them migrated to another area and refused to cooperate especially as slaves. Then VOC brought slaves from the Indian Peninsula and surrounding islands. Noted, Goudbloem ship carrying 250 slaves from mainland East Asia, after arriving in Gulf of Batavia, that number shrank to 114 people, because most of them dies on the way. Ship of d ‘Elisabeth went to Madagascar to find mine workers in Salido, West Sumatra, but from the 115 male and female slaves that brought from there, there were only 62 people survived in the west coast of Sumatra.

slavery-during-dutch-colonialismWhen VOC lost power in the Indian peninsula, the human import from Madagascar, Surat or Bengal immediately stopped. However, VOC found something new in Indonesia. Almost in every islands in Indonesia at that time there is always a class of people who came from defeated-residents or those who can not pay a debt which finally called as a slave class. VOC was so excited over this new finding, then the slave trade grew among the VOC officials.

On December 8, 1657, a director of a trade office in Batavia, Karel Harstinck, bought up to 80 slaves of women and men from the Solor island, then it was written “als mede 80 a 90 stuckx schapen van daer gekomen”. Let’s notice the use of word of “stuckx”, it’s the nominal word for counting the number of slaves, which is equated with inanimate objects.

budakAnother note to mention that the Kabeljauw ship had brought 19 slaves, they were healthy and muscular. Their bodies have been labeled “VOC” (…met leer lomnaeyt met Compagnie merck getjapt). The Dagh-registers can still be read and stored in the Jakarta National Archives. Expedition along the coast of New Guinea (now Papua), have succeeded in chaining a number of the natives. After the VOC knowing this in 1760, the ruler of Batavia has been issued a permit to export two slaves from Papua, and one of the buyers was a representative of the Chinese emperor. For a comparison of the economic situation at that time, in the book of “History of Java” written by Raffles, nobody can imagine how rich an officer of VOC who has tens or even hundreds of slaves.

Common Information and Analysis (CIA)
Wed, October 15, 2014