Tjokroaminoto, Freedom’s Leading Light
SUKARNO, the nation’s first president, acknowledged that Haji Oemar Said Tjokroaminoto changed his life around. He was not only Sukarno’s father-in-law, he was also his political guru and of other independence movement leaders, such as Semaoen, Musso, Alimin and Kartosoewirjo. But in the end, the mentor of our founding fathers stood alone.... More
OVER the past two months, many of us at Proklamasi 72 were immersed in history books and documents. A number of the publications are originals, others photocopies. The titles vary, but all the books relate to Oemar Said Tjokroaminoto, known as the ‘mentor’ to the Republic’s founders.
The books are part of the Tempo library collection, some newly purchased. A good number resulted from the ‘hunting expeditions’ of Philipus Parera, Tempo Bureau Chief in Yogyakarta, who visited the library of Cokroaminoto University there.
As in previous issues, while still working on our regular assignments, we also prepared a special Independence Day edition for August 17. This year we chose Tjokroaminoto as the figure to focus on, because of his central role as the vanguard of democracy movements at the start of our struggle to become a republic. This magazine has written a series of special editions on the Fathers of the Nation, such as Sukarno, Moh. Hatta, Sjahrir and Tan Malaka, which have been republished by the Kepustakaan Populer Gramedia. This special edition on Tjokroaminoto is aimed at enhancing those series.
A meeting to plan for this issue at Citarik, West Java last year decided that we would take no more than two months to come up with this special edition. Budi Setyarso, managing editor of the political section, was the lead person, ably assisted by Sunudyantoro, Yandhrie Arvian and Oktamanjaya Wiguna. They collected books, contacted resource persons and coordinated the assignments of our regional reporters.
Sunudyantoro, a journalist from Trenggalek, East Java and graduate of International Relations at Gadjah Mada University, was so engrossed in this special edition, that he quoted often from Tjokroaminoto’s speeches on his Twitter account.
We invited a few descendents of Tjokro for discussions at the Tempo office, among them Haryono Sigit, former rector of the November 11 Institute of Technology in Surabaya. Sigit is the son of Oetari, the daughter and second child of Tjokro. Present at the discussions was also Anie Hidayat, daughter of Anwar Tjokro and wife of the current Industry Minister.
Surrounded by a forest of teak trees, the house where Tjokro once lived is only 500 meters from a station through which the Surabaya-Solo-Yogya trains pass. He lived there with his second wife, a former stage performer from Solo. Our reporters traced his movements in Surabaya and Solo, the two cities which fostered his development. Illustrator Kiagus Aliansyah was assigned to Solo so he could breathe in the history of Tjokroaminoto and his era, better to create credible but readable infographics.
Dear readers, this special report is not intended to supplant a history book. We have used a journalistic approach so that the Tjokroaminoto story makes for ‘essential easy-reading’ in line with the motto of this magazine. The short bibliography below lists some of the publications we relied on to prepare this issue. Happy reading!
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