|Full Name Ibrahim|
|Other names 23 aliases|
Name Tan Malaka
Siblings Kamarudin Rasad
|Born 2 June 1897 (1897-06-02) Limapuluh Koto , Dutch East Indies|
Awards National Hero of Indonesia
Main interests Epistemology, Socialism, Marxism, Pan-Islamism
Notable ideas Madilog, Pan-Islamic Marxism
Died February 21, 1949, Kediri Regency, Indonesia
Education Rijkskweekschool Haarlem (1913–1919)
Similar People Sutan Sjahrir, Semaun, Musso
Parents Rangkayo Sinah, HM. Rasad
Tan malaka konseptor bangsa yang dibungkam
Tan Malaka (2 June 1897 – 21 February 1949) was a teacher, Indonesian philosopher, founder of Struggle Union (Persatuan Perjuangan) and Murba Party, independent guerrilla, Indonesian fighter, and Indonesian national hero. Tempo credited him as Father of the Republic of Indonesia (Indonesian: Bapak Republik Indonesia)
- Tan malaka konseptor bangsa yang dibungkam
- Mengenal Tan Malaka dalam 4 menit
- Early life
- Education in the Netherlands 1913 1919
- Briefly Joining Partai Komunis Indonesia
- Partai Republik Indonesia Persatuan Perdjuangan later life and death
- Marxism and religion
Mengenal Tan Malaka dalam 4 menit
Tan Malaka's full name was Ibrahim Gelar Datuk Sutan Malaka. His given name was Ibrahim, while Tan Malaka was a semi-aristocrat name which came from his maternal line. He was born in present-day Nagari Pandan Gadang, Suliki, Limapuluh Koto, West Sumatra, though his birthdate is uncertain. His parents were HM. Rasad, an agricultural employee, and Rangkayo Sinah, a daughter of a respected person in the village. As a child Malaka studied religious knowledge and trained pencak silat. In 1908 Malaka attended Kweekschool, a state teacher's school, at Fort de Kock. According to his teacher, G. H. Horensma, although Malaka was sometimes disobedient, he was an excellent student. At this school, Malaka enjoyed his Dutch language lessons, so Horensma suggested that he become a Dutch teacher. He also was a skilled football player. He graduated from that school in 1913 and was offered a datuk title and a fiancée. However, he only accepted the title. He received the title after a traditional ceremony in 1913.
Education in the Netherlands 1913 – 1919
Although Malaka became a datuk, he left his village in October 1913 to study at Rijkskweekschool, a government teacher education school which was funded by engkus of his village. Arriving at the Netherlands, Malaka initially experienced a culture shock. He also, under-estimating the North European climate, was infected by a pleuritis in early 1914, which did not heal completely until in 1915. During his time in Europe, his knowledge about revolution as a mean to transformation of society started to increase. The first inspiration source was de Fransche Revolutie, a book by the German historian, author, journalist and social democratic politician Wilhelm Blos 1889, about the French revolution and historical events in France from 1789 until 1804. This book was given to him by Horensma. After the Russian Revolution of October 1917, Malaka increasingly became more and more interested in communism and socialism and communism contra reformist socialism. He was reading the books by Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, and Vladimir Lenin. Friedrich Nietzsche was also one of his early political role models, and may have given him the idea that one man could perform great deeds if he only dared to assume the role of hero. Nietzsche argued that what makes a hero (at least in Greek tragedy) is an interplay between the Apollonian and Dionysian nature in man – or between the controlled, distanced, structured logical planning (Apollonian) and the wild euphoric, closeness of experience (Dionysian). During this time, around 1917 – 1920 Malaka highly disliked Dutch culture and was impressed by the German and American societies. He then signed up to be a German soldier; however, he was rejected because the German Army did not accept foreigners. There, Malaka met Henk Sneevliet, one of the founders of Indische Sociaal-Democratische Vereeniging (ISDV, forerunner of Partai Komunis Indonesia or PKI). Malaka was also interested in Sociaal-Democratische Onderwijzers Vereeniging (Association of Democrat Social Teachers). In November 1919 Malaka graduated and received his diploma, hulpactie. According to his father, during that time they communicated via mystical means called Tariqa.
After graduating, Malaka returned to his village. He accepted an offering by Dr. C. W. Janssen to teach the children of tea plantation coolies at Sanembah, Tanjung Morawa, Deli, East Sumatra. Malaka went there in December 1919 and began teaching the children Malay in January 1920. In addition to teaching, he also produced subversive propaganda for the coolies, known as Deli Spoor. During this period he learned of the deterioration of the indigenous people that had occurred. He also made a contact with ISDV and wrote some works for the press. One of his earliest works was "Land of Paupers", which tells about the striking differences in wealth between capitalists and workers; it was included in Het Vrije Woord's March 1920 issue. Malaka also wrote about the suffering of the coolies in the Sumatera Post. In the Volksraad's 1920 election he was a leftist party candidate. He decided to resign on 23 February 1921.
Briefly Joining Partai Komunis Indonesia
Malaka chose Java island as the starting point of his struggle, considering that there were many figures who had the same view as him. He arrived in Batavia when his old teacher, Horensma, offered him a job as a teacher; however, Malaka rejected it. Malaka told that he wanted to establish a school; Horensma accepted the reason and supported him. Malaka arrived at Yogyakarta in early March 1921 and stayed at a house belonging to Sutopo, a former leader of Budi Utomo. There he wrote a proposal about grammar school. He participated in Sarekat Islam's 5th congress and met H.O.S. Tjokroaminoto, Agus Salim, Darsono, and Semaun. The congress discussed the topic of double membership. Agus Salim and Abdul Muis forbade it, while Semaun and Darsono were PKI members. Malaka offered a solution that excluded PKI because both organizations had the same vision; however, the prohibition was applied in the end. Sarekat Islam was split as a result, forming SI Putih (White SI), led by Tjokroaminoto, and SI Merah (Red SI), led by Semaun and based in Semarang. After the congress Malaka was asked by Semaun to go to Semarang to join PKI. He went to Semarang and then accepted it. Arriving in Semarang, Malaka became sick. A month later, he had returned to health and participated in a meeting with fellow SI Semarang members. The meeting concluded that a rival to government schools was needed. The school, named Sekolah Sarekat Islam (which was later better known as Sekolah Tan Malaka, and spread to Bandung and Ternate), opened to enrollment on 21 June 1921, the day after the meeting. As a guidebook for the schools, Malaka wrote SI Semarang dan Onderwijs. In June 1921 Malaka became the chairman of Serikat Pegawai Pertjitakan (Printing Workers Association) and served as the vice chairman and treasurer of Serikat Pegawai Pelikan Hindia (SPPH or Indies Oils Workers Association). Between May and August his first book, Sovjet atau Parlemen? (Soviet or Parliament?), was serialized in PKI's journal Soeara Ra'jat; his other works, including articles, were published in the journal and PKI's newspaper Sinar Hindia. In June he was one of the leaders of Revolutionaire Vakcentrale and in August he was elected to the editorial board of SPPH's journal Soeara Tambang. Malaka then replaced Semaun, who left the Dutch East Indies in October, as the chairman of PKI after a congress on 24–25 December 1921 in Semarang. Whilst Semaun was more cautious, Malaka was more radical. Malaka also maintained a good relationship with Sarekat Islam. The Dutch East Indies' government felt threatened and arrested Malaka on 13 February 1922 in Bandung when he visited the branch school. He was first exiled to Kupang; however, he wanted to be exiled to the Netherlands. He left the Dutch East Indies in March and arrived in the Netherlands on 1 May.
Malaka joined Communist Party of the Netherlands (CPN) and was appointed as the third candidate of the party for Tweede Kamer at the 1922 elections for the Estates-General of the Netherlands. He was the first subject of the Dutch East Indies ever to run for office in the Netherlands. He did not expect to be elected because, under the system of proportional representation in use, his third position on the ticket made his election highly unlikely. His stated goal in running was instead to gain a platform to speak about Dutch actions in Indonesia, and to work to persuade the CPN to support Indonesian independence. Although he did not win a seat, he received unexpectedly strong support. Before the counting of votes was finished, he went to Germany. In Berlin he met Darsono, an Indonesian communist who was related to the West European Bureau of the Comintern, and possibly met M.N. Roy. Malaka then continued to Moscow, and arrived in October 1922 to participate in the Executive Committee of the Comintern. At the Fourth World Congress in Moscow, 1922, Malaka proposed that communism and Pan-Islamism could collaborate; however, his proposal was rejected. In January 1923 Malaka and Semaun were appointed correspondents of Die Rote Gewerkschafts-Internationale. During the first half of that year he also wrote for the journals of the Indonesian and Dutch labor movements. He also became an agent of the Eastern Bureau of the Comintern as he reported on the ECCI plenum in June 1923. Malaka went to Canton, arriving in December 1923, and edited English journal The Dawn for an organization of transport workers of the Pacific. In August 1924 Malaka requested the government of the Dutch East Indies to allow him to return home because of illness. The government accepted this, but with burdensome terms to be imposed; Malaka thus did not return home. In December 1924 PKI began to collapse, as it was suppressed by the government. As a response, Malaka wrote Naar de Republiek Indonesia (Towards the Republic of Indonesia), which was published in Canton in April 1925. It explains the situation in the world, from the Netherlands which suffered an economic crisis, the Dutch East Indies which had opportunities to carry out a revolution by nationalist movements and PKI, to his prediction that the United States and Japan would "settle with the sword which of them is the more powerful in the Pacific."
In July 1925 Tan Malaka moved to Manila, Philippines, because the environment was similar to Indonesia. Malaka arrived in Manila on 20 July. There he became a correspondent of the nationalist newspaper El Debate, edited by Francisco Varona. Publication of Malaka's works, such as a second edition of Naar de Republiek Indonesia (December 1925) and Semangat Moeda (Young Spirit; 1926) might have been supported by Varona. There Malaka also met Mariano de los Santos, José Abad Santos, and Crisanto Evangelista.
In Indonesia, PKI decided to revolt within six months of its meeting, which was held around Christmas 1925. The government was aware of this and exiled several party leaders. In February 1926, Alimin went to Manila to request approval from Malaka. Malaka eventually rejected this strategy and stated that the condition of the party was still too weak and had no power yet to carry out a revolution. He described in his autobiography his frustration with his inability to secure information about events in Indonesia from his place in the Philippines, and his lack of influence with the PKI's leadership. As Comintern representative for Southeast Asia, Tan Malaka argued that he had authority to reject the PKI's plan, an assertion which was, in retrospect, denied by certain former PKI members. Malaka sent Alimin to Singapore to convey his views and ordered him to organize an impromptu meeting between the leaders. Seeing no progress, Malaka went to Singapore to meet Alimin and learned that Alimin and Muso had traveled to Moscow to seek help to carry out a revolt. In Singapore, Malaka met Subakat, another PKI leader, who shared his views. They decided to thwart Muso and Alimin's plan. During this period Malaka wrote Massa Actie (Mass Action), which contains his view on Indonesian revolution and nationalist movements. In this book Malaka proposes Aslia, a social federation between Southeast Asia countries and northern Australia. This book was intended to support his effort to reverse the direction of PKI and gain support of cadres for his side.
Partai Republik Indonesia, Persatuan Perdjuangan, later life, and death
In December 1926 Malaka went to Bangkok, where he studied the defeat of PKI. Malaka, along with Djamaludin Tamin and Subakat, established Partai Republik Indonesia (PARI) in early June 1927, distancing himself from the Comintern as well as, in the new party's manifesto, criticizing the PKI. While PARI did have a small membership inside the country, it never grew to be a large organization; however, with the PKI gone underground, it was the only organization in the late 1920s that was publicly calling for immediate independence for Indonesia. Some of party cadres were Adam Malik, Chaerul Saleh, Mohammad Yamin, and Iwa Kusumantri. Malaka went back to the Philippines in August 1927. The Dutch wanted to expel Malaka to Digul concentration camp, and Malaka was arrested on 12 August 1927 on charges entering illegally the Philippines territory. Dr. San Jose Abad helped him in the court; however, Malaka accepted the verdict that he would be deported to Amoy (Xiamen), China. The police of the Kulangsu (Gulangyu) International Settlement, notified of Tan Malaka's passage to Amoy, waited for him in the harbor with the intention of arresting him for extradition to the Dutch East Indies, but he managed to escape as the sympathetic captain and crew protected him, entrusting his safety to a ship inspector. The ship inspector took Tan Malaka to a guest house from where he made his way to Sionching village with newly made acquaintances. Malaka then traveled to Shanghai in the end of 1929. Poeze writes that Malaka may have met Alimin there in August 1931, and made an agreement with him that Malaka would work again for the Comintern. Malaka moved to Shanghai in September 1932 after the attack made by the Japanese forces, and decided to go to India, disguised as a Chinese-Filipino and using an alias. When he was in Hong Kong in early October 1932, he was arrested by British officials from Singapore, and was detained for several months. He hoped to have a chance to argue his case under British law and possibly seek asylum in the United Kingdom, but after several months of interrogation and being moved between the "European" and the "Chinese" sections of the jail, it was decided that he would simply be exiled from Hong Kong without charges. He was then deported again to Amoy.
Malaka escaped once again, and traveled to Iwe village in the south of China. There he was treated with traditional Chinese medicine for his illness. After his health improved in the beginning of 1936, he traveled back to Amoy and formed the Foreign Language School. Abidin Kusno argues that this stay in Shanghai was an important period in shaping Tan Malaka's later actions during the Indonesian revolution of the late 1940s; the port city was nominally under Chinese sovereignty but was dominated first by European nations with trading concessions in the city, and then by Japan after its September 1932 invasion. The oppression of the Chinese he saw under both of these powers, Kusno argues, contributed to his uncompromising position against collaboration with the Japanese or negotiation with the Dutch in the 1940s, when many prominent Indonesian nationalists were adopting a more conciliatory stance.
In August 1937 he went to Singapore under a fake Chinese identity and became a teacher. After the Dutch surrendered to Japan he returned to Indonesia via Penang. He then sailed to Sumatra arriving in Jakarta in mid-1942, where he wrote Madilog. After he felt he had to have a job, he applied to Social Welfare Agency and was soon sent to a coal mine in Bayah, on southern coast of West Java.
After the proclamation of the independence of Indonesia, he began to meet his people of his own and the younger generation. He also started to use his real name after 20 years using aliases. He then traveled to in Java and saw Surabaya people fighting against the British army in November. He realized the differences of struggling between the people in some places and the leaders in Jakarta. He thought the leaders were too weak in negotiation with the Dutch. Tan Malaka's solution to this perceived disconnect was to found the Persatuan Perjuangan (Struggle Front, or United Action), a coalition of about 140 smaller groups, notably not including the PKI. After a few months of discussion, the coalition was formally founded at a congress in Surakarta (Solo) in mid-January 1946. It adopted a "Minimum Program", which declared that only complete independence was acceptable, that government must obey the wishes of the people, and that foreign-owned plantations and industry should be nationalized. The Persatuan Perjuangan had widespread popular support, as well as support in the republican army, where General Sudirman was a strong supporter of the coalition Tan Malaka was organizing. In February 1946, the organization forced the temporary resignation of Prime Minister Sutan Sjahrir, a proponent of negotiation with the Dutch, and Sukarno consulted with Tan Malaka to seek his support. However, Tan Malaka was apparently unable to bridge political divisions within his coalition to transform it into actual political control, and Syahrir returned to lead Sukarno's cabinet.
Upon his release, he spent late 1948 in Yogyakarta, working to form a new political party, called the Partai Murba (Proletarian Party), but was unable to repeat his previous success at attracting a following. When the Dutch captured the national government in December 1948, he fled the city for rural East Java, where he hoped he would be protected by anti-republican guerrilla forces. He established his headquarters in Blimbing, a village surrounded by rice fields, and connected himself to Major Sabarudin, leader of Battalion 38. In Malaka's opinion, Sabarudin's was the only armed group that was really fighting the Dutch. Sabarudin, however, was in conflict with all other armed groups. On 17 February, the TNI leaders in East Java decided that Sabarudin and his companions were to be captured and convicted following military law. On the 19th, they captured Tan Malaka in Blimbing. On 20 February, the infamous Dutch Korps Speciale Troepen (KST) happened to start the so-called "operation Tiger" from the East Javanese town of Nganjuk. They advanced quickly and brutally. Poeze describes in detail how the TNI soldiers fled into the mountains and how Tan Malaka, already injured, walked into a TNI-post and was promptly executed on 21 February 1949. Malaka was fatally shot at the foothills of Mount Wilis, Selopanggung, Kediri Regency after an arrest and detention in Patje village. According to Poeze, the shot was ordered by Second Lieutenant Sukotjo of Sikatan battalion, Brawijaya division. No report was made and Malaka was buried in the woods.
Marxism and religion
Tan Malaka argued strongly that communism and Islam were compatible, and that, in Indonesia, revolution should be built upon both. Thus, he was a strong supporter of the PKI's continued alliance with Sarekat Islam (SI), and was troubled when, while he was in exile, the PKI broke away from SI. On an international scale, Tan Malaka also saw Islam as holding the potential for unifying the working classes in vast parts of North Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia against imperialism and capitalism. This position put him in opposition to many European Communists and the leadership of Comintern, who saw religious belief as a hindrance to a proletarian revolution and a tool of the ruling class.
Malaka described Nietzsche's, Rousseau's, and Marx-Engels' thoughts as thesis, antithesis, and synthesis respectively; while he described Wilhelm–Hindenburg–Stinnes', Danton–Robespierre–Marat's, and the Bolsheviks' thoughts as genesis, negation, and the negation of negation respectively.
According to Harry A. Poeze, Malaka assumed that the colonial government used the educational system to produce educated indigenous people who would repress their own people. Malaka founded Sekolah Sarekat Islam to rival the government schools. Syaifudin writes that Malaka had four different methods of teaching: dialog, jembatan keledai, critical discussion, and sociodrama. In dialog method, Malaka used two-way communication while teaching. During his time teaching in Deli, he encouraged students to criticize their teacher, or the Dutchman, who was often wrong. In the SI school, he entrusted students who received higher grades to teach students with lower grades. Jembatan keledai was inspired by al-Ghazali; in addition to memorizing knowledge, the students were instructed to understand and apply it to their daily lives. Syaifudin writes that it is the opposite of bank style concept, and that it is similar to contextual teaching and learning. On critical discussion, Malaka not only verbally gave a problem to the students, but attempted to expose the problem directly, a method is similar to the problem-posing method of Paulo Freire. With his fourth method, sociodrama, Malaka aimed to make the students understand social problems and resolve them through role playing, and to provide entertainment to amuse the students after studying.
Indonesian historians describe Malaka as a "communist, nationalist, national communist, Trotskyist, idealist, Muslim leader, and Minangkabau chauvinist".
Tan Malaka's best-known written work is his autobiography, Dari Pendjara ke Pendjara. He wrote the three-volume work by hand while imprisoned by the republican Sukarno government in 1947 and 1948. The work alternates between theoretical chapters describing Tan Malaka's political beliefs and philosophy and more conventional autobiographical chapters that discuss various phases of his life. Volume three has an especially loose narrative structure, containing commentary on Marxist historiography, his positions on the ongoing fight with the Netherlands over Indonesia's independence, and reprints of sections of key documents related to the struggle. Dari Pendjara ke Pendjara is one of a very small number of autobiographies set in colonial Indonesia. The translated book, From Jail to Jail (1991), attracted the English speaking labor movement's attention.