Reflections On the 74th Indonesian Independence Day: “Inheriting the Values of the Spirit for Independence”


Indonesia will soon turn into 74 years old as an independent nation, as Republic of Indonesia (NKRI). It was long journey to be a place for all people from various generation. The sustainability of our country are depends on the awareness of every people in interpreting the spirit of our founding fathers when they are fighting, preparing and proclaiming Indonesia’s independence. It’s very interesting to read various writings about Indonesian independence and takes the spirits from it. Here are 5 things that should be reflected by all people in Polman Astra, as the nation’s next generation.

(1) Education that enlighten and care for the nation

Indonesia was colonized by the Dutch for 350 years, colonized by Japan for 3,5 years, and it happened because there were many uneducated people, each region fights the colonialism on their own, and the enemy turn the people and elites against each other. The national movement for independency was started with the rise of several educated youth that formed national organization like Budi Utomo in 1908, initiated by dr. Wahidin Sudirohusodo, a doctor from Surakarta. Dr. Wahidin wanted educated youngsters but those youngster weren’t able to paid their studies so they need to collect some scholarship (study fond) to sponsored them. When he met Sutomo, student of STOVIA, dr. Wahidin expressed his ideas and was welcomed by Stovia students, so on May 20, 1908 an organization named Budi Utomo was formed with Sutomo appointed as leader. After that, many modern national movements starts rising. Because of that, May 20 is now known as National Awakening Day.

The education that englighten and bring care to help people is what we need today. Through the eduation in Polman Astra, we expect that the students isn’t only study and get the competence in technology, but also get enlightment on how technology can solve many problems in the society and improving the industry to make Indonesia as powerful country that able to supporting and nurturing its people.

(2) Dreams that encourage a fight, hardwork, and willing to suffer

There are no such thing as free lunch, even the independency has a price that we have to pay. The founding fathers paid it with hard work, willing to suffer and even their lives. Read those stories that tells how our founding fathers were thrown into Banda Naira (Maluku) 1936 – 1942 such as Tjipto Mangunkusumo, Sutan Syahrir, and Mohammad Hatta[i]. Read the stories that tells about those who thrown into Boven Digul (Papua) around 1920 – 1930s like Hatta, Sjarir, Marco Kartodikromo, and Thomas Najoan, even the inhabitants were up into 1200 [ii]. Their story were a tragic story. What made them so strong? A dream of Indonesia being independent country.

The proclamator, Sukarno, once said, “We’re gonna shake the sky, the land, and ocean so we’re not being a nation that lives with 2 ½ cents a day. The working hard nation, neither coward nor slaves. The nation that willing to suffer to make the dreams come true.”[iii]

His statements means the dream of people’s welfare. It can only obtained if we work hard. In the past, they fight with weapons and diplomatic to be independent nation, and now in the present, we fight with vocational and intellectual learning to get a competence to improve the industry, economy and nation’s welfare.

Is it hard? Bung Karno said, “we are the nation that willing to suffer to make the dreams come true.” With a heart driven by the dreams, 3 years of learning as student shouldn’t be so hard. The learning process and technology research can be done if we have a dreams as our goal. These are dreams that will move our hearts and minds.

(3) Inspiring spirit

A proclamator figure, Muhammad Hatta, in one of his essay, discussed about youth roles that excited to involved in the proclamation of independence. “However, if their spirits weren’t so passionate at the beginning of our National Revolution, it would be impossible to lightened up the people’s fighting spirit, to the point that they willing to suffered for years.” (Muhammad Hatta; 1951)[iv].

The spirit isn’t enough to solve a problem, but it much needed. With the spirit of youth, the people was inpsired and joined the movement so the revolution can happened. The industrial world in the 4.0 industrial revolution era also marked with youth, millenials passion, that inspiring many people to join the new era of business. If it accompanied by spirit of nasionalism, the passion to build nation and country, the competent students and full of passion will make Indonesia more successful.

Polman Astra students and young instructors, your spirit are future of the nation. Bung Karno once said, “If there’s any person still has a shame or fear to be kind in themselves, then there are no guarantee for them to see any improvement”[v] Your improvement and nation’s success will be determined by your passion of being kind to the others.

(4) Stay united, no matter what differences we have

Sukarno and Hatta who known as “dwi-tunggal”, often had different views. But, they know that it’s important to stay united in order to fights the independency and that’s made them united until Indonesia got the independency. There’s interesting quotes from M.Hatta political biography:

“The collaboration between Soekarno and Mohammad Hatta is symbol of dwitunggal. Their first public appearance took place two weeks later at the colonial-style house in the center of Jakarta, Germany House. The meeting was attended by hundreds of Indonesian that excited after heard the news about the two figures in the national movement are resolve their conflict. In their speech, both Soekarno and Hatta, emphasized that it was the time for Indonesians to united. They promised to not have more conflict. There was excitement among the people when those two willing to collaborate, and the national movement wasn’t defeated by Japanese soldiers”.[vi]

The powerful and successful Indonesia will be decided by our unity as part of the nation. The third pinciple of Pancasila: “The Unity of Indonesia”. Let’s stay united. Different tribes, religions, races and groups shouldn’t be an excuse to divided our unity. Our unity as part of Polman Astra will determine the success of Polman Astra. The unity of Polman Astra students in student groups and students organization will determine the success of learning in Polman Astra. Our unity as part of industrial community will determine the success of national industrial in Indonesia. United to be successful together, the differences to complete each other.

(5) Building for the eternal independency, wishing to God to bless us

Before and after reading the proclamation text, Sukarno delivered a short but motivational speech. His closing speech as stated below:

“So, here we are! We are now free! No more binds our land and nation! For now, we build our Country! Independent Country, Republic of Indonesia – the long last and eternal freedom. Insyaallah, God bless our freedom!”[vii]

Being free and have nothing binds us isn’t the final step. There’s lot things to do after that/ After the proclamation on August 17, 1945 there are huge work to build a country. Until today, we still have it: to build a country. For what? To become an independent country that long lasting and eternal, to achieve the independent dream. Certainly everything can be done with blessing from God. Sukarno, Indonesian proclamator once said, “Insyaallah, God bless our freedom!” Let us be grateful for this independency and pray to God for Indonesia. Amen…!

Happy Independent Day…!

(Tony H. Silalahi)

Director of Polman Astra

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