28 January 2010

Muhammad Hatta

Hatta was born in Bukittinggi, West Sumatera on August 12, 1902, under the name Mohammad Athar. He was educated under strict religious family. His grandfather was a notable religious leader in Batu Hambar, Payakumbuh. When he was eight, Hatta lost his father, Haji Mohammad Jamil, so that he was then raised by his mother's family, together with his six sisters. Hatta was lucky to be part of a wealthy family, for which he could be guaranteed enough education background. He attended elementary school at Sekolah Melayu Bukittingi and then continued to Europeesche Lagere School (1913-1916) in Padang. When he turned 13, Hatta actually passed the recruitment test for HBS highschool in Batavia (the present day Jakarta). However, his mother thought that he was still too young to part from his relatives. Accordingly, Hatta had to be satisfied to continue the high school at MULO Padang. Hatta's dream to visit Batavia was made real in 1919, when he actually entered the HBS. There, he made a great academic record and passed the final exams promptly. In 1921, Hatta went to Rotterdam, the Netherlands, to study trade and business at Nederland Handelshogeschool (the Rotterdam School of Commerce, which now is known as Erasmus Universiteit), where he gained handels economie title in 1923. He spent in the Netherlands eleven years. It was told that Hatta had been interested in national movement since his days in MULO. In 1916 some youth movements were born, such as Jong Java, Jong Minahasa, Jong Sumateranan Bond, and Jong Ambon. Hatta joined Jong Sumateranan Bond and he grew his talents in administrative and economic affairs. He held a treasure position in the organization. Hatta's active involvement in organization drew him intimate with Nazir St. Pamontjak, Ali Sastroamidjojo, and Abdul Madjid Djojoadiningrat. This 'band of brothers" also then got caught by the Dutch government due to their sounding "rebellion move". However, the Supreme Court in Den Haag freed these youngsters from all charges on March 22, 1928. In this historical event, Hatta spoke his defense with the title, "Indonesia Vrij" (Bahasa: Indonesia Merdeka, English: Freedom for Indonesia). Hatta went home in 1932 and joined Indonesian National Education Party (PPNI), which brought mission of improving political awareness of the people through the nation. In February 1934, leaders of the Party were arrested by the Dutch government and then were cast away to Boven Digoel. There were seven of them, and Hatta was included. Answering a question about the Communist Party Movement which blew up the nation in September 30, 1965, he said, "It is not important whether the Communism was forbidden or allowed; it is more important to eliminate conditions by which the communists may seek their rebirth. In other words, the nation must work hard to eradicate poverty and to cover gaps between the riches and the poors. To me, the parameters for the national growth are inadequate. The most importantly, income proliferation and living improvement of the grass roots."

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