Islam, Nationalism and Democracy
A Political Biography of Mohammad Natsir
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: NUS Press Pte Ltd
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Table of Contents
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In late September 1961, Mohammad Natsir crouched on a hillside in the interior of Sumatra accompanied by fewer than ten followers. The man who a decade earlier had served as Indonesia’s prime minister and head of its largest political party knew that all his options had now vanished. He had just learned that his long-time friend Dahlan Djambek, the last military commander to stay on to protect him, was dead — gunned down on September 13 in a ...
Chapter 1. Childhood, Education and Influence from his Minangkabau Homeland
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Mohammad Natsir was born on July 17, 1908, in the small town of Alahan Panjang, which lies in the foothills of Sumatra’s highest mountain, Mt. Kerinci (3,805 meters), in the southern part of what was then the Dutch Governorship of Sumatra’s West Coast. Stretching across the equator, West Sumatra is home to the Minangkabau people who term the region “the Minangkabau world” ...
Chapter 2. Nationalist and Religious Involvement, 1929-42
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In the late 1920s gifted or privileged young people from throughout the Netherlands East Indies congregated in the West Java city of Bandung where most of the advanced Western-education schools in the archipelago were concentrated. As a result, Bandung became the center of anti-colonial discussion and activity embracing all forms of the new Indonesian nationalism. In the ...
Chapter 3. Entering the Political Arena, 1942-50
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In mid-February 1942 the first Japanese troops parachuted into South Sumatra and on March 1 they landed in Java. Within eight days Lt. Gen. Ter Poorten, the Dutch commander on Java, surrendered to the invading forces.
The Japanese invasion marked a decisive turning point in the history of Indonesia, revealing the weakness of the Dutch and providing leaders of the Indonesian nationalist movement with the means for eventually achieving the ...
Chapter 4. Leading the Government, 1950-51
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On January 16, 1950, the Dutch transferred sovereignty, not to the Indonesian Republic that had been its adversary for the previous five years, but to the Federated States of Indonesia (RIS, Republik Indonesia Serikat) made up of both the Republic and the BFO (Bijeenkomst voor Federaal Overleg, Federal Consultative Assembly), a federation of states, mostly outside Java and Sumatra,...
Chapter 5. From Loyal Opposition to Rebellion, 1951-57
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Natsir’s cabinet resigned on March 21, 1951, but at that time it was by no means clear that the move would end his leadership position in the government. He still headed the Masjumi, probably the strongest of the political parties, and there was no clear candidate to succeed him in the prime minister-ship. When President Soekarno invited Sartono of the National Party (PNI) to form a new ...
Chapter 6. In the Jungle, 1958-61
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When he fled to Sumatra, Natsir was returning to his home region. Throughout his long sojourn on Java his upbringing in West Sumatra had exerted an influence on most aspects of his life, including his strong religious faith and his belief in the form of grass-roots democracy that characterized village government in the Minangkabau heartland. During his years in government, however, he had frequently needed to subordinate these beliefs to what he saw ...
Chapter 7. Surrender and Imprisonment, 1961-67
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By the end of 1959 government forces had pushed ever further into the interior of Central Sumatra. They had advanced into the regions of Pariaman and Tanah Datar early in the year, taking over several of the major rebel strongholds.1 The rebels had attempted to regroup, but their proclamation of the Federal Government (RPI) in February 1960 marked the beginning of the end....
Chapter 8. Return to the Jakarta Political Scene
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After Suharto crushed the Untung group, Soekarno spent months trying to shore up his power and protect the Communist Party from the pogrom that had been unleashed against it, but he was out-maneuvered by Suharto. On March 11, 1966, Soekarno was compelled to delegate to General Suharto the authority “to take all necessary steps to guarantee security and calm and the ...
Chapter 9. The Closing Years
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After the advent of the New Order regime, while Natsir was largely excluded from the domestic political scene in Indonesia he devoted increasing attention to developments in the international arena, and, through the Dewan Da’wah Islamiyah Indonesia (DDII), forged ties between the Islamic community in Indonesia and Muslim movements in the Middle East....
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Prior to his fall in 1998, Suharto refused to grant Natsir any recognition for his services to Indonesia in the Revolution and in the early years of independence when he served as prime minister and Masjumi party leader. But since the overthrow of the New Order Natsir’s reputation has continued to grow within the country, and his contributions to Indonesian history have been acknowledged and honored. B.J. Habibie, during his short tenure as president,...
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Page Count: 350
Illustrations: 30 images
Publication Year: 2012