Monday, April 21, 2008

The Life of Ibu Kartini (Part 1)

Every April 21, Indonesian people commemorate ‘Kartini Day’. Raden Ajeng Kartini was the one who struggled hard to encourage the progress of Indonesian women. That is why, she is well known as the pioneer of Indonesian women’s emancipation movement.

Raden Ajeng Kartini was born on April 21, 1879 in Mayong, Jepara, Central Java. She came from a noble family. Her father whose name was Raden Mas Adipati Ario Samingun Sosroningrat was an assistant of a district chief at that time. Some years later he became the regent of Jepara. Kartini lived in a highly feudal atmosphere which was very different from and contrary to her sublime ideal.

Because of her father’s status, Kartini could go to Europeesche Lagere School (European Elementary School) in Jepara. In this school she had a lot of Indonesian and Dutch friends. From her Dutch friends she was able to learn western cultures. Kartini was a diligent and clever girl. She loved reading so much. By reading books, magazines and newspapers, she broadened her knowledge. Kartini began to realize that Indonesian women were not free and were left behind compared to western women. Then a thought crossed her mind. She intended to improve the situation and to make women equal to men. She had to struggle hard to manifest her ambition. And of course, she met a lot of obstacles.

Unfortunately, after completing her study in Europeesche Lagere School, she could not further her study to a higher school. It was the tradition that the girl of her age had to keep staying at home. Kartini really felt like living in a prison.

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