The Indonesian independence movement officially began in May 1908, commemorated as the 'Day of National Awakening'. The country announced its independence on August 17, 1945, at the tail end of the Japanese occupation and then fought for four years against the Dutch before their independence was recognized by their former colonial lord.
Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous country, celebrates its Independence Day every year on August 17. The country announced its independence on August 17, 1945, at the tail end of the Japanese occupation and then fought for four years against the Dutch before their independence was recognized by their former colonial lord.
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The Indonesian independence movement officially began in May 1908, commemorated as the “Day of National Awakening”. The early 1910s and 1920s saw the establishment of several political parties like the Indonesian National Party (PNI), Sarekat Islam and the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) and movements that supported Indonesian independence like Budi Utomo. Though many nationalists at first opted for cooperation with the Dutch to gain limited self-rule through the Volksraad (‘People's Council’), the Japanese occupation of the East Indies as it was called brought a stop to that.
With the Japanese destroying much of the Dutch-created economic, political and administrative structure, the occupier also fomented nationalistic sentiments across Java and Sumatra for their own political gains. With the Dutch being unable to defend Indonesia from the Japanese, the politicised and powerful youth groups pressured for declaration of Independence in the wake of the Japanese surrender after the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
On August 17, Indonesian political leaders Sukarno and Mohammad Hatta declared the independence of Indonesia. The Preparatory Committee for Indonesian Independence (PPKI) elected the two as President and Vice-President, respectively. Four years of armed and diplomatic struggle followed before the Netherlands finally recognised Indonesian independence.
The Independence Day of Indonesia or ‘Hari Ulang Tahun Kemerdekaan Republik Indonesia’ as it’s officially known is a major event in Indonesia. Celebrations include flag hoisting ceremonies at public institutions, office buildings, and educational institutions, as well as the flag being installed on private and public transport facilities and in front of homes of private citizens.
Decorations in the colours of the national flag are made across the country, while all national television stations broadcast the National Independence Day Ceremony live from the Merdeka Palace in Jakarta. Communities take part in patriotic and cultural parades and events, and games such as panjat pinang, and like carnivals are also conducted.
(Edited by : Sudarsanan Mani)