It is popular saying that heroes never die. Our responsibility is to preserve the legacy of individuals who made history by exhibiting courage, taking a stand against injustice and its perpetrators, and earning the respect of even their adversaries. This is a reward for their heroic efforts, not a favour extended to them. In this article, we will discuss Diponegoro, a hero from Indonesia, a blessed region in Southeast Asia that is made up of thousands of islands between the Indian and Pacific oceans. Diponegoro’s homeland, the island of Java, Indonesia’s largest island, is home to roughly 152 million of the country’s 280 million population today.
A Look at Mataram Sultanate and Jok Jakarta Sultanate,
Islam is a just and merciful religion. Wherever Islam steps, it provides life, honour, and dignity. This, of course, also applies to Indonesia. Indonesia’s conversion to Islam is worthy of being written with golden ink and luminous letters. It is considered one of the eternal miracles of Islam throughout the ages. This proves that Islam is not essentially a religion of the sword but is instead a religion of mercy, justice, and equality because it reached the biggest mass of Muslims peacefully and without coercion.
Indonesia’s Muslims have successfully created powerful Islamic states that have had a significant historical impact. The largest and most powerful of these countries is the Jok Jakarta Sultanate, which emerged after the collapse of the Mataram Sultanate. The Islamic Sultanate of Mataram was established in the centre of Java and ruled between 1586 and 1755. This state was at its strongest during Sultan Agung’s rule (1613–1645), but following his passing, disputes over the throne within the royal family caused the kingdom to decline, disintegrate and split into two kingdoms in 1755: The first is the Surakatra Sultanate, and the other is the Jok Jakarta Sultanate, which is considered the successor of the Mataram Sultanate in terms of power, influence and impact. (1755-1950).
It should be noted here that Indonesia witnessed the first colonial attempts of the Netherlands at the beginning of the 17th century. Therefore, Dutch interventions had real and terrible impacts. They were most effective in igniting conflict among Mataram’s royal family members, weakening the nation, and then controlling it. Following the fall of the Mataram Sultanate, the kingdoms that had been founded in its place came under the rule of Dutch colonialists, who ruled the nation and subjected the populace to oppression, cruelty, and intolerable taxes. But as Russian President Vladimir Putin said: “Do not push the mouse to the point where it cannot find an exit, in which case it will have to attack and defend itself with all its might for the sake of its survival and freedom”. The same was true of the people of Jok Jakarta because when the persecution of the colonizers intensified upon them, the action was needed to rectify the injustice, and this is in the spirit of Islam: ’’Permission ˹to fight back˺is ˹hereby˺granted to those being fought, for they have been wronged. And Allah is truly Most Capable of helping them ˹prevail.˺’’ Surah Al Hajj/39.
This movement took place under the command of the commander, Prince Antawirya Mustahar (known as Diponegoro). So, who is this intriguing hero?
Birth and Growth:
On November 11, 1785, Diponegoro, the eldest child of Hamengkubuwono III, Sultan of the Jok Jakarta Sultanate, was born in Jok Jakarta. After his father passed away in 1814, his younger half-brother Hamengkubuwono IV, who had the backing of the Dutch colonialists, inherited the throne. While his brother turned a blind eye to the injustice done to the people, Prince Diponegoro was dissatisfied with his brother’s blind allegiance and unconditional and unrestricted subjection to the Dutch. In 1821, his brother sultan died, and after him, Prince Diponegoro was the most deserving and suitable person to power, but the tricks of the Dutch prevented this, and they tried to use the deceased sultan’s son, who was still a child, as a puppet in their hands and to manipulate him as they wished. In the face of these dangerous developments, it became necessary for Prince Diponegoro to act to salvage the situation before it was too late. This step was aided by the discontent of the public and Dutch colonial supporters for the new sultan.
Resistance Against Colonialism and Revolution Against Injustice.
Due to the quick changes in the reign, political upheaval, famine, and injustice, everyone hated the colonialists. As a result, the populace and a significant portion of the nobles flocked around Prince Diponegoro, whom they considered a heavenly gift and believed would lead them to independence and glory. Between 1825 and 1829, the prince was able to organize the ranks of his supporters and inflict significant losses on the colonial army. The fact that the colonists misjudged the prince’s revolutionary movement and the likelihood of organizing a potent public uprising against them may have contributed to the prince’s triumph.
But it didn’t take long for the colonists to recognize they were dealing with a real leader of the greatest type. The harsh General De Kock was appointed and sent by the Netherlands, supported by a sizable number of heavily equipped armed personnel, to put an end to the resistance movement and revolution. The strategy used by Dutch forces was one of siege and assault. The prince’s forces’ positions were surrounded by the blockade system, which also put psychological pressure on the lines of supplies for food and weapons and restricted their ability to move and manoeuvre. The Dutch colonialists turned to the offensive strategy following the success of this scheme.
Negotiations began between the two sides in 1830. Although the results of the war were not in the prince’s favour, he stood like majestic mountains. He insisted on their rightful demand to be recognized as a legitimate authority representing all the peoples of the island of Java as a whole. After the Dutch failed to convince him to change his stance, he was ambushed and arrested, then exiled with his family and some followers to the city of Makassar on March 28, 1830.
On January 8, 1855, Rens gave up his spirit after nearly 25 years of exile. Although the prince is no longer among us, his memory will endure for all of time.
Lastly: ‘’And certainly in their stories there are signs for the wise.’’ Surah Yusuf/111
The following are some lessons we learned from the life of Prince Diponegoro:
1- Being on the side of truth and the fair cause is a way of glory, greatness, and immortality in the memory of history. Several sultans have ruled the Sultanate of Jakarta, but none have attained the historical position and rank that Prince Diponegoro did.
2- History rewards those brave souls who devoted their lives to the service of their religions by making them beloved by all. Prince Diponegoro, for example, gained the hearts of the Indonesian people and the Islamic world despite losing the last battle with Dutch colonialists in 1830. why not?” The Muslim Indonesian people’s flame of freedom was lit by his revolution against the Dutch colonial presence, which showed them that the colonialists could be vanquished and driven out. His revolutionary movement was crucial to succeeding in independence struggles that ultimately resulted in complete independence.
May Allah have mercy on Prince Diponegoro and all the heroes of Islam.
*Translated by Shakeeb Hasan