Capital of Indonesia – Jakarta.  Indonesia formerly known as the Netherlands Indies which is  composed of a group of island of which Sumatra, Java, Mathura, Bali, Celebes, are very large.  This archipelago extends from Malaya to New Guinea.  Along the equator in the Hinduism & Buddhism were religions of the people.  From the 15th century onwards Islam gradually sub planted Hinduism & Buddhism except in Bali.

Early history:       Indonesia is one of the richest countries of the world because of its sugarcane, tea, coffee, quinine, palm oil, rubber, coconut & rope fibers abundantly available.  The Europeans were first attracted to these islands to carry on trade especially in spices.  The Portuguese were the 1st among the western people to come to Indonesia.  Then driven away from Indonesia by the Dutch who maintained their undisputed control over this region until the end of the Second World War.

Dutch rule in Indonesia – 1898:    The Dutch east India Company laid the foundation of the Dutch rule in Indonesia.  The Dutch government took control of the islands from the company in 1800.  Thus the Dutch authority was formally in situated in Indonesia.  In governing their colony the Dutch maintained local institutions, laws & customs.  The governments of the provinces were subordinate to the governor general who as in turn subordinate to the government of Holland.  They also tried to tighter their bond with people of Indonesia by establishing matrimonial alliances with the local people.

The ethical policy of the Dutch – 1901:  during the 19th century the Dutch through forced labor & cultural system exploited East Indies & made enormous profit.  But in return they did not give any education or other facilities to the native people.  Some Dutch liberals began to agitate against this.  Van Devena, a liberal published in a Dutch periodical in 1899, an article “A debt of honour”.  In which he strongly argued that Holland should educate the Indonesia people.  It is a clear testimony of the movement of the Dutch liberals against the injustice shown by the Dutch authority to the Indonesians.  It had a tremendous repercussion on the throne of Holland as a result of which queen in 1901 announced an “Ethical Policy” which recognized “the moral obligations of the Netherlands towards the people of the indies”.  They also recognized their responsibility to protect the native people & their customs & guard them from exploitations.

Growth of nationalism in Indonesia – 1908:  Like other places of south East Asia Indonesia has also a large number of Chinese population.  They were mostly merchants & middle men & were not universally loved.  The sign of national movement in Indonesia 1st appeared among them.  The western educated Indonesia idealist started a moderate nationalist agitation in the last ¼ of the 19th century.  It was greatly stimulated by japans progress.

The victory of japan over china the conceding of equal status with the Europeans to the Japanese in Indonesia, England’s recognition of japan as a great power by signing the Anglo-Japanese alliances & Japan’s victory over Russia further strengthened the belief of the Indonesian nationalists to the need of westernization.  But the Dutch rulers of Indonesia had not made any attempt for imparting education in their progress.

Formation of nationalist parties:                   the 1st nationalist movement started in Indonesia with the foundation of a nationalist society called “Body Ottoman” (high or glorious endeavor) in 1908 by Dr. Widen Sutra Shade a retired medical officer.  The purpose of the society as to improve economic & educational position of the people of Indonesia.

It was followed by the formation of an Islamic association called “Sarakat Islam” in 1912.  It sought to base Indonesian nationalism on Islamic culture.

It held its 1st congress in 1913 & co-ordinated its activities with trade unions which came into the existence after the 1st world war.  In 1914 ‘Sarakat Islam’ declared that its objective was complete political independence.  The double character national & religions of the organization attracted the attention of the Dutch & made them anxious about the future of the colony.

Frist world war:           because of the Dutch neutrality in the 1st world war Indonesia was not directly involved in it.  Indonesian nationalism received great impetus from the general anti-colonial creation as well as from the Russian revolution of 1917.  The creation of ‘Volos Road’ (peoples council) a sham parliament in 1918 did not satisfy the Indonesian nationalists.

PKI:        In 1919 with the foundation ‘Patrai Communes Indie’ (PKI) organized radical socialism made its appearance in the country.  The year 1923 to 1926 saw a series of revolutionary out breaks in west java & Sumatra organized by PKI.  The Dutch repressed the outbreaks with heavy hands & banned the PKI which left Sarakat Islam as the main organ of nationalism.

PNI (Sukarno):   Anti Dutch nationalism in the early 20’s found expression in the so called “wild school” set up by the nationalist groups which is kept outside the government control.  In the mid 20’s the same group of intellectuals established “study clubs to discuss social, economics & political questions”.  Out of these study clubs evolved new political parties of which was Partai national Indonesia (PNI) founded in 1927 from the banding study club.  Its leaders were Ditto Magnum Cushman and the rising young engineer Sukarno.

The aims of this party were attainment of political independence through non-co-operation movement and establishment of a democratic form of government.  It quickly became the leading nationalist party in the country.  Alarmed by its rapid growth, the Dutch authority attempted to suppress it.  The suppression of PNI & the imprisonment of Sukarno in 1927 merely increased the determination of the Indonesians to become free of all foreign control.  By 1939, all the nationalist groups of the country were united to form a federation under the able guidance of Dr. Sukarno.

Nationalist collaboration with the Japanese:      With the outbreak of the 2nd world war, the politics of Indonesia underwent a great change.  When Holland was overrun by the Germans in 1940, the Indonesia nationalists declared their anti-fascist aims and expressed their willingness to render help to the Dutch in defense of Holland against Japanese invasion.  But the Dutch authority suspected the motives of the nationalist leaders and turned down their offer.  The nationalist of Indonesia felt offended at this and finally decided to liberate their country by during away the Dutch in collaboration with the Japanese.  Their desire for freedom impelled them to come closer to japan.

During the war, the Dutch were totally driven away and the Japanese set up a collaborationist government of Indonesia under Dr. Sukarno.  The Japanese posed as the liberator of the Indonesians but their real attitude was the creation of “greater east Asia”.  They has no intention of giving real independence of Indonesia.  But due to her decaying position in war, just before surrender on August 17th, 1945.  The Japanese permitted the Indonesians to proclaim the establishment of an independent republic and handed over administrative functions and arms to the new government.  Thus, the Indonesian republic was founded on August 17th, 1945.  Within a short time the new government established its authority in Java, Madura and Sumatra.

Past war developments:        after the end of 2nd world war a British occupation force landed in Indonesia (September 29. 1945) to accept Japanese surrender.  The British troops recognized the defacto:  Indonesia representative within the territories under its control.  Soon after the Dutch came to resume their control of Indonesia.  But the Indonesians put up a stiff resistance.  A bitter struggle ensued between the Dutch and Indonesian forces.  Finally both the parties entered into a negotiation in November 1946.  This is known as the Linggadjati agreement.

According to this agreement,

  1. The Dutch gave defacto recognition to the existing representative of Indonesia regarding its authority over Java, Sumatra and Madura.
  2. It was further agreed that a U.S. of Indonesia, composed of the three republics of Indonesia, Bornea and great east was to be established, forming a part of a still middle Netherlands- Indonesian union. This agreement was ratified in March 1947.

But the two sides accused each other of bad faith and the Dutch in July 1947, restored to military action which they described as police measures of a strictly limited sort or “police-action”.  The matter was referred to the UN Security Council by India and Australia.  The council issued a ceasefire order.  Both the parties accepted the order but it did not intention of relinquishing its right over the colonial possessions.  In 1948, December again they restored to “police action”.  The republican army was defeated and its leading members like Sukarno and Hatta were imprisoned by the Dutch authority.  The world opinion was roused against the Dutch action.  The U.N. once again intervened and ordered ceasefire, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, then P.M. of India summoned.  Our Asian conference in New Delhi to consider united action for the Indonesians.  Submitting to the world opinion, the Dutch released the imprisoned Indonesia leaders and agreed to a round table conference to discuss questions regarding independence of the islands.

The Hague conference – 1949:     The round table conference was convened at the Hague which lasted for 3 months from august to November 1949.

      By this agreement:

  • Decision was taken about the establishment of the U.S. of Indonesia as a sovereign federal republic of 16 states and associating with the Netherlands on the basis of voluntariness and equal status with equal rights.
  • Sovereignity was transferred accordingly by the Netherlands to the U.S. of Indonesia on December 27th
  • Both the Dutch & Indonesians will promote co-coperation in foreign affairs and finance on the one hand and culture on the other.
  • There will be and independent judiciary and a democratic system.
  • Both the partners will honour human right.

But the federation did not last long for the Indonesians demanded a unitary united.  Republic & organized popular demonstrations against the federal government.

Thus came into existence a new state in south East Asia, united and unitary republic of Indonesia.  The Indonesian republic on august 15th 1950.  Sukarno was elected unanimously as the president and Dr. Hatta as the P.M. of this new republic.  Four years later on august 10th 1954 by an agreement union with the Netherlands was terminated.  There were four major political parties such as, PNI, PKI, Masjum party and Nahdatut Klama orthodox Muslim party.  No stable government could be established in the center due to acute rivalries bet these parties.  The central government was always threatened with internal disruption.

Guided democracy – 1957:      in 1957, pre Sukarno suggested that the parliamentary democracy should be replaced by a “guided democracy”.  The guidance apparently was to be given by Sukarno himself.  The idea of guided democracy was criticized as a step towards dictatorship and was strongly resented by all except the nationalist and communists.  The army units in Sumatra, Borneo and a number of islands rose in open revolt in 1957 which could not be put down until 1958.  To suppress this movement pre-Sukarno declared a state of emergency and placed the countries under martial law.  He appointed an emergency cabinet of experts led by Dr. Djuanda.  But nothing could succeed in establishing peace in Indonesia.

In 1958, trouble again broke out and the country was virtually in a state of a civil war.  But Sukarno could manage to steer the destiny of the country as president of the republic up to 1966 most effectively.

Sukarno loses power:         Sukarno opposed the scheme of the federation of Malaysia and involved in a confrontation with Malaya.  He gradually leaned towards the communists and Chinese which was not liked by Indonesians who were anti-Chinese.  The USA gave secret support to them.  Military coups in 1965 gravely undermine Sukarno’s position.  He was forced to hand over the legal power of the government to the army commander general Sukarto in march 1966.  In February 1967 Sukarno had to hand over even his shadowy powers to Sukarto.  From then, until his death on June 21, 1971 Sukarno remained under house arrest.

Sukarto:      He became PM in October 1967 & president in March 1968 and re-elected as president in 1973, 78 and 83.  Sukarto concentrated on economic planning to impress the people with his government’s performance.  Accordingly, he took steps to control inflation, to balance the budget, to bring order into the banking 8 years to improve the efficiency of the civil service and to curb corruption.  He also launched a 5 year plan in 1969 for bringing about a substantial development.  But the government’s stability was threatened by the communists as Sukarto placed heavy reliance on the army which was not supported by the political parties.  Apart from controlling population he had to rely on substantial foreign aid.  UNESCO aid has made possible the provision of chief books to spread literary.  The WHO gives assistance to attack yaws, malaria, tuberculosis and other serious diseases.

Foreign policy:      in the sphere of foreign policy, Indonesia initially followed a policy of neutralism like that of India and refused to be involved in the cold war.  Her relation with the Asian countries remained cordial.  She joined the UN in 1950 as one of its bonfire members.  She even sent a contingent of troops to the UN.  Emergency force during the Suez Canal crisis, under Sukarto’s leadership.  Indonesia became an active partner of the ASEAN.  In 1955, Indonesia, successfully conducted the Bandung conference.  Many Afro-Asian nations participated.

The relation of Indonesia with the Dutch was far from cordial.  The Indonesia wanted to in cooperate the Dutch New Guinea (Iranian) with the Indonesia republic.  Thus a friction began bet the Dutch & the Indonesians.  The Dutch even lodged a complaint against it before the UN secretary general but nothing was done about it.

In 1975 Portugal withdrew from east Timor the 27th province of Indonesia.  In 1977 may, there was a rebellion in Iranian java said to have been organized by the “Organismal Paulo Medea (OPM) or free Papua Movement.  In 1979 Indonesia & Papua New Guinea finalized the new border administrative agreement.  In 1994 fighting broke out in New Guinea and thousands of refugees fled to New Guinea.

Its relations with the U.S. were a mixed one.  Her policy of neutralism was suspected by the U.S.  The U.S. apprehended the growth of communism in Indonesia.  But in course of time the US and IN relation became cordial.  The US supplied arms to IN & Dr. Sukarno paid a good will visit to the US in 1956.  In April 1986, president, Roald Reagan of USA visited Indonesia.  In July 1985, Indonesia & the people’s republic of china signed a memorandum (trade) which had been suspended in 1967.  In 1987 march, Edward Shevardnadze, the soviet minister of foreign affairs visited Indonesia.


The Bandung conference which is otherwise known as the Asian-African conference was convened on April 18, 1955 and continued up to April 24, 1955, at Bandung in Indonesia.  The proposal of such a conference was represented by 29 Asian African countries at the 1st meeting of the Colombo powers during April – May 1954.  No European power including soviet Russia was invited to this meeting.  Some afro-Asian countries like nationalist china, Israel and south Africa were also excluded from this conference.

The conference:       this conference was inaugurated by president Sukarno of Indonesia.  Dr. Ali Sastroamidjojo, the P.M. of Indonesia was unanimously elected as the chairman of the conference (he laid stress on the co-operation among all the afro-Asian countries).

Aims of this conference:       

  • To promote goodwill and co-operation among the nations of Asia & Africa for exploring and advancing their mutual and common interest and for establishing further friendship and neighborly relations.
  • To consider social, economic & cultural problems in relation to the countries represented.
  • To consider problems of special interest to Asia and African people.
  • To view the position of Asia & Africa and their peoples in the present day world and the contribution. They can make to the promotion of world peace & co-operation.

Discussions of the conference:      most of the work of the conference was done in atmosphere of cordiality.  Sir. John Kotelawala P.M.  Of Ceylon, declared that “the great teachers of all religions are agreed that it is not through hatred and violence but through compassion, peace and goodwill, the mankind can find salvation”.

The conference endorsed the Pinch Sheila formulated in the Sino-Indian agreement (1954 June).  It was accepted by Burma, Vietnam, Yugaslavia, Poland, Austria and Egypt.  The conference reinforced the Panch Sheela by adding it into two more significant principles.  Such as respect for fundamental human rights and settlements of all international disputes by peaceful means.

There was a general desire for economic co-operation among the participating nations on the basis of mutual interests on the basis of mutual interests and respect for national sovereignty.  The conference also emphasized the importance of the development of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes for Asia and Africa.  The conference recognized the fact that among the most powerful means of promoting understanding among the afro-Asian nations is development of cultural co-operation.

Significance:        the B.D. conference was a unique & significant event in the history of modern Asia and may be looked upon as inaugurating a new age in the history of the world.  The importance of the 1st time that the independent countries of Asia and Africa met together for a discussion of their common policy based on their common interests.

It was an assertion of the complete independence of Asia from the apron.  Strings of the old imperial power.  It marked a new solidarity between vast groups of emancipated nations and demonstrated their new-found confidence in their international personality.  But there are many cross-currents and wide differences in policies and outlook which could not be harmonized easily.

Keywords: NATIONALISM IN INDONESIA, Sukarto, Sukarno, PKI, PNI, Bandung Conference, Hauge round table conference, Hatta,“Sarakat Islam”