Sutan Sjahrir

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Sjahrir, Sutan


Born Mar. 5, 1909, in Sumatra; died 1966, in Switzerland. Indonesian political figure, right-wing socialist leader.

The son of a feudal lord, Sjahrir received his education in Indonesia and the Netherlands. One of the leaders of the Socialist Party of Indonesia, he served several times as prime minister between 1945 and 1947. In 1948 he headed the group of right-wing socialists that split from the SPI to form the Indonesian Socialist Party (Partai Sosialis Indonesia). Sjahrir was known for his anti-Communist views. He supported the separatist rebellions in Indonesia in the late 1950’s. In 1962, Sjahrir was imprisoned, but he was soon freed and permitted to go to Europe.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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In September 1946 he started his task, closely in line with Van Mook, of building up a good relationship with his Republican counterpart Sutan Sjahrir. It first went smoothly, with a ceasefire and the draft Linggadjati agreement, initialised in November 1946.
He foresaw independence movements sweeping Asia, but saw their leaders as at least partly "inspired by a desire themselves to dominate and exploit their own people." I think that men such as Sutan Sjahrir, Mohammed Hatta, and even Ho Chi Minh belie these words.
In contrast to mainstream historiography, in which secular nationalism is depicted as a coherent and inevitable development, he describes a fragmented field in which a variety of regional, cultural and religious organisations operated, which were less radical than the nationalistic parties led by Soekarno, Mohammad Hatta and Sutan Sjahrir. (7)
PESSIMISM about the future prospects of Indonesia is dominant throughout the book and it is heightened by the fact that in the political arena there is nothing resembling the CPP leadership of the Gold Coast: the country demanded an organization but Sutan Sjahrir, the first Prime Minister of Indonesia, did not seem to grasp the urgency with which the population called for change and action (Color Curtain, 111); such a restlessness could slide out of the hands of political leaders if not channelled into a clear path toward modernization: "Deprived of historical perspective, feeling his 'racial' world broken, the new Asian makes a cult of action, of dynamism, to fill the void that is his; hence, motives for action are neurotically sought for" (Color Curtain, 192-3).
Mangun analyzed the characters of three Indonesian leaders of the 1928 generation who were important figures for his theory of nationalism: Sukarno (1901-70), Haifa (1902-80), and Sutan Sjahrir (1909-66).
Another former internee, Sutan Sjahrir, had earlier held the premiership.
First of all, she gave a description of the Republican Prime Minister Sutan Sjahrir, who was a member of the Indonesian Socialist Party and was regarded by the Soviet leadership as well as by the Indonesian communists as a leftist leader.
Prominent titles have included the series of Bapak Bangsa (founding fathers), which consists of four books of four 'founding fathers' that include Sutan Sjahrir and Tan Malaka alongside contemporary founding heroes like Soekarno and Hatta.
(48) This was not unique in Vietnam: in Indonesia Sutan Sjahrir compromised with and cooperated with Sukarno and Amir Sjarifuddin but not Tan Malaka.
Agus Salim, Muhammad Hatta, Muhammad Yamin, Muhammad Natsir, Hamka, Sutan Sjahrir and Tan Malaka.
The operations of Sukarno, Hatta, Sutan Sjahrir, and, in particular, Tan Malaka and the Murba Party, are illuminating.
Conversely, the council of Padang, which after all served a plural society, was not very concerned with the events that were considered to be the internal, political affairs of only one ethnic group, albeit the biggest one in town.(12) Minang-kabau politicians of national stature, such as Mohammad Hatta, Sutan Sjahrir, Tan Malakka, and Haji Agus Salim never occupied a seat on the Padang council.