Saturday, November 3, 2012
Indonesia - Budi Utomo
Budi Utomo (also Boedi Oetomo; "Prime Philosophy"), founded on May 20, 1908, was the first native political society in the Dutch East Indies. Today, the year 1908 is commemorated as the birth year of its "nationalist awakening." In 2008, the Indonesian government marked a centennial celebration of the modern birth of nationalist aspirations.
The founder of Budi Utomo was a pensioned government doctor who felt that native intellectuals should improve the masses in education and culture. The society held its first congress in May 1908. The congress was a gathering of students in Batavia. The first leader was Dr. Wahidin Soedirohoesodo, but by the organization's first major gathering in Yogyakarta in October 1908, he stepped aside for younger organizers.
The membership was a very high class of natives, government officials and intellectuals, confined very largely in Java and the Javanese. The furtherance of popular education became the main activity. Few branches expanded the activity into native commerce and industry. Tjipto Mangoenkoesoemo, who would later found the more radical Indische Party, expanded the scope of the society to include more working classes, and also the rest of the Indïes outside of Java. The organization enjoyed a rapid growth; in 1910 the society had 10,000 members enrolled in 40 branches. At the same time, it received official recognition form the colonial government.
Budi Utomo's primary aim was first not political. However, it gradually shifted toward political aims with representatives in the conservative Volksraad (the People's Council) and in the provincial councils in Java. Budi Utomo officially dissolved in 1935, but it has marked the first nationalist movement in the early twentieth century. After dissolution, some of the members joined the largest political party its time, the moderate Greater Indonesian Party (Parindra). In keeping with the outlook of Budi Utomo, former members—whether in the Volksraad or Parindra—insisted on the Indonesian language for all public statements.