BIOGRAPHY of SOEKARNOJanuari 11, 2009
Sukarno (June 6, 1901 – June 21, 1970) was the first President of Indonesia. He helped the country win its independence from the Netherlands and was President from 1945 to 1967, presiding with mixed success over the country’s turbulent transition to independence. Sukarno was forced out of power by one of his generals, Suharto, who formally became President in March 1967
The spelling “Sukarno” has been official in Indonesia since 1947 but the older spelling Soekarno is still frequently used, mainly because he signed his name in the old spelling. Official Indonesian presidential decrees from the period 1947-1968, however, printed his name using the 1947 spelling.
The son of a Javanese primary school teacher, an aristocrat named Raden Soekemi Sosrodihardjo and his Balinese wife named Ida Ayu Nyoman Rai from Buleleng regency, Sukarno was born as Kusno Sosrodihardjo in Blitar, East Java in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia). Following Javanese custom, he was renamed after a childhood illness. He was admitted into a Dutch-run school as a child. When his father sent him to Surabaya in 1916 to attend a secondary school, he met Tjokroaminoto, a future nationalist. In 1921 he began to study at the Technische Hogeschool (Technical Institute) in Bandung. He studied civil engineering and focused on architecture.
Atypically, even among the colony’s small educated elite, Sukarno was fluent in several languages. In addition to the Javanese language of his childhood, he was a master of Sundanese and of Indonesian, and especially strong in Dutch. He was also quite comfortable in German, English, and French, all of which were taught at his HBS. Sukarno once remarked that when he was studying in Surabaya, he often sat behind the screen in movie theaters reading the Dutch subtitles in reverse because the front seats were only for elite Dutch people.
In his studies, Sukarno was “intensely modern,” both in architecture and in politics. Sukarno interpreted these ideas in his dress, in his urban planning for the capital (eventually Jakarta), and in his socialist politics, though he did not extend his taste for modern art to pop music; he had Koes Plus imprisoned for their allegedly decadent lyrics despite his reputation for womanising. For Sukarno, modernity was blind to race, neat and Western in style, and anti-imperialist.
Sukarno officially married eight wives .Namely Oetari, Inggit Garnasih, Fatmawati, Hartini, Ratna Sari Dewi Soekarno, Haryati, Yurike Sanger, and Kartini Manoppo . Megawati Sukarnoputri, who served as the fifth president of Indonesia, is his daughter by his wife Fatmawati. Her younger brother Guruh Soekarnoputra (born 1953) has inherited Sukarno’s artistic bent and is a gifted choreographer and songwriter, who made a movie Untukmu, Indonesiaku (For You, My Indonesia) about Indonesian culture. He is also a member of the Indonesian Parliament for Megawati’s PDI-P party. His siblings Guntur Soekarnoputra, Rachmawati Soekarnoputri and Sukmawati Soekarnoputri have all been active in politics. Sukarno had a daughter named Kartika by Dewi Sukarno. In 2006 Kartika Sukarno married Frits Seegers, the Netherlands-born chief executive officer of the Barclays Global Retail and Commercial Bank.Other offspring include Taufan and Bayu by his wife Hartini, and a son named Toto Suryawan Soekarnoputra (born 1967, in Germany), by his wife Kartini Manoppo. Popular ladies’ magazines such as Femina and Kartini regularly run features about newly discovered lookalike sons and daughters throughout the archipelago, who often miraculously disappear when pressed to take a DNA test by the official Sukarno children .