Pemberontakan Petani Banten 1888 | Hunger and Poverty Triggers the Rebellion

Books bind history. As for history, as Cicero stated, “lux veritatis” –it is a ray of truth about an event in the past.

The events of the Banten farmers’ rebellion, for example, are summarized in this book. It was amazing and heartwarming to read this book.

I am an avid reader. Want to share a book I read. During the colonial era, the natives were brave, united, against the hegemony of the Company which oppressed the peasants. This is a record of that historical event.

The events of the rebellion, whose year is easily remembered, occurred in 1888. The background was land conflicts, labor extortion, disease outbreaks and disasters. However, the conflict then expanded, unstoppably becoming a very sensitive issue. In such a way, so that it entered the realm of spiritual morality so that the rebels gave up their bodies and souls for the struggle.

We are now entering an atmosphere where society is “not too colonized, not hungry, and not miserable”. The farmers do not all live below the poverty line.

Whoever does not learn from history, will be condemned by history! 

It is true that in Central Kalimantan there were demonstration farmers. In West Kalimantan, rubber farmers are currently screaming about the declining price of sap. Now only IDR 4,000-IDR 5,000/kg. During the era of Mrs. Mega-SBY, the price of rubber was above IDR 10,000/kg, and once even exceeded IDR 16,000/kg.

I observed that the price of rubber was equivalent to or approximately IDR 2,000 compared to the price of sugar/rice; it is very good and farmers can make a decent living from the profession as tappers. That’s why the people of my village still remember Mr. SBY and Mega.

Right now the oil palm farmers are shouting, they are shouting squeezed by the falling price of oil palm. However, there was no demonstration, let alone rebellion. “Mass rampage”, rebellion, in human history was indeed triggered by hunger and structural poverty.

I have not found in the records of historical events that there were Peasant Rebellions in Borneo like in Banten. Written by a historian and social scientist, whom I know quite well and have met in person, this book captures what has existed. Apart from witnessing the times, he is a teacher of life.

This book can be a mirror not only as a historical witness, but also a lesson for all of us.

Written by a reliable historian, Sartono Kartodirjo –whom I know well enough– this book is a must-read and is a guide for literacy activists. Especially social scientists, history, and culture.

Whoever does not learn from history, will be condemned by history!

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Masri Sareb Putra
Articles: 711

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