PhD Candidate at the University of Melbourne
While the important role of the pemuda during the Indonesian National Revolution is unquestionable, their contribution to the struggle for independence was underlined by an imagined future Indonesia. What did they think awaited them in a truly independent Indonesia, following the war of independence? What influenced these visions? This paper examines the mindset of Indonesian youth (pemuda) during the revolution and the different futures they imagined for Indonesia. I aim to do this through a comparative analysis of pemuda newspapers and magazines published by the different armed laskar groups throughout the revolution. These publications carried many articles discussing pemuda visions of the future. They commented on different issues, such as their role in post-independence national development, the role of female students and the political and economic systems best suited for an independent Indonesia. I aim to trace the possible sources and potential effects that these differing visions had through looking at the political tendencies and collective identities of these laskar groups, and how these were influenced by their interactions with each other, international youth organizations and with the war of independence itself. Through this, I hope to contribute to a more nuanced understanding of pemuda during the revolution.
Jonathan Peter is a History PhD candidate in the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies at the University of Melbourne. He is currently in the second year of his PhD and is writing his dissertation, With Pen and Bayonet: The Birth of the Tentara Pelajar and Their Role in Shaping Post-Independence Indonesia.