Remembering Fatmawati, Bengkulu Princess and the Tailor of the Heritage Flag

Remembering Fatmawati, Bengkulu Princess and the Tailor of the Heritage Flag
Writer :
Hanny Susanty
Editor :
Early Febriana
Translator :
Intan Qonita N

                                                                                                                                         Photo by Wikipedia

Soon the commemoration of the Republic of Indonesia's Independence Day will be held. Remembering that moment, our memories drift to one of the provinces in Sumatra, namely Bengkulu. Bengkulu has a very proud figure to this day. This figure became the identity of Bumi Rafflesia. No one who does not know this inspirational figure as she is also the wife of the first President of the Republic of Indonesia, Ir. Soekarno, Mrs. Fatmawati. She is not only the mother of Bengkulu residents but also the mother of all Indonesian people. Mrs. Fatmawati will forever be remembered for her vision and foresight.

The meeting between Fatmawati and Ir. Soekarno happened thanks to her father. At that time, Ir. Soekarno was transferred from his exile in the Flores area, Nusa Tenggara Timur to Bengkulu City. Little Fatmawati was invited by her father to meet with Ir. Soekarno. Reportedly, Fatmawati's first impression of Ir. Soekarno was that he was not arrogant, had sparkling eyes, was well built and had a wide laugh. Before marrying Ir. Soekarno and becoming the first First Lady in Indonesia, Fatmawati was the daughter of a couple from Bengkulu, namely Hasan Din and Chadijah. Fatmawati was born in Bengkulu on February 5, 1923. Little Fatmawati is usually called by the name Ma, not Fat as most people know her when she was an adult. She was born into a beautiful Bengkulu girl in the midst of her family. Fatmawati really liked and had an interest in the organization. She has been very active in organization called the Naysatul Asyiyah since she was in elementary school.

Before deciding to marry Fatmawati, who is a teacher at the Muhammadiyah school where she was enrolled, Ir. Soekarno had a reason to ensure his choice in making Fatmawati his wife. His interest in the natural beauty and intelligence of Fatmawati's figure made Ir. Soekarno decide to marry her. It is said that Ir.Soekarno fell in love at first sight, but it was not disclosed because at that time Fatmawati was still too young. Not immediately accepting Ir.Soekarno's invitation to marry her, Fatmawati expressed her concern because at that time Ir.Soekarno was still married to Inggit Garnasih, Ir. Soekarno's second wife.

Soon, the news came that Inggit and Ir. Soekarno's relationship had ended. Even so, the love story of the Fatmawati and Ir. Soekarno did not go smoothly because they were separated due to the transfer of power from the Dutch colonialists to the Japanese army. In the midst of the crisis, Ir. Soekarno kept trying to inform Fatmawati and her family, as well as planning their wedding. Finally, on June 1, 1943 Fatmawati officially married Ir. Soekarno. At that time she was about 20 years old. Fatmawati then went with Ir. Soekarno to move to Jakarta.

From this marriage they were blessed with five children, namely Guntur Soekarno Putra, Megawati Soekarno Putri, Rachmawati Soekarno Putri, Sukmawati Soekarno Putri, and Guruh Soekarno Putra. Born from a mother who was perfect with intelligence, Fatmawati's youngest child, Guruh Soekarno Putra, said that Fatmawati had faith beyond the limits of other people's thinking power. "It is undeniable, the role and function of the Red and White flag is the most enduring national identity along with the national anthem Indonesia Raya which we always commemorate on the day of the Proclamation of Independence on August 17," said Guruh Soekarno Putra at the introduction to Fatmawati's book "Small Notes with Bung Karno".

Apart from being proud in the eyes of her family, Fatmawati is also an inspirational figure in the eyes of Indonesian National figures. She became a very role model for the nation, especially for women. Fatmawati's father is a Muhammadiyah figure in Bengkulu who is also a descendant of Puti Indrapura, one of the royal families of the Indrapura Sultanate, Pesisir Selatan, West Sumatra. As Guruh Soekarno Putra said about Fatmawati's belief that transcends the limits of other people's thinking, this is illustrated when she comes with the Sang Saka Merah Putih flag which she initiated and sewed with his own hands. The Sang Saka flag was the first flag to be flown during the Proclamation of Independence Ceremony of the Republic of Indonesia on August 17, 1945.

Fatmawati's idea preceded the great idea of ​​Ir. Soekarno and other independence figures. At that time, Fatmawati overheard a shout that the Indonesian flag was not yet available when Ir. Soekarno and other figures were gathering to prepare equipment for reading the text of the proclamation. Without thinking, Fatmawati immediately tried to sew the Sang Saka Merah Putih flag. Even though it was only 'Red and White', of course it was not an easy matter for Fatmawati, who was pregnant at the time. By using a hand sewing tool, the 2x3 meter Red and White flag was sewn by Fatmawati in the dining room with the hope that someday it could be used for the needs of her nation.

In the book entitled Berkibarlah Benderaku (Fly My Flag) (2003), written by Bondan Winarno, it is known that Fatmawati was in tears while sewing this flag because she was waiting for the birth of Guntur Soekarnoputra, which was already his month to be born. The book also explains that Fatmawati sewn using a Singer sewing machine which can only be moved by hand. Because the sewing machine uses legs, it is not allowed to remember Fatmawati's gestational age is just waiting for her time to give birth. Fatmawati just finished sewing the red and white flag in two days. The Red and White flag measuring 2x3 meters was hoisted for the first time on August 17, 1945 at Jalan Pegangsaan Timur 56, Jakarta.

For years, the Sang Saka flag, which was sewn by Fatmawati, was flown in a state ceremony. Until finally the flag was replaced by a duplicate considering its old age. To maintain its integrity, the Dwiwarna then functioned as an Heritage Flag and kept in a place of honor at the National Monument. In the struggle during her lifetime, Fatmawati was not only a national figure, but for the people of Bengkulu Province herself, she was very proud of her figure as a Bengkulu girl who could prove in the eyes of the world that Bengkulu has a national figure who is remembered to this day. In her duties as First Lady, Fatmawati faithfully accompanied Bung Karno as President. At every opportunity, Fatmawati always looks simple. She sets a good example for Indonesian women both in attitude, behavior and dress. Wherever she goes, Fatmawati always wears a veil which is her trademark and Ir. Soekarno always praises her.

The influence of socialization through teachings and experiences in family life and social environment has been able to shape Fatmawati's character into a child who is not only obedient to her traditions, but is more inclined to respond to all forms of portraits of her socio-cultural life. Having a father who is a preacher, Hasan Din is also the Chairman of the Muhammadiyah Bengkulu Leadership Council, where religious education is number one in his family, thus making Fatmawati receive extra religious education, especially at the Muhammadiyah Standard School. However, Fatmawati also compensated for her formal education at the HIS school (Hollandsch Inlandsch School) in 1930 (Fatmawati, 1978: 20-21). Growing up in a respected family and a very interesting personality made all eyes on this Bengkulu female figure and even became a byword in the community.

Ir. Soekarno, who is familiarly called Bung Karno, did not hesitate to ask Fatmawati as his wife for opinion in taking steps or decisions regarding his struggle as the leader of the Indonesian people's fighters. Bung Karno realized that the power of thinking beyond the limits of Fatmawati had been realized from the start. Fatmawati had many roles in the state activities of the Republic of Indonesia at that time, one of which was when the struggle of the Indonesian people had reached its culmination, when the Indonesian people proclaimed the independence of the Republic of Indonesia on August 17, 1945 at Pegangsaan Timur 56, Jakarta by Soekarno-Hatta on behalf of the Republic of Indonesia. Indonesian name. For the services of Mrs. Fatmawati, the Indonesian people have the Sang Saka Merah Putih flag.

As the first First Lady of the Republic of Indonesia, Ms. Fatmawati has always faithfully supported President Soekarno's struggle, always set an example about the importance of sacrifice, and always emphasized the importance of keeping the spirit, keeping dreams in the midst of existing limitations. In the era of President Abdurrahman Wahid, Fatmawati was awarded the title of National Hero, through the Decree of the President of the Republic of Indonesia Number 118/TK/2000 dated November 4, 2000. Fatmawati died on her way home from Saudi Arabia, after she performed Umrah. Fatmawati suffered a heart attack while her plane was transiting Kuala Lumpur and died at the General Hospital on May 14, 1980. Fatmawati died at the age of 57 and was buried at the TPU Karet Bivak Jakarta.

As a sign of respect for Mrs. Fatmawati's struggle as well as to remind all of us to emulate Mrs. Fatmawati's statesmanship and motivate the rise of heroic attitudes, a monument was built at Simpang Lima Ratu Samban, Bengkulu City. The monument that stands firmly in the center of Bengkulu City, not far from Fatmawati's House is known as the Fatmawati Monument. This monument depicts the historical event of the sewing of the Red and White Flag by Fatmawati. This very beautiful monument is the work of one of the masters of Indonesian sculpture, I Nyoman Nuarta. He is an artist from Bali who presents his work for the people of Bengkulu and also the people of Indonesia.

In addition to the monument, Fatmawati Soekarno is also the name of the airport in Bengkulu. Meanwhile, the house he once occupied was turned into a museum which is also a historic tourist destination in Bengkulu. This is a form to commemorate all of Fatmawati's services to our beloved Nation and Country.

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