Tan Malaka

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Tan Malaka (1894 - February 21, 1949) was an Indonesian nationalist activist and communist leader. A staunch critic of both the colonial Dutch East Indies government and the republican Sukarno administration that governed the country after the Indonesian National Revolution, he was also frequently in conflict with the leadership of the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI), Indonesia's primary radical political party in the 1920s and again in the 1940s.

A political outsider for most of his life, Tan Malaka spent a large part of his life in exile from Indonesia, and was constantly threatened with arrest by the Dutch authorities and their allies. Despite this apparent marginalization, however, he played a key intellectual role in linking the international communist movement to Southeast Asia's anti-colonial movements. He was declared a National Hero of Indonesia by the People's Consultative Assembly in 1963.


Early life and education

A member of the Minangkabau ethnic group, Tan Malaka was born in Suliki, West Sumatra in 1894. His given name was Datuk Ibrahim gelar Sutan Malaka, but he was known both as a child and as an adult as Tan Malaka, an honorary name inherited from his mother's aristocratic background.

From 1908 to 1913 he attended a teacher training school established by the Dutch colonial government in Bukittinggi, the intellectual center of Minangkabau culture. Here he began to learn the Dutch language, which he was to teach to Indonesian students. In 1913...
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