Main Points:
  • Mohammad Hatta
  • Abdul Muis
  • Rohana Kudus

The Minangkabau, although fairly unknown by many people, have numerous important figures throughout their history. Certain Minangkabau people have done wonders for their country and the world. One of the most famous of the Minangkabau was Mohammad Hatta. Although many praise his superior, President Sukarno, he arguably did more for the country than others in office.

Hatta was born in Western Sumatra on August 12, 1902. He grew up in that same region until 1921, when he moved to the Netherlands to go to school. His nationality only grew, even away from his home country. He launched a campaign for the Indonesian Association in a country that considered such an act to be severely radical. Because of his boldness to lead in a foreign country, he was imprisoned by the Dutch in 1927 for being "antigovernment." However, Hatta was released shortly after and all of the charges were dropped a day later. After his release, he returned to his home country and began rallying his people toward an anti-Dutch political movement. This act did not fly, as he was then put in jail for the next eight years. Luckily in the year of 1942, after the Japanese defeated the Dutch, the Japs got Hatta out of jail to help run the growing archipelago. Although the Japanese leaders helped Hatta and his colleagues gain prestige, he had an idea that he would keep under wraps until the Japanese lost power in Asia and overseas.

Mohammad Hatta (Former VP and Prime Minister)

The movement that he kept secret with Sukarno was independence. As soon as Hatta and Sukarno discovered that Japan had surrendered to the Allies, they returned to Jakarta. They constructed Indonesia's Proclamation of Independence and finally, on August 17, 1945 the two signed the bottom and Indonesia officially became independent.

Abdul Muis was also a significant figure in Minangkabau history. Like Hatta, he left his homeland to receive a western education. He returned from the Netherlands in 1912 and became one of the most notable journalists and writers in Indonesian history. He published his own paper called Kaoem Moeda that same year and was the main contributor. In his articles, he criticized the Dutch and their tyrannical rule over his land and people.

Abdul Muis.jpg
Abdul Muis

Furthermore, around the same time, he became a member of an Islamic union called Sarekat Islam and quickly moved up to one of the top spots. He was well-mannered and highly venerated by his fellow union members. Arrested several times for disobedience to the Dutch, he spent a number of years in prison. Not only did he fight for his country's freedom, but he wrote a book called Salah Asuhan, which in english means "Wrong Upbringing." This book was written in 1928 and acknowledged the racial and social discrimination of culture groups such as the Minangkabau. With his gregarious personality and willingness to sacrifice himself, he became one of the Minangkabau's most famous freedom fighters.

Another radical Indonesian figure was Rohana Kudus. She was born on December 20, 1884 in a small village called Agam in West Sumatra. She was homeschooled by her father and became very handy with making crafts and performing certain unique tasks that require a specific skill set. One of her ambitions was to teach these skills to other women while also providing an unmatched education. She established a school in 1911 and the year after, she created her own newspaper, that was soley female-based.

Rohana Kudus

The reason these acts were bold was because during the time period, advancement for women was somewhat frowned upon. She found numerous enemies who opposed the idea of a further female education. However, she was strongly supported by her her father, Mohammad Rasjad, and her husband, Abdul Kudus. The name of the school was Sekolah Kerajinan Amal Setia. Women were taught to make crafts and became better readers and writers. Rohana Kudus became a very notable Minangkabau due to her bravery and determination to advance women in her community.


Ishak, Julia Tami.
2012. "Rohana Kudus, journalist biography." International Journalism. Tangient LLC.

Nijhoff, Martinus.
1967. "Abdul Muis." Modern Indonesian Literature. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.

Salim, Emil.
2006. "Asian Heroes: Mohammad Hatta." Time Magazine (Onine).