Kartini Day is celebrated in Indonesia every year on the 21st of April. Women take great pride in dressing themselves in the traditional Javanese outfit called the Kebaya. They pull back and style their hair into elaborate coiffures and emerge as elegant and aristocratic figures from a by gone age. Men in Indonesia are loath to be left behind! They too don traditional über formal teluk beskap which is a combination of the Javanese jacket and kain batik and put on traditional Javanese head-dress known as blangkons.
It is to commemorate and celebrate the achievements of an outstanding daughter of Indonesia — Ibu Kartini that Kartini Day is celebrated. Ibu Kartini is a name that every adult and every school going child in Indonesia is familiar with. It is also a name that any and every visitor here is sure to come across sooner rather than later.
Her thoughts and letters were compiled into a book entitled Door Duisternis tot Licht which when translated into English reads Out of Dark Comes Light.
She was born on the 21st of April into an aristocratic family and she passed away at the tender age of 25. However, she achieved great things in her short life. She was a brilliant student and had a great talent which is immortalized in her writings. She demonstrated through her life the fact that women have every right to an education and that, provided the right atmosphere and resources, they are second to none.
This fact in itself was truly revolutionary for the age that she lived in. It was the intellectual fire that blazed within this truly great lady that drove her to start a pioneering school for women in the porch of the Regency’s office! It is to propagate the seeds that she sowed in this truly great nation that each and every one of us must dedicate ourselves.
Today, itself let us all take a solemn pledge to live up to the ideals that we are celebrating through the shining example of Ibu Kartini. Ibu Kartini is a heroic and noble figure who symbolizes women’s emancipation as well as intellectual development. Let each and every one of us serve to carry the light of education and the lamp of knowledge into the darkest recesses of the human condition.
Himmat S. Dhillon