Footprints of History from Eastern Indonesia

Footprints of History from Eastern Indonesia

On Tuesday, 26 November 2019, Arsari Djojohadikusumo Foundation (YAD) in collaboration with the Faculty of Cultural Sciences, Hasanuddin University (FIB Unhas) and cultural conservation unit Mandala Majapahit Unhas, held events under the theme of history and cultural conservations, namely Seminar in Commemoration of 726th Anniversary of Majapahit and Heritage Trail: “The Footprints of Diponegoro in Makassar “.


The seminar, exploring the topic “The Radiance of Majapahit’s Footprints in Eastern Indonesia”, was the first event of the day, held in the Prof. Mattulada Hall at FIB Unhas where 300 participants consisting of students, lecturers, media and conservation practitioners gathered. The seminar began with singing Indonesia Raya 3 stanza with a background video of YAD’s efforts in cultural conservation. It was followed by a welcoming dance that both surprised and amazed audience with a fiery performance called Pepe-Pepeka Ri Makka. Then came a report from Coordinator of ManMa Unhas, followed by speeches from the YAD Executive Director, Head of BPCB East Java, and finally the Dean of FIB Unhas who also officially opened the seminar.


This seminar presented four speakers from various disciplines within cultural sciences. Those were Father Gregor Neonbasu who is an anthropologist from Widya Mandira University, Drs. Iwan Sumantri who is an archeologist from Hasanuddin University, Adrian Perkasa, S.S, M.Hum who is a historian from Airlangga University, and Prof. Peter Carey who is a historian and adjunct professor from the University of Indonesia. Each speaker explored the greatness of Majapahit and its influence outside of Java from the perspective of their disciplines, and their presentations were followed by a panel discussion, in which participants enthusiastically asked questions. It delved into deeper discussions about the extent of the historical footprints of this great kingdom in the eastern part of the archipelago, where all agree on the significance of the history of Majapahit left on eastern Indonesia as an inseparable part of the research as a whole, most of which has been more focused on Java.

The seminar concluded in the middle of the day around lunch time, and the event continued with Heritage Trail: “The Footprints of Diponegoro in Makassar” guided by Prof. Peter Carey. Participants were taken to visit the Family Tomb of Prince Diponegoro in Makassar, followed by the prince’s former family home on Jalan Irian no. 83, which now has been turned into a shop, and ended at Fort Rotterdam where the a discussion under the topic Diponegoro Room Success Story was conducted by Peter Carey and Sri Kusumawati, the Head of Jakarta History Museum invited by YAD. The discussion took place at Prof. Matthes’ Reading Room, believed to be the very room occupied by Prince Diponegoro and his family and followers during his exile.
This discussion also continued the discourse on the accuracy of historical learning, especially in a historic site, which in this case was a debate about the location of the room where Prince Diponegoro had lived in Fort Rotterdam, which had been mistakenly understood that the Prince was being held in an underground room. The description and data provided by Peter Carey in the discussion has made it clear that the Dutch colonial government understood very well the stature of the Prince, and that locking him up disrespectfully would certainly provoke anger and rebellion. In addition, written records of Prince Hendrik de Zeevarder stated that during his visit, he climbed the stairs to the second floor to meet Prince Diponegoro. Thus, it is clear that the Prince’s room is not underground, but in the room that is now referred to as Prof. Matthes’ reading room.


YAD hopes that the discussion held that afternoon can resolve the doubts about the existence and whereabouts of Prince Diponegoro’s room at Fort Rotterdam. The discussion ended with the hope that the reading room could be transformed into a dedicated Diponegoro Room, which will be valuable as one of the Prince’s legacy and could be an interesting site to visit, following the success story of the Diponegoro Room at Jakarta History Museum.

The Trail and the discussion that followed was attended by participants of Indonesian Heritage Gathering 2019 in Toraja-Makassar organized by the Indonesian Heritage Trust (BPPI), representatives of the FIB Unhas, ManMa Unhas, and also representatives from BPCB East Java and South Sulawesi.



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