Oemar Said Tjokroaminoto

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Tjokroaminoto 1962 Indonesia stamp.jpg

(Raden Mas Hadji) Oemar Said Tjokroaminoto (August 16, 1882 – December 17, 1934), better known in Indonesia as H. O. S. Tjokroaminoto, was a nationalist, one of the leader of Syarekat Dagang Islam (Islamic Trade Union) after the founder Haji Samanhudi, later became Sarekat Islam) in Indonesia.

Early life[edit]

Born in Ponorogo as the son of RM. Tjokroaminoto (district chief of Kleco), grandson of RMA. Tjokronegoro (regent of Ponorogo), and grand-grandson of Kyai Bagus Kasan Besari of Tegalsari pesantren. According to his genealogy, his education was directed towards civil service eventually not his hope.

After graduating from OSVIA (OpleidingSchool Voor Inlandsche Ambtenaren, the then-highest civil servant education) in Magelang (1902), Oemar Said began to work as civil servant in Ngawi, but eventually he left it (1902-1905). In looking for other job he came in Surabaya. In the night he attended BAS (Burgerlijke Avond School) for some years. After graduating, he worked in a sugar refinery (1907-1912). In that time Tjokroaminoto began to write and became assistant in Bintang Soerabaja daily.



In that time, in Surakarta, H. Samanhoedi had founded Sarekat Dagang Islam (SDI, in the late 1911). Tjokroaminoto was asked to prepare needed regulations for organization and next management handling. After that the statuten (statute) was prepared and strengthened by notarial act in Surabaya (September 10, 1912).


The word Dagang (trade) in the organization's name was removed and SDI became SI (Sarekat Islam; Islamic Union). Its chairman was H. Samanhoedi, while Tjokroaminoto became commissioner. Few days later its statute was sent to Governor-General to be legalized as a corporate body (rechtspersoon).

A central committee was formed with H. Samanhoedi as chairman and Tjokroaminoto as vice-chairman. In explaining organization's aim, Tjokroaminoto stated that SI would not oppose Dutch East Indies Government. For organization's interest he and other manager went to the then-Governor-General, Alexander Willem Frederik Idenburg (March 29, 1913). Idenburg stated that for public importance (algemeen belang) SI legalization couldn't be granted, but local SIs can be granted corporate-body status.


Because of rapid development of local SIs, it was necessary to establish a central SI coordinating them. On 1915, the Centraal Sarekat Islam (CSI) was founded with Tjokroaminoto as its chairman, Abdoel Moeis as its vice-chairman, and Samanhoedi as honorary chairman. Since then Tjokroaminoto was continuously chairman or member of SI Board of Administration until his death.

The 1st CSI national congress (the 3rd SI congress) in his presidency was held in Bandung (June 1916). The usage of word national remembered to the things Tjokroaminoto had sounded, is the necessity of the unity of all Indonesian. As social strength, Sarekat Islam obtained acknowledgement with entrance of Tjokroaminoto and Abdoel Moeis as the newly opened Volksraad's member (1918). As successor of his organization's voice, in that representative body Tjokroaminoto tirelessly had government correct all people expect.

The whole SI under Tjokroaminoto continuously went forward, but inner opposition arose, when colonial government's trust decreased. The hardest challenge came from Marxist/Leninist fraction led by Semaoen who faced Tjokroaminoto. Eventually Marxist-Leninist fraction formed Red SI that later became Communist Party of Indonesia.


In 1921 Tjokroaminoto was arrested for the charge of (assassination by) SI-afd. B in Cimareme, Garut, West Java; he was released ca. 9 months later without trial (August 1922).


CSI became weak, and its name was changed to PSI (Partai Sarekat Islam; Islamic Union Party) on February 1923. Tjokroaminoto made an effort to unite outer Javanese group. After a propaganda, insurgency broke out wherever, until he and Abdoel Moeis was forbidden to visit some areas. In that time, Pan-Islamism was launched. Tjokroaminoto and KH. Mas Mansoer of Muhammadiyah was delegated to attend Islamic conference in Mecca (1926). In that time Tjokroaminoto made a hajj, the 5th Islamic pillar.

Political suggestion of hijra, non-cooperative attitude to colonial government eventually accepted by Congress, caused Tjokroaminoto's refusal when he would be elected as Volksraad's member (1927). Relationship with Dr. Soetomo of Indonesische Studieclub (PBI) became tense. Ulema Committee was founded to discuss Tjokroaminoto's Qur'anic interpretation that don't obtain agreement (1928).


Later PSI was changed to PSII (Indonesian Islamic Union Party, Partai Syarikat Islam Indonesia) in early 1929. There was a confrontation between nationalist Soekiman and religious Tjokroaminoto that led to Soekiman's departure to form a new party, the Indonesian Islamic Party (Partai Islam Indonesia).

Later life[edit]

After the 20th PSII Congress in Banjarmasin (May 1934), Hadji Oemar Said Tjokroaminoto was sick and died in Yogyakarta (17 December 1934). PSII's leadership was succeeded by his brother Abikoesno Tjokrosoejoso.


  • 1993. Ensiklopedi Umum. Yogyakarta: Kanisius.