Today, on 21st of April, we in Indonesia commemorate the date as The Day of Kartini. In this day, we celebrate the birth of Raden Ajeng Kartini (Raden Ajeng, or R.A. is aristrocratic title in Javanese culture), and Kartini is the name of a woman, and this woman is known as a pioneer in the area of women’s rights for native Indonesians. For further detail, one can follow her biography and her contribution for the women’s right in Indonesia from this wiki.
As for how women contribute to astronomy in Indonesia, already wrote by my fellow astronomer from Indonesia, Avivah, in her writing here.
But, why should Kartini? Is she the only heroine in Indonesia? As the matter of fact, there were also many other heroines in Indonesia. Like today, i have conversation with my friends, there were also Raden Dewi Sartika, Cut Nyak Dien, Christina Martha Tiahahu, name a few. Even they contribute more compared to R.A. Kartini. Raden Dewi Sartika established good schools, in which still stand until today, while Cut Nyak Dien, Christina Martha Tiahahu already known as great war-general. But why R.A. Kartini? If the case is about ‘woman emancipation’, one can argue, what kind of emancipation they can represent. Is it a great general? great educator?
In 1964, President Sukarno, (the 1st president of Indonesia) declared Kartini’s birth date, 21 April, as ‘Kartini Day’ – an Indonesian National Holiday. This decision has been criticised. It has been proposed that Kartini’s Day should be celebrated in conjunction with Indonesian Mothers Day, on 22 December so that the choice of Kartini as a national heroine would not overshadow other women who, unlike Kartini, took up arms to oppose the colonisers. That is how for the first time, R.A. Kartini recognized as a prominent figure among other women in our history.
One thing we can learn from Kartini that is, like Prometheus in Greek mythology, who bear the torch for humanity, and prosecuted by Zeus, so did R.A. Kartini, being prosecuted by the situation on her time, nevertheless, her thought like a torch of enlightenment, passed to the next generation, and not only for women right, the significance of Kartini was far beyond, beyond nationality, it just as simple as, she dreamt for a better world to live for all, and the road to that place only by good understanding and knowledge about where we are in this world, in this universe; like her struggle to understand her existence in her time. Imho.
Dr. Ian Malcolm: God creates dinosaurs. God destroys dinosaurs. God creates man. Man destroys God. Man creates dinosaurs…
Dr. Ellie Sattler: Dinosaurs eat man. Woman inherits the earth…
(Jurassic Park, 1993).
Happy Kartini Day!