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Kartini
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Advocate
    (April 21, 1879-September 17, 1904)
    Born in Jepara, Central Java, Indonesia
    Often known as Raden Ayu Kartini or Raden Ajeng Kartini
    Advocate for women’s rights in Indonesia
    Wrote many letters protesting the social conventions of Javanese culture that hinder women’s development
    Died a few days after giving birth to a son in Rembang, Central Java, Indonesia
    Letters published into a book titled ‘Out of Dark Comes Light’ (1911)
    Birthday commemorated as Kartini Day
    She considered becoming a vegetarian.
    She was rather critical of religion, stating that the world would be more peaceful if there’s no religion to explain the existence of strife in the world.
    She got married to someone twice her age and already had three wives just to please her ill father despite her hesitation.
    There were rumors that some of her letters were forged because her book of letters was published at a time when the Dutch Colonial Government was passing ‘Ethical Policies’ in the Dutch East Indies.
    Sukarno’s decision to declare her birthday a national holiday was met with criticism, saying that it should be celebrated along with Indonesian Mother’s Day (December 22).
    Nowadays, some people have criticized the overemphasized observance of Kartini Day, making her a gradually forgotten figure among the younger generation.
    She came from a family with a strong intellectual tradition.
    Unlike most Javanese women of her time, she could speak Dutch, thus acquiring Dutch pen pals whom she wrote her ideas to.
    Her desire to study in the Netherlands was crushed by the Javanese custom of secluding girls at home by the age of 12.
    Fortunately for her, her husband allowed her to establish a women’s school.
    She challenged polygamy, a practice prevalent among Javanese nobility that hindered women’s development.
    She wrote that too often have sins been committed in the name of religion.

Credit: Big Lenny


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