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Perhaps for the same reason his fiction tends to portray reality in a manner that develops without sophisticated plot structure but rather emphasizing the linear and contingent relationships that are a common perception of how real life is shaped.
Although born peasant, Sastrodarsono succeeds in adjusting himself to priyayi way of life and his children also become educated priyayi.
Hardojo becomes a teacher; Noegroho becomes an army officer; and Sumini is married to a high government official priyayi. Kayam models Sastrodarsono and his family after his own life and the experience of someone who has been through Dutch colonialism, Japanese colonialism and Independence. The difference is that Kayam was born priyayi while Sastrodarsono earns his status by studying and becoming a teacher. Kayam argues Rahmanto 12 that Although the most able Western researchers might be able to speak Javanese, they cannot really get inside and understand the symbolic nuances, wishes and disappointment of priyayi class in pursuing kamukten prosperity.
It is not clear which writers that Kayam has in mind, but it is likely that he particularly means Clifford Geertz whose work Religion of Java divided Javanese society into three groups including priyayi. Written at the end of the New Order era, , the story is set in the heyday of the New Order when ideological debates were successfully mitigated and the interpretation of nationalism was the sole authority of the regime.
This is the kind of nationalism which provided a more convincing and legitimating authority for the continuing dominance of an increasingly corrupt regime but which therefore also required the regime to control the notion of national identity and resist threats to its stability. These third and fourth generations of priyayi represent two sides of Indonesians in the New Order: those who thrive on the corrupt machinery of the New Order and those who are marginalized because of their idealism.
Two main characters are always present in his column: Pak Ageng, the master of the house, and 14 Mr. Rigen, his servant. They are usually involved in a playful conversation related to contemporary issues and the daily problems of the common populace.
For Kayam, Sobary suggests, the unequal distribution of wealth is not a symptom of injustice but of harmony. Priyayi being served and servant serving is harmonious since that is cultural destiny. Sobary also observes that for Kayam, the two different classes should not try to annihilate each other but support each other in a symbiotic mutualism. Sobary puts it thus: Untuk apa Ki Ageng menghadirkan potret masyarakat dua kelas macam itu?
Mungkin untuk menggaris bawahi bahwa mereka bukan kekuatan-kekuatan yang harus bertarung satu sama lain untuk merebut posisi dalam sejarah sebagaimana Marx melihat relasi buruh-majikan.
Bagi Ki Ageng, dua lapis masyarakat yang tak seimbang posisi sosial-ekonomi dan politiknya itu bukan tanda ketimpangan, bukan bukti antagonisme, melainkan sebaliknya: keselarasan.
Memang begitu takdir manusia dalam budaya. Lingkungan alam agraris Jawa yang menuntut serba keselarasan itu yang melahirkan tata hidup sosio-kultural yang juga harus serba selaras.
Perhaps it is to underline that the two classes are not opposing forces that have to 15 fight for a position in history, the way Marx sees capital owners and workers are related. For Ki Ageng, the two Javanese classes, despite their unequal social, economic and political power, are not an evidence of antagonism but harmony. This is human cultural destiny. A Javanese agrarian environment demanding harmony has given birth to harmonious social life as well.
Such a world view is reminiscent of that paradigmatic and monstrous claim by the nineteenth-century western humanist, Ernest Renan: Nature has made a race of workers, the Chinese race, who have wonderful manual dexterity and almost no sense of honor; govern them with justice, levying from them, in return for the blessing of such a government, an ample allowance for the conquering race and they will be satisfied; a race of tillers of the soil, the Negro; treat him with kindness and humanity, and all will be as it should; a race of masters and soldiers, the European race.
Reduce this noble race to working in the ergastulum like Negroes and Chinese, and they rebel. How shall we explain the existence of the apparent false consciousness manifested in such a conformist attitude to colonialism and belief in class supremacy? The explanation probably can be found in Kayam himself. When asked about his response to criticism that his novels were more like sociological pieces than novels, he said that his background as a social scientist always haunted his creative process Rahmanto 7.
This dualism has resulted in fictions that look like a sociological piece relying rather heavily on the faithful rendering of a sociological depiction that does not necessarily reflect his personal take on the issue involved.
On the one hand he sees the priyayi world as an insider but on the other he seems to want to observe some objective-scientific distance from the object observed. This might be the explanation of the figuration of the collaborationist characters in his novels. In Theory: Nations, Classes, Literatures.
London: Verso, Discourse on Colonialism. Pinkham, Joan. New York: Monthly Review Press, Day, Tony. Foulcher, Keith and Day Tony. Foulcher, Keith. Jedamski, Doris.
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Your rating has been recorded. Write a review Rate this item: Preview this item Preview this item. Para priyayi: Umar Kayam Publisher: Pustaka Utama Grafiti, The relatively limited presence of the postcolonial both in Indonesian literature and literary criticism is, at least to a large degree, because of five factors.
Ricklefs 14 notes: But the Netherlands home government did indeed make a great deal of money. The prosperity, development and industrialization of the Netherlands in the course of the nineteenth century rested in significant measure on the agricultural products squeezed out of the Javanese.
Consequently the main aim of its operation was profit generating enterprise until it collapsed in When finally taken over by the Dutch government, it retained the existing traditional power relations in such a way as to build efficient colonial machinery, without planning an extensive Dutch speaking local bureaucracy. Given such superficial exposure, the issues of assimilation and mimicry in the Indonesian experience have not been as strong as in India, Africa and the Caribbean.
The second factor is more tangible: the impact of censorship by Balai Pustaka, the major colonial publishing house during the period of Dutch colonization, which played an important explicit role in limiting attention to anti-colonial and postcolonial themes up to because it was under the total control of the colonial Dutch.
However the continuing absence of postcolonial reflection even after colonialism needs further explanation.
The centrality of this violent history to the development of an Indonesian nation state might explain why Indonesian writers in the twentieth century turned their gaze away from colonial violence, possibly in fear of being confronted by anticipations of post-independence conflict. A critique of others anti-colonial nationalism receded even further into the background, entirely overtaken now by an even harsher critique of ourselves.
Ahmad What has been observed here by Ahmad about Indian literature, where anti-colonialism was rapidly displaced by domestic themes, is perhaps comparable with the case of Indonesian postcolonial literature.
The difference is that in Indonesian case the reflection on the colonial legacy was superseded not by partition but by the trauma of ideological war, culminating in the abortive coup of Gestapu This tragedy and the political atmosphere that followed have traumatized the nation so that the production of Indonesian literature ever since has been dominated by a combination of realism and 3 liberal humanism which might be said to have buried or left behind the tragic events of the recent past.
The fourth factor is the domination of a liberal humanist stream in the Indonesian academic and literary scene which contributes to the absence of a critical evaluation of colonialism in Indonesian literature because it tends to consider ideological questions not to be appropriately literary ones. So, for example, Keith Foulcher claims that Indonesian postcolonial literature has developed in a direction different from that of other postcolonial countries: The modernizing gesture that in African and other Third World literatures took shape through a combination of realism and anticolonialism found expression in Indonesia rather through the linking of realism with loosely defined universalism and liberal humanism.
Foulcher The fifth factor is addressed by Keith Foulcher and Tony Day, who speculate that one of the culprits for the absence of a more developed postcolonial literature has something to do with language. Umar Kayam and His Works Among the few vernacular writers whose stories deal with the legacy of colonialism but who is less discussed in a postcolonial perspective is Umar Kayam.
Being a priyayi son, Kayam was able to study in HIS. He liked learning languages and reading Dutch stories so that in the fifth grade of HIS he was able to read and speak Dutch. He used both high Javanese and Dutch when communicating with his parents at home Rahmanto 2. Kayam experienced both Dutch and Japanese colonialism.
When the Dutch were defeated by Japanese troops and Java was under Japanese occupation in , Kayam witnessed the transition in his education system; suddenly there was no place for the Dutch language in East Indies schools and instead the use of Indonesian was encouraged by the Japanese authority. Kayam graduated from high school in and continued to study in the Faculty of Education at Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta, until he graduated in Upon his return from the States in he was appointed by President Soeharto as the Director General of Radio, Television and Film, staying in the position until Until his death in Jakarta in 16th March he was active as Director in many significant positions such as at the Jakarta Art Council , the Centre of Social Sciences Training Universitas Hasanudin and Universitas Gadjah Mada in and respectively.
The same collection was translated in English by Harry Aveling in a collection of short stories titled Sri Sumarah and other Stories He was also a columnist in a local news paper of Yogyakarta, Kedaulatan Rakyat, where he regularly wrote on Tuesdays.
He himself was more comfortable writing fictions than non-fictions despite his well-known position as a social scientist. As mentioned by Rahmanto 7 , Umar Kayam thought that although social science texts and fictions are similar in that neither can grasp reality as it really is, nevertheless fictions are more true to life than scientific texts: Ia selalu mengkritik bahwa ilmu social itu belum mengerti tentang kehidupan.
Ia lalu bertanya, siapakah yang tahu tentang kehidupan. Harusnya seorang sastrawan penulis fiksi , karena seorang sastrawan menulis tentang kehidupan. He then asked who really understood life.
He believed that a poet a fiction writer knew better because a poet wrote about life. Probably what Kayam meant is that since reality is always mediated by language and personal observation, any description of it will never elicit a single interpretation of truth.
Following the above precept, Kayam often takes as a starting point his observation of real people. Rahmanto reports: Peristiwa perampasan di siang hari bolong di tengah keramaian kota dunia, di depan hidungnya itu sangat mengejutkannya. Pengalaman yang di dalam cerpen itu diakuinya sebagai pengalaman yang menimpa dirinya itulah yang dengan lancar dituturkannya dalam cerpen pertamanya itu. Rahmanto 8 The robbery taking place in broad daylight in the middle of a busy metropolitan city right in front of him surprised him a great deal.
He admitted that the experience in the short story was based on that experience. He portrays the metropolitan city as busy and energetic but at the same time he feels the loneliness and anonymity of its inhabitants. As history tells, in a group of civilians and dissident army battalions staged a failed coup by murdering top army generals.
Kayam reveals that those years were: 9 … tahun-tahun yang penuh dengan pesona petualangan, tetapi sekaligus juga kebingungan, ketegangan, dan kebimbangan.