Be it a large city or a small provincial town, one thing is for sure – and that is one of its streets will be named Jalan Sudirman.
In Jakarta, Jalan Sudirman is the great thoroughfare which cuts through the heart of the city on a north south axis and which is lined by some of the cities most important buildings: towering skyscrapers, luxury hotels and plush shopping malls.
The man honored, General Sudirman, was the military commander of Indonesia’s armed forces during the country’s fight for independence from the Dutch in the 1940s.
Sudirman’s appointment of Army Chief in November 1945 at just 30 years of age, made him the first and youngest general of the Indonesian army.
The first battle he led was the battle of Ambarawa (November-December 1945), which pitted his troops against the British and the Dutch who had ostensibly come to the Dutch East Indies to repatriate Japanese soldiers, Allied prisoners of war and former internees, but seemingly had the ulterior motive of reasserting Dutch authority in the archipelago.
But Sudirman was mostly sick with tuberculosis over the next five years and died in Magelang in January 1950, aged just 35.