30 August 2010
The governance of Yogyakarta Sultanate has changed a lot under the leadership of Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X (HB X). Living within a democratic Indonesia, HB X ruled Yogyakarta with a culture-based governmental system. He shows that a king is no longer gung binathara (great and untouched) but rather, a democratic leader. The Javanese King holds the principle that a king must have good character and be always just (berbudi bawa leksana). He clearly has a deep understanding of what it is to have a nation.
Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X is the King of Yogyakarta Sultanate as well as Governor of the Special Region of Yogyakarta (DIY) since 1998. Sri Sultan HB X was born as BRM (Bendoro Raden Mas) Herjuno Darpito. His name was changed into KGPH Mangkubumi as he came of age and into KGPAA Hamengku Negara Sudibyo Rajaputra Nalendra ing Mataram after being nominated Crown Prince. Sultan HB X was an alumnus of the Faculty of Law, Gadjah Mada University.
On 7 March 1989 (or Tuesday Wage, 19 Rajab 1921), he was enthroned and entitled “Sampeyan Dalem ingkang Sinuhun Kanjeng Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono Senapati ing Ngalogo Ngabdurrokhman Sayidin Panotogomo Khalifatullah ingkang Jumeneng Kaping Dasa”. The title denotes that the king has the power to declare peace or war, and that he will also be commander in-chief of war. Sultan is also a wise religious leader. He is considered a substitute of Muhammad the Prophet of God.
King and Governor of Yogyakarta
Sultan HB X is an active member of many organizations and has held various positions such as General Chairman of Kadinda DIY, Head of Yogyakarta’s Representative Council of Golkar, Head of KONI DIY, Chief Director of PT Punokawan that works in the field of construction service, Chairman of the Board of Commissioner of PG Madukismo, and in July 1996, Head of Yogyakarta Gubernatorial Election.
With the departure of Paku Alam VIII, after some arguments, in 1998 he was appointed Governor of the Special Region of Yogyakarta for 1998-2003 period, in which the vice governor seat remained vacant. Then in 2003, he was again nominated Governor. Taking charge of the office for the second time, Sri Sultan was accompanied by Paku Alam IX as vice governor.
In his second term, Yogyakarta suffered from the May 2006 earthquake that measured up to 6.2 Richter scale. The disaster claimed over 6000 victims and hurt tens of thousands others. Sri Sultan HB X was calm but active in his response. He managed to lead his people to get over the situation with the help from both domestic and foreign parties to reconstruct Yogyakarta.
In his 61th birth anniversary celebration at Pagelaran Pavilion in the Royal Palace, 7 April 2007, he asserted his intention to not hold the position again after his tenure ended in 2008. In the event that was attended by about 40.000 common people, Sultan said that he wanted to step up to work on his niche at national level. He was looking forward to serving the country and people with his thoughts and energy. But then again, Yogyakarta held back its dearest figure. For one more time, Sultan took up the position of governor.
A Historic-minded Law Scholar
Sultan HB X is one among few government officials who concern about history. He seems to really understand that Yogyakarta has long been the torch of education in Indonesia. Sultan once stated, “The writing of history tends to spot on dramatic events and portray all-heroic figures. Therefore, historical facts are prone to being jumbled with tale, in which people are mythologized as if they were truly great men.”
Furthermore, Sultan said that not only will a historical figure who gives statement by distorting the facts damage his name, but he will basically ruin his own country. It is because to a certain extent, everything written based on his statement will form people’s understanding of national identity.
Sultan HB X is a rare type of Indonesian figure that is open-minded and has critical attitude on the writing of many events in the modern history of Indonesia. He is of the opinion that the writing of history is not a simple matter. “Historiography should be able to provide a verified vision in order to treat a historic figure proportionally in a historic event,” he said.
Having the Sultan, Yogyakarta people do not feel the anxiety as those of other provinces do. Sultan HB X is no longer young but his eyes still see the dynamic world through a great wisdom. Sultan HB X is a democratic statesman who cares about his people sincerely.
Adi Tri Pramono, Jogjatrip.com journalist
Photo: Repro from “Kraton Jogja: The History and Cultural Heritage”, page 6.