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Tugu Tani, Jakarta Overview

The Tugu Tani statue is also known as the Heroes Monument, Patung Pahlawan in Indonesian. This bronze statue is an important landmark monument in Jakarta’s city landscape. Inspired by folk tales, this statue depicts a young peasant with a farmer’s hat, called a caping holding a rifle in one hand and his mother standing behind him offering a meal of rice. It is also hence called the Farmer’s Monument or Patung Pak Tani also.

The statue is symbolic of the struggles of the heroes of Indonesia, with the caption at its pedestal that translates to, ‘A nation that exalts its heroes is a great nation.’ The statue, however, has been in controversy over the years often identified as a symbol of communism by few politicians and activists.

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History of Tugu Tani

The first president of Indonesia, Sukarno invited renowned sculptors from Russia, Matvey Manizer and Ossip Manizer, to build a statue which would capture the essence of the fight for independence. During this time, Indonesia was struggling for the Independence of West Papua or West Irina from the Dutch.

The sculptor duo during their travels within the country came across the folklore in a village of West Java about how a mother supported her son to fight and win the war and gave him some rice to remember his parents. They were enthralled by the story line and decided to build the statue on similar lines. The statue was built in the Soviet Union and brought to Indonesia by ship.

It was inaugurated in 1963 by Sukarno and is also counted as a symbol of friendship between the nations of Indonesia and the Soviet Union.

However, in 1964 the PKI and Chinese ambassador to Indonesia proposed to form a fifth force which he claimed would be the armed peasants or workers. Since then the statue has been surrounded in controversy for its communist intonation as various groups of Indonesian’s argue that peasants should not be carrying weapons.

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