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Re-Reading WS Rendra’s ‘Perjuangan Suku Naga’ (The Struggle Of The Naga Tribe)

Book Chronicles / Essay

In this article:
The Struggle of the Naga Tribe
Rendra, W. S.

Written by Azly Rahman, originally published in Eurasia Review

Feb 12, 2024

A retrospective essay on Indonesia’s greatest poet and playwright during the time of President Suharto.

“You got to have patience. Why Tom, us people will go on livin’ when all them people is gone ….. Rich fellas come up an’ they die, an’ their kids ain’t no good an’ they die out. But we keep a-comin,” — John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath

“If you shut up truth and bury it under the ground, it will but grow, and gather to itself such explosive power that the day it bursts through, it will blow everything in its way.” — Emile Zola, J’accuse


In 1975, Willybrordus Surendro Rendro (Rendra) wrote and performed Perjuangan Suku Naga (The Struggle of the Naga Tribe; henceforth The Struggle,) a play about the Naga tribe which triumphantly opposes the forces of industrialization and modernization in order to maintain their cultural autonomy and to protect their copper-rich territorial chastity from being raped by the “ogress from tanah sabrang,” foreign based transnational corporations.

Read the full article here.

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