Nugroho Notosusanto


He was born in Rembang (Jul 15, 1931), and died in Jakarta (Jun 03, 1985)

Brigadier General Raden Panji Nugroho Notosusanto was an Indonesian short story writer turned military historian who served as professor of history at the University of Indonesia. Born to a noble family in Central Java, he exhibited a high degree of nationalism from a young age. During the Indonesian National Revolutionfrom 1945 to 1949 he saw active service as a member of the Student Army, working reconnaissance. Despite wanting to remain in the military, under influence by his father he continued his education, eventually enrolling in the faculty of literature at the University of Indonesia. During the 1950s he wrote extensively and was active in numerous political and academic groups, finally graduating with a degree in history in 1958.

After a failed attempt to study at the University of London, in the early 1960s Notosusanto – by then a lecturer – was contacted by General Abdul Haris Nasution and tasked with writing a history of the revolution and Madiun Affair. By 1964 he had become head of the Indonesian Army’s history division, holding an honorary rank. Continuing to teach, he wrote extensively on the revolution and other military events, including the first book on the 30 September Movement of 1965.

His work appeared in several magazines and newspapers, including Gelora, Cerita, Kompas, Mahasiswa and Indonesia. With assistance from his colleagues, Nugroho organized the Literature Symposiums at the Faculty of Letters at the University of Indonesia (1953–1957). In addition to writing academic papers and essays, he also wrote short stories. Many of these short stories describe the struggle for Indonesian independence, particularly the perspectives and fortitude required in dealing with prolonged conflict. His short stories are collected in Hujan Kepagian (1958), Tiga Kota (1959), Rasa Sayange (1959) and Hijau Bumiku, Hijau Bajuku (1963).

Between 1983 and his death Notosusanto served concurrently as rector of the University of Indonesia and Minister of Education and Culture.


What Media Say

A soldier’s historian by Kate McGregor — Inside Indonesia (Jul 30, 2007)