During the heyday of the revolution for the nation’s independence in the early 20th century, soil or land dominated the subject of intellectual debates. Water, which surrounded the islands in the archipelago, earned fewer spotlights.
True, the Indonesian anthem composed by respected Ahmadiyah follower, Wage Rudolf Supratman, contains the combination of two words “tanah air/soil and water”.
However, not only the anthem puts soil in the first place, it also emphasizes the role of land rather than water, such as in the phrase “tanah tumpah darahku/the soil in which my blood is shed.” In short, water, which covers most of the nation’s territory, has long received less attention.
Likewise, in pumping the spirit of the freedom fighters in the guerrilla wars against the two times Dutch aggressions, our national leaders, such as Gen. Soedirman and Soetomo, also...