Memories of the events of November 10, 1945 led to my presence at the house of three lots donated by the Baswedan family which was one of the witnesses in the fierce battle waged by the youth of Suroboyo when we commemorate “Heroes’ Day”.
NE day, I took my child to a private hospital in the northern city of Surabaya, East Java. Its name is Al Irsyad Hospital. With a BPJS referral letter from the first level health facilities.
The area is known as the Arab village. The location of the hospital is not far from the Ampel Mosque and the tomb of the famous Sunan Ampel.
For me, at least there is a new experience: treatment and travel at the same time! Maybe it’s suitable for “medical tourism”.
First time entering Jalan KH. Mas Mansyur, I feel uneasy. Why is it so dense? Traffic is chaotic. On the side of the road, there are many Arab culinary vendors. There is of course kebuli rice in front of PKU Muhammadiyah.
Next door is the legendary Ampel “sate karak” seller. This satay is made from beef offal. It is eaten with black glutinous rice and sprinkled with coconut seasoning on top.
But after seeing the hospital building I felt a little comforted. The nine-story building looks modern and majestic. Plus a multifunctional bridge building above the road that connects it with other buildings across.
“Sorry…not here. But your son is in the old Al Irsyad Hospital building,” said the security guard, directing my eyes to another building.
“Which one?” I asked.
“It’s in front of… just across the street,” he continued, pointing to a building that in my opinion looked more like a residence than a hospital. Although a little doubtful, I just followed, not wanting to argue.
The first time I entered the Al Irsyad Hospital opposite the first building I met, I was amazed and curious. Visitors are presented with the nuances of the doloe tempo: ancient and classic. But it was fun too, I whispered to myself.
The building looks solid. Spanish style architecture in the 1920’s. At first glance it looks like a box with a large dome in the middle of the roof. The interior is dominated by dark brown teak wood. In the sky hung a large decorative lamp. The carvings on some of the walls have ancient Mediterranean style patterns.
“My service is my worship”, large letters greeted everyone who entered the main hall in the center.
While waiting for the administrative process, the time for the dhuhur prayer arrived. Without asking, I followed the directions to the mushalla. Go through the back alley. It is located next to another building which has been transformed into an inpatient treatment room.
What a surprise when I took off my shoelaces and sat down, and starter to utter my prayer. I found a stone inscription in front of the prayer room. A little hidden. If your eye is not accustomed to scrutiny then the inscription may have been missed.
I was even more surprised when I read the writing on the simple inscription: “AR Baswedan House/Al Irsyad Hospital (1870).
During the Dutch colonial period it was the residence of the Dutch Captain which later became the headquarters of the Youth of the Republic of Indonesia (PRI) of the Northern chapter.
Out of curiosity, I tried to confirm the writing of this inscription to one of the hospital staff who happened to be sitting next to me.
“Is this really the house of AR Baswedan, Anies Baswedan’s grandfather (currently the Governor of Jakarta)?” I asked to be sure. Because often people with the same surname, the Baswedan should not necessarily have any relation.
“Yes sir. The story is, because it is spacious, this house used to be used as a place where young people’s hanging out. Ther ewere young republican fighters who opposed the Dutch colonialism.”
“But why not put it in front, near the main entrance so that every guest who visit can know and read?” I asked again.
“I am not aware of this, I don’t know, sir. Please ask the hospital management,” he suggested.
“What I know is that this house has become a cultural heritage building. So it’s still original, nothing has changed,” he added as he walked away.
Curious? of course. I did not expect the oldest hospital building in Surabaya to have historical footprints with heroic stories during the revolutionary struggle for independence. Its status has now been designated as a landmark, cultural heritage building by the Surabaya City Government.
During the revolutionary period, this house was often used as a place for “cangkrukan” (gathering, ed) the youth of the republic and freedom fighters.
Mr. AR Baswedan as the host appeared as a “motor” and played an important role in preparing the youth movement, especially the Arab Peranakans, to contribute in fighting against the Dutch.
Those who were selected were trained with the semi-military in the barracks. They were physically prepared for battle.
The youth fighters who hang-out at AR Baswedan’s house have various backgrounds. There are young Arabs, Madurese, Javanese, Malays, Celebes, Moluccans, Chinese, and others. Oh…yes, they call it “cangkrukan” to trick the Dutch army spies who watch the house every night.
Any young people from the two mass organizations are described as being active in “cangkrukan” a la Suroboyo at AR Baswedan’s house”
First, from the Indonesian Youth Force (API) which was formed on August 21, 1945 around the port of Tanjung Perak. Its members consist of oil refining workers.
Second, the Youth of the Republic of Indonesia (PRI) with figures such as Sumarsono, Kaslan, Krissubanu, Ruslan Widjaja, Kusnadi, Supardi, Supijah, J. Rambe, and Sutomo who later became known as “Bung Tomo”.
At that time Indonesia had just proclaimed independence and the young fighters were risking the lives for the freedom together with the republicans.
Why did they take up arms again? This was because the Dutch had been riding with their allies to disarm the Japanese soldiers who had surrendered unconditionally in World War II. This former colonial power still wants to reclaim its former colonies.
In addition, from this house together with the youth, AR Baswedan loudly voiced Indonesianness, ethnic diversity, language, religion and at the same time was able to carry out the values of tolerance that should be proud of.
Al Irsyad Hospital
The idea of turning the Surabaya fighter’s headquarters into an Al Irsyad Hospital, based on the information and related literature collected, began in 1965.
At that time in the area of North Surabaya there was a physical clash between residents which resulted in many victims falling. At the initiative of the youth, from the activities of the Al Irsyad Education Foundation and the initiative of several doctors, an “Emergency Hospital” and an ad hoc Polyclinic were made in several school classrooms belonging to the Al Irsyad Foundation on Jalan Danakarya No. 28 it. The hospital remains in the Ampel area.
Over time, the high demand for health facilities in the North Surabaya area, and previous experiences of “Emergency Hospitals” and Polyclinics, several local community leaders led by Hasan Achmad Baktir BA (late) “unanimously discussed” and agreed to initiate the establishment of a hospital in the Ampel area, capitalizing on AR Baswedan’s residence which was donated by the Baswedan’s family as the main capital as well as the main building.
The Baswedan family’s living room is now a patient waiting room. On the south side of the building, there are six rooms used by the Baswedan family. The six rooms are now used as poly and pharmacy rooms.
“At first glance, when viewed from above, the hospital building will appear to form the word of Allah,” said Iwah.
The image of the events of 10 November 1945 and the memory of the construction of the three-lot house which was donated by the Baswedan family is one of the witnesses of the fierce battle between the young Suroboyo fighters which we commemorate every year as “Heroes’ Day”.
Finally, it is no exaggeration if the national hero Abdul Rahman Baswedan’s name is immortalized as the name of a street in Surabaya, while at the same time cromning the title “City of Heroes” it bears.
Rusman Majjulekka, Columnist