Former Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid Died
New Delhi Dec 31: Former Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid, popularly known as Gus Dur, who passed away on Wednesday evening in a Jakarta hospital. Thousands of people have lined the streets of Jombang, East Java, on Thursday morning to farewell former Indonesian President. The plane carrying Wahid's body landed at Juanda Airport in Surabaya, East Java, at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday. The convoy was on its way to Tebu Ireng Islamic Boarding School in Jombang, East Java for the funeral. The streets along the route were crowded with people farewelling the charismatic leader and scholar. When the body arrives, mourners will hold a funeral prayer at Ulil Albab Mosque in the boarding school compound.
Wahid reportedly gave a sign about his passing when he visited the graves of his father and his grandfather at the family cemetery, located within the Tebu Ireng boarding school grounds, on December 24. Wahid said he would return to Jombang on December 31. "He said ‘I will come back here again on December 31. Please pick me up,’" Inayah Wahid, the former president's youngest daughter, said on Thursday. However, according to Inayah, the family did not take the comment as a hint that Wahid would soon pass away. "We thought it was nothing. We realized it was a signal after he'd gone," Inayah said. After his visit to Jombang, Wahid’s health deteriorated further and he was taken to Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital. Wahid, who was the country’s fourth president, serving from October 1999 to July 2001, died from health complications at the hospital at 6:45 p.m. on Wednesday, presidential doctor Aris Wibudi said. He was 69.
Abdurrahman ad-Dakhil Wahid was born on the fourth day of the eighth month of the Islamic calendar in 1940 in Jombang, East Java to Abdul Wahid Hasyim and Siti Solichah. This led to a belief that he was born on 4 August; instead, using the Islamic calendar to mark his birth date meant that he was actually born on 4 Sha'aban, equivalent to 7 September 1940. He was the firstborn out of his five siblings, and Wahid was born into a very prestigious family in the East Java Muslim community. His paternal grandfather, Hasyim Asy'ari was the founder of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) while his maternal grandfather, Bisri Syansuri was the first Muslim educator to introduce classes for women. Wahid's father, Wahid Hasyim, was involved in the Nationalist Movement and would go on to be Indonesia's first Minister of Religious Affairs.
In 1944, Wahid moved from Jombang to Jakarta where his father was involved with the Consultative Council of Indonesian Muslims (Masyumi), an organization established by the Imperial Japanese Army which occupied Indonesia at the time. After the Indonesian Declaration of Independence on 17 August 1945, Wahid moved back to Jombang and remained there during the fight for independence from the Netherlands during the Indonesian National Revolution. At the end of the war in 1949, Wahid moved to Jakarta as his father had received appointment as Minister of Religious Affairs. Wahid went about his education in Jakarta, going to KRIS Primary School before moving to Matraman Perwari Primary School. Wahid was also encouraged to read non-Muslim books, magazines, and newspapers by his father to further broaden his horizons. Wahid stayed in Jakarta with his family even after his father's removal as Minister of Religious Affairs in 1952. In April 1953, Wahid's father died after being involved in a car crash.
In 1954, Wahid began Junior High School. That year, he failed to graduate to the next year and was forced to repeat. His mother then made the decision to send Wahid to Yogyakarta to continue his education. In 1957, after graduating from Junior High School, Wahid moved to Magelang to begin Muslim Education at Pesantren (Muslim School) Tegalrejo. He completed the pesantren's course in two years instead of the usual four. In 1959, Wahid moved back to Jombang to Pesantren Tambakberas. There, while continuing his own education, Wahid also received his first job as a teacher and later on as headmaster of a madrasah affiliated with the Pesantren. Wahid also found employment as a journalist for magazines such as Horizon and Majalah Budaya Jaya.
In March 2000, Wahid's Government began to open negotiations with the Free Aceh Movement (GAM). Two months later, in May, the Government signed a memorandum of understanding with GAM to last until the beginning of 2001, by which time both signatories would have breached the agreement.