During the Dutch reign over education was a luxury that only Indonesia was made available for children and families of colonial officials. The few Indonesians who were allowed at these schools, came from very wealthy or influential families. Ki Hajar Dewantara was one of them, from the kraton of Yogyakarta. Later in life he did away from his royal title (Raden Mas) and he changed his name to Ki Hajar Dewantara, in order to be able to mix more freely with local people.
Ki Hajar Dewantara was very well known for his criticism of the Dutch colonial regime. His works often went on the exploitation of natural resources and human capital and on inequality and discrimination.
In december 1912 , he founded the Partai Indonesia together with Ernest Douwes Dekker, who later called themselves Setiaboedi and Tjipto Mangoenkoesoemo , (1886-1943). Purpose of this party was to seek full independence from Indonesia.
On 20 July 1913 he published "as I once was Dutchman ', a violent protest against the plans of the Dutch colonial Government to Dutch 100-year-old to celebrate independence from France and all the 'natives' to contribute to this celebration. His writings, which was very sarcastic in tone, was published in the newspaper "the Express" by Ernest Douwes Dekker. In addition, the translated text drawn up in the Dutch Ki Hajar Dewantara in Malay and he spread that translation as widely as possible among Indonesians. The colonial Government responded by Ki Hajar Dewantoro to exiled to the Banda Islands, without him first to justice.Tjipto Mangunkusumo Douwes Dekker and tried to fight this decision but also they were exiled to the Banda Islands on charges of ' provocation and manipulation of Indonesians to fight against the Dutch colonials '.
The colonial Government came in response to their request for their ' punishment ' in Netherlands. There was dr Tjipto fell ill and he returned to Indonesia. Ki Hajar Dewantara studied intensively in education and education; among other things, the educational theories of Maria Montessori and Rabindranath Tagore. In 1918 he came back to Indonesia and on 3 July 1922 he founded, despite political constraints, Taman Siswaon, an organization to promote national education. Taman Siswa (' Garden of pupils ') focused primarily on nationalism and the struggle for independence from Indonesia. Despite opposition from the colonial Government became in Taman Siswa schools opened 8 years 40, including 3 in EasternSumatra and 4 in East and SouthKalimantan, with a total of 5140 pupils. In the late 1930s there were 207 Taman Siswaschools. All teaching and the Institute governing went Ki Hajar Dewantara by producing writings, where he gradually switched to education of political themes.
During the Japanese occupation of the Dutch East Indies were Japanese in favour of education and nationalism for the Indonesians. Taman Siswa continued his work. When Indonesia finally obtained its independence in 1949, Ki Hajar Dewantara was appointed Minister of education and culture.
Ki Hajar Dewantara has been named national hero by the Indonesian Government. Since then, may 2, Indonesia's ' national day of Education '.