Agus Salim was born in West Sumatra Indonesia on October 8th 1884 with his surename, Musyudul Haq. Actually, Agus is his dearly nickname. His father is Sutan Muhammad Salim and his mother Siti Zaenab. His father was a prosecutor in Riau High Court, and is a respected position for local resident of the time. Upon this references he was enlisted in Dutch Elementary School, Europeese Lagere School (ELS), which was provided for European only.
Graduated from ELS in 1897, then he pursued school to Batavia (Modern day Jakarta) to Hogere Burger School (HBS), which was also for European. At the time, it was an unusual to see a local boy sent to European School, which was found only in three cities of Batavia, Bandung, and Surabaya.
Even since he was in ELS, Agus Salim had already made his excellency, and then earn his highest rank of HBS nationalwide, just when he was 19 years old. Obviously, a towering pride for his nation fellows had made out over imperialist’s masters.
His story of attainment had buzzed to R.A. Kartini who was then gave full support and encouragement to his plan of continuing study to Netherland, which then suspended for other reason. He had actually interested to join medical faculty, but had no enough money to go.
Stuck in the situation, he happened to requested scholarships from Dutch government, which was refused for a discriminational reason. He was told they should be European to earn government scholarship.
Gave up of rejected, he decided not to continue his education and got an offered to work as Netherland’s consulate for Saudia Arabian office in Jeddah. He was 22 years old at that time, but actually reluctant to be Netherland’s dragoman (translation advicer), because of his wrecked dream. His acceptance decision was made up because of his family encouragement –they witness Agus Salim’s religiousity had been eroded after joined into Netherland Schooled, then expected him to absorbed religious science from his uncle, Syaikh Ahmad Khatib who was settled in Mecca since 1876, as an Imam and honoured lecturer of Harramain Massajidal University.
While working as Netherland consulate of Jedda in 1906-1911, Agus Salim learns a lot on Islamic knowledges. His intelligence capability let him absorbed anything over Islamic Sciences and Knowledges. So in that short period of 1906-1911, his Islamic knowledge was so excellent.
During that time, he was also studied over languages of Dutch, English, Germany, French, Arabic, Turky, and Japanese.
Career and National Revolution
In 1915, he began to stepped into nation movement of Islamic Syarikat under HOS Cokroaminoto leadership. Both of them and other friends were then work hard together to paving better future for Indonesian people.
Under Islamic Syarikat, Agus Salim began his political, religious, and intellectual career. Just in short period he had been a man whose Cokroaminoto can rely on. It was not long to brought him to be a Volkstraad member in 1922-1925 as Cokroaminoto’s replacement.
Once before joint to Volkstraad, he also had been in Batavia Public Works Ministry. Later he went home to his hometown of Kota Gadang and open a public school Hollandsch Inlandsche School (HIS). Three years later, he moved to Jakarta and works for Translateur Ladische Drukkery. He also worked as Editor in Chief for Neradja Newspaper in 1917, and then as Chief Editor for Commissie Voor de Volkslectuur, a publisher which then change its name to Balai Pustaka. Then in 1917-1919, Agus Salim became director of Bataviaasch Nieuwsblad, a Netherland’s newspaper.
In political career, Agus Salim attained good positions in sequences as a High Court member, then as Foreign Minister for Syahrir’s 2nd and 3rd Administration during 1946-1947. He also had been trusted to be Foreign Minister for Amir Syarifuddin administration in 1947. During Mohammad Hatta 1st and 2nd administration in 1948-1949, he’d been a Foreign Minister.
In intellectual affair, he had been an honoured lecturer of Cornell university in 1953, subjecting on Destiny of Indonesian Islamic Movement.
Agus Salim was also a productive translator and author whose at least had released 35 works during his life, those works had bundled as One Hundred Years Memorial of Haji Agus Salim. He also works on history and literatures.
Winning three Anumerta Prizes
During his life, he won three Anumerta Prizes (Lifetime Devotion Prizes), those are: (1) Bintang Mahaputera Tingkat I [Toppest Grade Lifetime Devotion Prize] in August 17th 1960, (2) Satyalencana Peringatan Perjuangan Kemerdekaan [Devotion Brooch of Freedom] in May 20th 1961, and (3) he had anointed by Presidency Annotation no. 657 of 1961 as National Freedom Hero.
He happenly celebrates his 70th birthday on October 8th 1954, then twenty seven days later he passed a way, in November 4th 1954. He buried in National Heroes Memorial Park, Kalibata, Jakarta. He has ten children from marriage with Zainatun Nahar al-Mashir, two of which were dead while kid, and another one was martyr in the war of national freedom.