Lasminingrat: A Journey Through Sundanese Wisdom and Scholarship

OV Digital Desk

Image Courtesy: Google Doodle

Lasminingrat (29 March 1854 – 10 April 1948) was a Sundanese author and scholar. She founded  Sekolaha Keutamaan Istri (Women’s Proficiency School) in 1907.

Life and Career

Lasminingrat was born on 29 March 1854 in Garut, Indonesia to Raden Ayu Ria and Raden Haji Muhamad Musa, a pioneer of Sundanese printed literature and scholar.  For the purpose of pursuing her education in Sumedang, she was separated from her family and placed in the care of Levyson Norman, a friend of her father. As a result of his efforts, Lasminingrat became the first Indonesian woman to be fluent in both writing and reading Dutch during her lifetime. Lasminigrat aspired to advance equality for all Indonesian women after becoming proficient in Dutch.

Lasminingrat adapted European fairy tales into Sundanese using her literacy skills. As a result of her father’s guidance, she began educating Indonesian children in 1879. As well as reading adapted books aloud, she taught basic moral education and psychology. In addition to providing schooling to native Indonesian children, she also exposed them to international cultures. She continued to translate books into Sundanese, including Warnasari volumes 1 and 2, which were widely celebrated throughout Indonesia.

In 1907, Lasminingrat established the Sekolaha Keutamaan Istri. Women’s empowerment, reading, and writing were promoted in the open environment and learning area. The school grew to 200 students and five classes by 1911 and was recognized by the Dutch East Indies government. As the school grew over time, it expanded to other cities such as Wetan Garut, Cikajang, and Bayongbong by 1934.

She died on 10 April 1948 in Garut, Indonesia.

Award and Legacy

She contributed immensely to Sudanese literature and, with the help of her literary achievement, to society at large. She also worked on woman’s emancipation and women’s empowerment. Her school expanded across Indonesia. she earned the nickname as ‘Indonesia’s First Literacy Mother’.  The government has proposed the name RA Lasminingrat as a National Hero of Indonesia. The latest news, is that attribution has not been recognized nationally. Even so, the people of Garut have regarded this great woman as an intellectual hero.

In order to celebrate her societal contributions, Google celebrated Lasminingrat’s 169th Birthday with a doodle.