Amir Hamzah (Poet) – Overview, Biography

Name:Amir Hamzah
Occupation: Poet
Birth Day: February 28,
Death Date:Mar 20, 1946 (age 35)
Age: Aged 35
Country: Indonesia
Zodiac Sign:Pisces

Amir Hamzah

Amir Hamzah was born on February 28, 1911 in Indonesia (35 years old). Amir Hamzah is a Poet, zodiac sign: Pisces. Nationality: Indonesia. Approx. Net Worth: Undisclosed.


He was killed in an Indonesian Communist revolution in 1946 and, three decades later, was named a National Hero of Indonesia.

Net Worth 2020

Find out more about Amir Hamzah net worth here.

Does Amir Hamzah Dead or Alive?

As per our current Database, Amir Hamzah died on Mar 20, 1946 (age 35).


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Before Fame

He became involved in a nationalist political movement during his high school years in Surakarta. During this period, he also fell in love with Ilik Sundari, who would become his poetic muse.


Biography Timeline


Amir was born as Tengkoe Amir Hamzah Pangeran Indra Poetera in Tanjung Pura, Langkat, North Sumatra, the youngest son of Vice Sultan Tengku Muhammad Adil and his third wife Tengku Mahjiwa. Through his father, he was related to the Sultan of Langkat, Machmud. Sources disagree over his date of birth. The date officially recognised by the Indonesian government is 28 February 1911, a date Amir used throughout his life. However, his elder brother Abdullah Hod states that the poet was born on 11 February 1911. Amir later took the name of his grandfather, Teungku Hamzah, as a second name; thus, he was referred to as Amir Hamzah. Though a child of nobility, he would often associate with non-nobles.


It is known that Amir was schooled in Islamic principles such as Qu’ran reading, fiqh, and tawhid, and studied at the Azizi Mosque in Tanjung Pura from a young age. He remained a devout Muslim throughout his life. Sources disagree on the period in which he completed his formal studies. Several sources, including the Indonesian government’s Language Centre, state that he started school in 1916, while the biographer M. Lah Husny puts the future poet’s first year of formal schooling as 1918. At the Dutch-language elementary school where Amir first studied, he began writing and received good marks; in her biography of him, Nh. Dini writes that Amir was nicknamed “older brother” (abang) by his classmates as he was much taller than them.


In 1924 or 1925, Amir graduated from the school in Langkat and moved to Medan to study at the Meer Uitgebreid Lager Onderwijs (MULO; middle school) there. After completing his studies some two years later, he entered a formal relationship with his cousin from his mother’s side, Aja (also Aje) Bun. Husny writes that the two were arranged to be married by their parents, while Dini casts the relationship as a vow to be always faithful. As his parents permitted him to finish his studies in Java, Amir moved to the colonial capital at Batavia (now Jakarta) to complete his studies.


In Surakarta Amir joined the nationalist movement. He would meet with fellow Sumatrans and discuss the social plight of the Malay archipelago’s populace under Dutch colonial rule. Though most educated youth at the time preferred using Dutch, he insisted on speaking Malay. In 1930 Amir became head of the Surakartan branch of the Indonesia Muda (Young Indonesians), delivering a speech at the 1930 Youth Congress and serving as an editor of the organisation’s magazine Garuda Merapi. At school he also met Ilik Sundari, a Javanese woman nearly his age with whom he fell in love. Sundari, the daughter of Raden Mas Kusumodihardjo, was one of the few female students at the school, and her home was near one of those in which Amir boarded. According to Dini, the two grew closer, Amir teaching Sundari Arabic and Sundari teaching him Javanese. They were soon meeting every day, conversing on a variety of topics.


Amir’s mother died in 1931, and his father the year after, meaning that his education could no longer be funded. After his AMS studies concluded, he wanted to continue to study at a law school in Batavia. As such, he wrote to his brother, Jakfar, who arranged for the remainder of his studies to be paid for by the Sultan. In 1932 Amir was able to return to Batavia and begin his legal studies, taking up a part-time job as a teacher. At first, his relationship with Sundari was continued through letters, though she soon continued her studies in Lembang, a city much closer than Surakarta; this allowed the two to meet furtively – when Sundari’s parents had discovered their relationship, Amir and Sundari had been forbidden from meeting.


This year Amir’s first two poems, “Sunyi” (“Silent”) and “Mabuk…” (“Nauseous…”), were published in the March edition of the magazine Timboel. His other eight works published in 1932 included a syair based on the Hikayat Hang Tuah, three other poems, two pieces of lyrical prose, and two short stories; the poems were again published in Timboel, while the prose was included in the magazine Pandji Poestaka. Around September 1932 Armijn Pane, upon the urgings of Sutan Takdir Alisjahbana, editor of “Memadjoekan Sastera” (“Advancing Literature”, the literary section of Pandji Poestaka), invited Amir to help them establish an independent literary magazine. Amir accepted, and was tasked with writing letters to solicit submissions; a total of fifty letters were sent to noted writers, including forty sent to contributors to “Memadjoekan Sastera”. After several months of preparations, the initial edition was published in July 1933, under the title Poedjangga Baroe. The new magazine was left under the editorial control of Armijn and Alisjahbana, while Amir published almost all of his subsequent writings there.


The Dutch, concerned about Amir’s nationalistic tendencies, convinced the Sultan to send him back to Langkat, an order which the fledgling poet was unable to refuse. In 1937, Amir, together with two of the Sultan’s vassals tasked with escorting him, boarded the Opten Noort from Tanjung Priok and returned to Sumatra. Upon arriving in Langkat, he was informed that he was to be married to the Sultan’s eldest daughter, Tengku Puteri Kamiliah, a woman he had barely met. Before the wedding Amir returned to Batavia to face his final exam – and have one last meeting with Sundari. Several weeks later he returned to Langkat, where he and Kamiliah were married in an extravagant ceremony. His cousin, Tengku Burhan, later stated that Amir’s indifference throughout the seven-day event was due to his thinking of Sundari.


Nyanyi Sunyi, Amir’s first poetry collection, was published in the November 1937 issue of Poedjangga Baroe, then as a stand-alone book by Poestaka Rakjat in 1938. It consists of twenty-four titled pieces and an untitled quatrain, including Hamzah’s best-known poem, “Padamu Jua”. Jassin classifies eight of these works as lyrical prose, with the remaining thirteen as regular poems. Although it is his first published collection, based on the well-developed nature of the poems within, general consensus is that the works in Buah Rindu were written earlier. The poet Laurens Koster Bohang considers the poems included in Nyanyi Sunyi as having been written between 1933 and 1937, while Teeuw dates the poems to 1936 and 1937.


Now a prince (pangeran), Amir was given the title Tengku Pangeran Indra Putera. He lived with Kamiliah in their own home. By all accounts, she was a devout and loving wife, and in 1939 the couple had their only child, a daughter named Tengku Tahura. According to Dini, Amir professed to Kamiliah that he could never love her as he had Sundari and that he felt obligated to marry her, something which Kamiliah reportedly accepted. The poet retained an album with his Javanese sweetheart’s photographs at home and would often isolate himself from his family, lost in thought. As a prince of Langkat, Amir became a court official, handling administrative and legal matters, and at times judging criminal cases. He once represented the sultanate at the funeral of Pakubuwono X in Java – Amir’s last trip to the island.

Although Amir had little correspondence with his friends in Java, his poems – most of which had been written in Java – continued to be published in Poedjangga Baroe. His first poetry collection, Nyanyi Sunyi (Songs of Silence), was published in the magazine’s November 1937 edition. Nearly two years later, in June 1939, the magazine published a collection of poems Amir had translated, entitled Setanggi Timur (Incense from the East). In June 1941 his last collection, Buah Rindu (Fruits of Longing), was published. All were later republished as stand-alone books. A last book, Sastera Melayu Lama dan Raja-Rajanya (Old Malay Literature and its Kings), was published in Medan in 1942; this was based on a radio speech Amir had delivered.


After the German invasion of the Netherlands in 1940, the government of the Indies began preparing for a possible Japanese invasion. In Langkat, a Home Guard, or Stadswacht, division was established to defend Tanjung Pura, in Langkat. Amir and his cousin Tengku Harun were in charge; the nobility, trusted by the general populace, was selected to ensure easier recruitment of commoners. When the invasion became a reality in early 1942, Amir was one of the soldiers sent to Medan to defend it. He and the other Dutch-allied forces were quickly captured by the Japanese. He was held as a prisoner of war until 1943, when influence from the Sultan allowed him to be released. Throughout the remainder of the occupation, which lasted until 1945, Amir was employed as a radio commentator and censor in Medan. In his position as prince, he was tasked with helping to collect rice to feed the Japanese occupation army.


After Indonesia proclaimed its independence on 17 August 1945, the entirety of Sumatra was declared a de facto part of the country. The central government established Teuku Muhammad Hasan as the island’s first governor, and on 29 October 1945 Hasan selected Amir as the government representative in Langkat (later equated to regent), with his office at Binjai. Amir accepted the position readily, subsequently handling numerous tasks set by the central government, including inaugurating the first local division of the People’s Safety Army (Tentara Keamanan Rakjat; the predecessor to the Indonesian Army) opening meetings of various local branches of national political parties, and promoting education – particularly Latin-alphabet literacy.


The ongoing Indonesian National Revolution, with various battles in Java, meant that the newly established republic was unstable. In early 1946, rumours spread in Langkat that Amir had been seen dining with representatives of the returning Dutch government, and there was growing unrest within the general populace. On 7 March 1946, during a socialist revolution led by factions of the Communist Party of Indonesia, a group staunchly against feudalism and the nobility, Amir’s power was stripped from him and he was arrested; Kamiliah and Tahura escaped. Together with other members of the Langkat nobility, he was sent to a Communist-held plantation at Kuala Begumit, some 10 kilometres (6 mi) outside of Binjai. Later testimony suggests that the detainees were tried by their captors, forced to dig holes, and tortured.


On the morning of 20 March 1946, Amir was killed with 26 other people and buried in a mass grave which the detainees had dug; several of his siblings were also killed in the revolution. After it was quashed by nationalist forces, the revolution’s leaders were questioned by a team led by Amir Sjarifuddin and Adnan Kapau Gani: they are reported to have repeatedly asked “Where is Amir Hamzah?” during the investigation. In 1948 the grave at Kuala Begumit was dug up and the remains identified by family members; Amir’s bones were identified owing to a missing false tooth. In November 1949 his body was reinterred at the Azizi Mosque in Tanjung Pura, Langkat.


Amir has received extensive recognition from the Indonesian government, beginning with recognition from the government of North Sumatra soon after his death. In 1969 he was granted both a Satya Lencana Kebudayaan (Satya Lencana Award for Culture) and Piagam Anugerah Seni (Art Prize). In 1975 he was declared a National Hero of Indonesia. A park named after him, Taman Amir Hamzah, is found in Jakarta near the National Monument. A mosque in Taman Ismail Marzuki, opened to the public in 1977, is also named after him. Several streets are named after Amir, including in Medan, Mataram, and Surabaya.

🎂 Upcoming Birthday

Currently, Amir Hamzah is 111 years, 9 months and 7 days old. Amir Hamzah will celebrate 112th birthday on a Tuesday 28th of February 2023.

Find out about Amir Hamzah birthday activities in timeline view here.

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