Anti-Colonial Guerilla Fighter
Hijri 1264-1326 (AH); Common Era 1848-1908 (CE)
Born in 1848, Tjut Njak Dien played an integral role in Indonesian resistance to Dutch imperial forces in the late 19th and early 20th century. When the Dutch invaded Aceh, a northern province in Indonesia, Dien followed her father and husband and re-emerged ten years later as a guerilla commander. Pretending to surrender to Dutch army forces, Dien and her husband joined a Dutch army unit; eventually the two were able to replace as many of the Dutchmen in their unit as they could with Acehnese fighters from their old guerilla units. Observing and learning some of the Dutch’s military strategy, Dien and her husband set up the Dutch army for an "attack" on the Acehnese, for which of course the Acehnese were prepared. Dien continued to lead Acehnese warriors, battle after battle. Many years after her first husband passed away, Dien married another warrior and gave birth to a girl. After the death of her second husband and daughter, Dien continued to fight against the Dutch until she was taken as a political prisoner in the early 1900s. Dien was banished to Sumendang, a town in West Java, Indonesia. As the only female political prisoner, she became well respected as a scholar of the Qur’an and when she passed in 1908 she was known as Ibu Perbu, Queen of Jihad. In 1964 President Sukarno of Indonesia declared Tjut Njak Dien a national heroine. Today, many Acehnese people visit her tomb in Sumendang.