Supratman, son of an Indonesian colonial army instructor, was born on 9 th May , 1903. He had five sisters and no brother. When his father was retired from the army, the family moved to Cimahi. At the age of seven his father sent him to “Budi Utomo” elementary school, where he proved to be one of the bright pupils. In 1912, his mother died. Two years afterwards, he joined his eldest sister in Ujung Pandang. His sister added “Wage Rudolf” to his name so it became Wage Rudolf Supratman. She did this to enable her to send him to the Dutch Elementary school (HIS). He joined in the second year.
Completing his elementary school, he continued his study at teacher’s training school. He graduated in 1920 and became teacher. In 1923, the government appointed him to teach at Singkang, another town at South Sulawesi, but his sister objected. At last he resigned. He worked in a lawyer’s office for a year, and then he went to Bandung and worked as a journalist. One year later, he moved to Jakarta and worked for “Sin Po” newspaper. He married Mujenah in 1926 but he had no children. After ten years of marriage, they divorced.
The birth of “Indonesia Raya” was closely related to the awakening of Indonesia’s nationalist and political movement. The song was first introduced by W. R Supratman at Indonesia youth congress held on 28 th October, 1928 in Jakarta. When Indonesia’s youth from different ethnic, linguistic, cultural and religious background adopted the now famous pledge of the Indonesia’s youth. In this state that belongs to one nation, the Indonesian nation, have one fatherland, Indonesia and acknowledge one language, the Bahasa Indonesia.
The pledge was later recognized as the youth pledge which is now commemorated every year. The song stressed the call for unity among Indonesians and it soon gained its popularity. The song was the sung at Indonesian political rallies where the participants stood up in solemn respect. It had really implanted a nation consciousness among the population through the archipelago.