MH Thamrin’s national movement through football

MH Thamrin and national movement
MH Thamrin and national movement figures who were united in the love of football. (Source: Afif)

Jakarta, IO – All eyes are on the Qatar 2022 World Cup. This quadrennial sporting event is a momentum for anyone to support their favorite national team. Indonesian citizens are no exception. Viewing gatherings (nobar) were held in many places even though Indonesia’s national team is not playing.

But not many people know that Indonesia’s national movement figures were also soccer mania. One of them is Mohammad Hoesni (MH) Thamrin, born on February 16, 1894.

According to Historia, historian JJ Rizal said there was a unique chapter in the nation’s history where politics and football were once closely linked. The sport was being used to foster national identity and provide opportunities for the people to improve their welfare.

“Thamrin is unpredictable. His political activities cover a broad spectrum,” said JJ Rizal. He was engaged in the political field through Gemeenteraad (City Council), Volksraad (People’s Council), Kaoem Betawi, and the Great Indonesia Party (Parindra). Not only a fan, he was also a player himself.

“In fact, many of Indonesia’s founding fathers including Mohammad Hatta, Sjahrir and Tan Malaka were also soccer mania,” added Rizal. What makes Thamrin different was his view of football and his direct involvement with the sport. He viewed football as a means of struggle and a medium to instill a sense of nationalism within the people.