HS Dillon: Indonesia loses most prominent Sikh son

Harbrinderjit had served in several senior government positions, especially in the area of agriculture and poverty alleviation. He has also been a figure of terror, primarily for the corrupt.

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Harbrinderjit Singh Dillon lends his support to event – Photo: The @america Centre
By Asia Samachar Team | INDONESIA |

Indonesia loss its most prominent Sikh son with the passing on of Harbrinderjit Singh Dillon yesterday.

Known widely as Pak H.S. Dillon, Harbrinderjit is easily one of the most well-known Indonesian Sikhs who has held important positions in Indonesian government and civil society.

His remains were cremated in Bali today (17 Sept 2019) and followed by a military state ceremony. He was 75. His death was widely reported in the Indonesia media.

He leaves behind wife Dr Drupadi Harnopidjati and three children Haryasetyaka Singh Dillon, Mahawira Singh Dillon, dan Mahareksha Singh Dillon.

In 2015, Harbrinderjit was bestowed the Bintang Mahaputra (Star of Mahaputra), the second highest decoration awarded by the Indonesian government. Indonesian President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo presented the award at the State Palace in Jakarta as the nation celebrated its 70th Independence Day.

He had served in several senior government positions, especially in the area of agriculture and poverty alleviation.

In 2011, he was made the Special Envoy to the President of Indonesia for Poverty Alleviation under the administration of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. He was also a member of the National  Economic  Committee  (KEN) from 2010-2012.  He headed the Coordinating Agency for National Poverty Alleviation in 2001.

Harbrinderjit has been at the forefront of political activism for more than two decades. He is a voice for the peasants, a champion of human rights. He has also been a figure of terror, primarily for the corrupt. His words spare no one, according to an article in The Jakarta Post in 2005.

“My great grandfather was a farmer in Punjab, India, who migrated to Medan decades back. Plantation runners were much in demand by the Dutch in Indonesia then. But unlike in Malaysia, where the bulk of plantation workers were Indians deported by the British, here they were mostly locals,” he was qouted in the story entitled ‘HS Dhillon, a fearless campaigner’.

The Mahaputra award is akin to India’s Padma Bushan award. It entitles him to be cremated in Kalibata, the National Heroes Cemetery, akin to the US’ Arlington National Ceremetry.

Harbrinderjit was awarded a PhD in Agricultural Economics by the Cornell University, US, in 1983.

President Jokowi presenting the Mahaputra award to HS Dhillon. To Dillon’s left are Marshall (Rt) Putu Dunia and Admiral (Rt) Marsetio.

Abu Jenazah H.S Dillon Dimakamkan di TMP Tabanan Siang Ini

Reporter: Francisca Christy Rosan

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – Sebelum jenazah mendiang Harbrinderhit Singh Dillon atau H.S Dillon dikremasi, akan digelar upacara kenegaraan militer untuk mengenang jasa-jasa tokoh Indonesia yang aktif di bidang ekonomi, sosial, dan hak asasi manusia atau HAM itu. Anak kedua Dillon, Mahawira Singh Dillon, mengatakan upacara bakal digelar pada Selasa pagi, 17 September 2019, di Bali.

“Sekitar pukul 10.00 WITA akan ada upacara kenegaraan militer. Lalu estimasi waktu pukul 14.00 WITA, jenazah dikremasi,” ujar Mahawira saat dihubungi Tempo pada Selasa, 17 September 2019.

Mahawira mengatakan jenazah ayahnya bakal dikremasi di rumah kremasi Kertasamade di Mumbul Nusa Dua. Setelah dikremasi, abu jenazah bakal dimakamkan di Taman Makam Pahlawan Tabanan. “Di TMP Tabanan akan ada upacara kenegaraan militer lagi,” tuturnya.

Dillon wafat di usia 75 tahun setelah dirawat di Rumah Sakit Siloam Bali pada Senin petang, 16 September 2019, lantaran sakit. Ia sudah dirawat sejak 18 Agustus 2019 lalu.

Pengamat di bidang pertanian itu sebelumnya mengidap penyakit komplikasi jantung dan paru-paru. Ia meninggalkan seorang istri, Drupadi S. Harnopidjati, dan tiga anak. Ketiganya adalah Haryasetyaka Singh Dillon, Mahawira Singh Dillon, dan Mahareksha Singh Dillon. Dillon juga meninggalkan seorang menantu dan dua cucu.

Dillon ialah tokoh yang kesohor sebagai anggota Komisi Nasional Hak Asasi Manusia atau Komnas HAM. Ia bergabung dengan komisi tersebut saat reformasi 1998.

Pria kelahiran Medan, 23 April 1945 ini memulai kariernya di bidang pertanian. Ia pernah menjadi ketua tim teknis untuk proyek perkebunan berbantuan yang digelar oleh Direktorat Jenderal Departemen Perkebunan pada 1983 sampai 1985.

Karier H.S Dillon di Departemen Pertanian cemerlang sejak ia ditunjuk menjadi Kepala Bagian Pengkajian Komoditas Biro Kerja Sama Luar Negeri pada 1985. Sembilan tahun selepas itu, ia menjadi tim konsolidasi untuk Kantor Pemasaran Bersama alias KPB di PT Perkebunan Departemen Pertanian.

Menjelang Orde Baru lengser, H.S Dillon ditunjuk sebagai Direktur Eksektutif Centre for Agricultural Policy Studies alias CAPS. Pasca-reformasi, selain menjadi pegiat HAM, Dillan bergabung dengan Dewan Ekonomi Nasional. Ia pun pernah menjadi Tim Gabungan Pemberantasan Tindak Pidana Korupsi pada 2000 hingga 2001.

Pada era pemerintahan Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, H.S Dillon didapuk sebagai utusan presiden khusus bidang penanggulangan kemiskinan. Ia menjadi utusan pada 2011 sampai 2014. – Tempo, 17 Sept 2019

 

 

RELATED STORIES:

HS Dhillon gets Indonesia’s Mahaputra star (Asia Samachar, 30 Aug 2015)

Indonesian Sikh youth team up with American Sikh diplomat to introduce Sikhism to local students (Asia Samachar, 23 June 2019)

Balwant Singh Rahal: Indonesia loses an illustrious Sikh activist (Asia Samachar, 6 May 2019)

ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs / Punjabis in Southeast Asia and beyond. Facebook | WhatsApp +6017-335-1399 | Email: editor@asiasamachar.com | Twitter | Instagram | Obituary announcements, click here 

2 COMMENTS

  1. Only in February this year, I had the honour of meeting and spending some time with two of the most prominent Sikh personalities of Indonesia. Both have since passed on.
    One was S. Balwant Singh Rahal who hosted me and the other was this amazing Pak HS Dillon.
    I was able to spend prime time with both as I was part of an Australian inter-faith group attending a seminar on the inter-religious dynamics of both countries.
    Both S. Rahal and Pak Dillon played a key role in the minority religions organisation in Indonesia.
    Our attendance and interaction with various inter religious groups and intra-religuous Islamic groups was an eye opener to our delegates of the Australian contingent.
    Pak Dillon was a gracious host to other delegates while S. Rahal hosted me personally.
    We also visited various gurdwaras in Jakarta and the honour and respect accorded Pak Dillon was noteworthy.
    From my observations, I am not able to compare any other Sikh personality in any other country who comes close to the position that Pak Dillon had in Indonesia. Yes, we have Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Ji in India and we have Lord Indarjeet Singh Ji in UK. But Pak Dillon was different. He had a direct line to all Indonesian Presidents in the last two decades and he was on Parliamentary consultative committees on various issues like agriculture, elimination of poverty and even fiscal policies. Yet he was not an elected politician nor in any way involved in the politics of Indonesia. Presidents even used to consult him on political issues. This position in contrast to the fact that he was a turbaned, bearded Sikh amongst approximately 10,000 Sikhs in a population of about 360 million with almost a 90 percent Islamic majority!
    He will be greatly missed, not only by Indonesian Sikhs but by Indonesia.

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