Muhammad Anda Zara - Spying on God’s Guests: The Netherlands Indies Hajj Passport and State’s Surveillance, 1900-1940s


This study attempts to analyze the reason and way the colonial state controled its society through an identification document: the passport. The Hajj or pilgrimage to Mecca in the Arabian Peninsula is one of the most important rituals for every Moslem. During the nineteenth and twentieth century, Indonesian pilgrims were always in the majority compared to other foreign pilgrims. In order to control the pilgrims, the Netherlands Indies government used certain regulations, including the obligation for every Indies pilgrim to have a hajj passport. With this identification document the state was able to number, catalogue and categorize each passport holder and thus the government obtained detailed personal data of each pilgrim. As a consequence, the passport provided the state with an instrument that could trace, verify and supervise its citizens. In terms of a written documentation system imposed by the state, the passport was significantly connected to administrative works, the colonial state’s perception towards its society, and technological changes in the colony. Moreover, since having a passport revealed that the holder was abroad, the hajj passport strongly related to historical developments which occurred in the international world, especially the events which influenced the Middle East. This study focuses on the reason why each pilgrim was required to own a passport, the organization of the passport system, the social changes reflected by the passport, and the use of the hajj passport from 1900 until the end of colonial rule (1940s).

Anda has graduated for his MA degree in 2010.

PhD project

Indonesia's Political Propaganda and the Struggle for Independence, 1945-1949

This study deeply examines the use of political propaganda by the Indonesians during the Indonesian war of independence, or often called Indonesian Revolution, that took place between 1945-1949. One of the most significant aims of the Indonesians in the Revolution was to politically liberate Indonesia from foreign power, though the Revolution was still perceived by them after independence was obtained. The arrival of British soldiers, who wanted to guard the disarmament of Japanese troops in Indonesia after the Japanese surrendered in 1945, along with the Dutch military, which intended to reclaim Indonesia, stimulated heavy armed opposition from the Indonesians. Along with security measures, diplomatic initiatives were also conducted to settle the conflict. Historiographically speaking, armed struggle and diplomatic measures are two key themes in most studies with regard to the Indonesian independence. Communication aspects, particularly the Indonesian political propaganda against the coming of the Dutch, are less studied because it is perceived rather as a result of Japanese propaganda during their occupation than as an Indonesian initiative. This research aims to reveal the importance of political propaganda conducted by the Indonesians and its influence in mobilizing people and shaping public opinion on the Indonesian Revolution. The utilization of propaganda during the Revolution is strongly related to its genesis in the pre-Revolution era, its changes during the Revolution, and its contribution. This research presents an in-depth study on key issues in propaganda, namely key figures, institutions, media, contents, techniques, reception, and if present, political dissent.

Anda has started his PhD research in 2010 at the Netherlands Institute of War Documentation (NIOD).

Last Modified: 15-02-2012