|Agricultural Expansion and Pioneer Settlements in the Humid Tropics (UNU, 1988, 305 pages)|
|11. Ex-military settlements in Indonesia and the emergence of social differentiation in frontier areas|
Early settlement pattern
The Sapta Marga concept applied
Sediono M. P. Tjondronegoro
Forms of military settlement have not been widely described in Indonesia, but the phenomenon itself dates back from the early days of the Republic, shortly after the proclamation of its independence from the Dutch. A comprehensive account of transmigration in Indonesia such as that by Hardjono (1977) in a book published under the same title does not mention the existence of settlements inhabited by ax-military servicemen.
Its history, though shorter than that of general resettlement (more often referred to as transmigration), covers more than a quarter of a century. It does not comprise the placement of military units to establish a garrison, but, as we shall see later, the Sapta Marga village performs the function of both military control over an area and of economic development.
The integration of military units in rural villages had already begun in the days of guerilla warfare, when army personnel disguised as ordinary farmers lived among the rural population (Nasution 1974). After the period of "physical revolution" (1950), the return to normal civilian life brought about the first experiences in returning former fighting men to villages. The move was an effort to demobilize army contingents and return the men to their previous occupations, which, for most, was that of farmer.
In a later development, when dissident movements formed in opposition to the central and legal government (1950s-1960s), new forms of military settlements emerged and eventually, to re-establish control over regained territories, Sapta Marga villages were created; again, with the dual purpose of military supervision and farming.
Later, in the 1970s there was a return to more integrated settlements of military and civilian migrants in one village, although preference was shown for forming separate compounds within a settlement.