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Marga

On 20 November 1946, Lt. Col. I Gusti Ngurah Rai, a commander of nationalist troops in Bali, and his company of guerrilla fighters were killed in the Battle of Marga. Surrounded by a numerically superior Dutch force, and under bombardment from the air, the small band, only 94 men in all, refused to surrender; they attacked the enemy positions and died to the last man-a puputan reminiscent of the royal puputans carried out forty years earlier also against the Dutch.

At Marga there stands a monument honoring these soldiers, inscribed with a famous letter written by Ngurah Rai refusing surrender until the cause was won. Stone medallions symbolize Panca Sila, the five principles of the Indonesian state: the star for belief in God, a linked chain for democracy, a bull for nationalism, a Banyan tree for humanity, and rice and cotton grains for social justice. A Hero's Day is held on the anniversary of Ngurah Rai's death and the Bali international Airport is named in his honor.

 

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