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.
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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