Prof. Ir.Hardjoso Projopangarso was born in Surakarta, May 9, 1923. As a child he studied at the RK Hollandsch Inlandsche School (HIS) Purbayan Surakarta and then continued his education to the Junior Secondary School RK Meer Uitgebreid Lager Onderwijs (MULO), Jakarta. After that, he attended the High School of Technology (SMT) and graduated in 1945. At that time, the situation does not allow states to continue their education so he decided to join the army to fought for the independence of Indonesia.
In 1946, Mr.Hardjoso registered as a student in Technical High School (STT) as he really wanted to continue his study. Not long after, the second Dutch military aggression to Indonesia occurred. It was started on 19 December 1948, with the capture of Sukarno (The President and Founding Father of Indonesia) and with the attack on Yogyakarta, the capital of Indonesia at that time. Mr. Hardjoso felt he is called again to fight to maintain the sovereignty of the Republic of Indonesia. He entered the Corps Student Company M. Seventeen Brigade. During the struggle, young Mr. Hardjoso fought around the city of Yogyakarta, directly involved in the raid and guerrilla warfare against the Dutch. Led by Soedirman, Indonesia reclaimed Yogyakarta in 10 July 1949 after 8 months of guerilla against the Dutch all over Central Java and Yogyakarta.
After the Dutch recognized the sovereignty of the Republic of Indonesia, Mr. Hardjoso continued his studies at the Faculty of Engineering Gadjah Mada University Yogyakarta (UGM). When UGM inaugurated by Sukarno in December 1949, he was the first to register as a student on UGM Civil Engineering Faculty . This can be seen from his students number, FT-001. He successfully completed his education in 1953. After that, he had worked at the Ministry of Health in Jakarta for five years. In 1958 he enlisted as a lecturer UGM. Then he began handing out his knowledge, either to the students and to society.
During pursue in civil engineering, Mr. Hardjoso created many innovations. Through his work, he is known as civil engineers lot of merit in the field of maintenance of national technology and ecology. He also frequently writes in various magazines. He even wants to bequeath his laboratory in the next generation. “If other professors left writings in book form, but I do not. I will only leave this hydro-lab as an example of traditional technology areas such as buildings technology”, said Mr. Hardjoso. From this laboratory has been born many monumental works, among others: Tripikon-S, Pinastik A, Nyi Bunga Sihir and Nalareksa. All technological invention relates to the installation of construction. Despite this, he never have the desire to patent his discovery. Instead, Mr. Hardjoso wanted his creation can be used by anyone. He wanted his creation could be useful for the Indonesian people, especially those under the poverty line. Not surprisingly, the creation of technology are very useful for small people. He deservedly received many awards. Unfortunately, he does not like to receive the award. With his dedication to the society, he refused to take the Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX Award (The Sultan of Yogyakarta) in 2006 which will be given to UGM.
“I made the right technology needed by the people and must arrive at the commoners. I do not want to be an Ivory Tower, but a person directly to the people. Construction technology that are used, building materials and also the tools must be simple, in accordance with the conditions of the existing human resources in the region,” said Mr. Hardjoso.
In 1980, Mr. Hardjoso decided to retire early. At that time his age was 56 years old. Yet according to the rules then he can still retire aged 70 tahun. For him personally, he’ll be able to help if he retire from Gadjah Mada sooner. If he’s not retired, he would have stuck. “This is special for my case, do not imitate me,” says the man who had driven out by his elementary school teacher because he could not understand the lesson. Now, in his activities, Mr. Hardjoso remained faithful to occupy wooden-walled hut as one of his private office. He is assisted by two loyal employees who take care of all interests. Almost all engineering students from various universities Indonesia came to visit to see the location of his Hydro Laboratory. Enjoying life, now aged 87 years, Mr. Hardjoso remain consistent with the principles of his life: always work for the welfare of the people. When asked the motto of his life, he answered clearly: “love of the homeland, populist, and build national unity has formed my personal character to always serve the people.”
taken from interviews of Gusti Grehenson
writing, translating and editing of Andreas Siagian