Dr. Anak Agung Made Djelantik passed away on the 4th September, 2007, in Denpasar, Bali at a hospital he helped to found, following a long illness. His death is mourned throughout the island of Bali and around the world as he was a beloved figure over generations.
A son of the last King of Karangasem, and born in 1919, he was the first of the Balinese Princes to leave the privileges of a royal life to study abroad, in Holland, where, during WWII, he gained his degrees in medicine at Amsterdam University. By the end of WW II, he had fallen in love with a brilliant Dutch girl, Astri Henriete Zwart, and they married in Holland.
Dr Djelantik and Astrid traveled to many countries to suppress malaria and other infectious diseases, becoming the World Health Organization's malaria expert. During the course of their married life, which ended with the death of Astrid in 1997, the couple raised 5 children who survive together with 13 grand children.
On his return to Bali, in 1980, he continued his medical practice and involved himself in many community projects: a public library in Renon; support for performing arts; co-founded the Indonesian Dance Academy in Denpasar and wrote several books. His published works include: Balinese Paintings (Estetika); and two autobiographies Memoirs of a Balinese Prince (Periplus), and Against All Odds (Saritaksu) - illustrated with his own paintings.
Dr. Djelantik was the Director of the Sanglah General Hospital from 1961-1968; founding Dean of the Udayana University Medical School from 1962-1965; Head of the Bali Health Department from 1958-1968 and a lecturer at Indonesian Arts Institute (ASTI) from 1966-1968. Working with the World Health Organization, he served in a variety of overseas posts from the late 1960s until his retirement in 1980.
On August 15, 2006, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono bestowed a gold star with the Bintang Budaya Pramana Award - the highest honor for contributions to art and culture from the Republic of Indonesia.
In a country known for its non-confrontasi, Dr. Djelantik fought the abasement of Balinese religion and tradition engendered by touristic stereotypes, winning the status of elder statesman for his televised denouncement of the sham Balinese wedding ceremony of Mick and Bianca Jaggar.
In a lifetime spanning 88 years, I Made Djelantik saw his country jump from that of an isolated medieval culture to that of the 21st century of the World Wide Web. He quietly absorbed such tremendous changes without damage to his central vision.
Dr Djelantik combined a luminous innocence that informed a profound wisdom, and his dedication and capacity for healing was remarkable.
On Thursday, September 13, 2007, the remains of Dr. Djelantik were cremated in a makingsan di gni ceremony at a cemetery in Amlapura attended by family and 11 Balinese priests.
Requiescat In Pace - Dr. Anak Agung Made Djelantik, 1919-2007
Balidiscovery.com thanks James Murdoch, an author and long-time resident of Bali, for contributing to this article.
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