The combination of these two strategies caused widespread abuse of colonial power, especially on the islands of Java and Sumatra , resulting in abject poverty and widespread starvation of the farmers.
The colony was governed with a minimum of soldiers and Government officials. The former rulers maintained their absolute power and control over the natives; a quite common strategy used by many colonizing countries.
In addition, the Dutch state earned a fortune with the sale of opium to the natives, this opium-trade was started centuries before during the VOC-times. At that time opium was the only known effective pain killer, and a considerable percentage of the natives were addicted to it, being kept poor in this way. This was called the "opium-regime".
To distinguish between smuggled and legal opium, a simple reagent was added. After discovery the smuggler could count on a severe punishment.
Multatuli wrote Max Havelaar in protest against these colonial policies, but another goal was to seek rehabilitation for his resignation from governmental service. Despite its terse writing style, it raised the awareness of Europeans living in Europe at the time that the wealth that they enjoyed was the result of suffering in other parts of the world. This awareness eventually formed the motivation for the new Ethical Policy by which the Dutch colonial government attempted to "repay" their debt to their colonial subjects by providing education to some classes of natives, generally members of the elite loyal to the colonial government.
Indonesian novelist Pramoedya Ananta Toer argued that by triggering these educational reforms, Max Havelaar was in turn responsible for the nationalist movement that ended Dutch colonialism in Indonesia after , and which was instrumental in the call for decolonization in Africa and elsewhere in the world.
Thus, according to Pramoedya, Max Havelaar is "the book that killed colonialism". In the last chapter the author announces that he will translate the book "into the few languages I know, and into the many languages I can learn.
It was published to great uproar in the 19th century, and helped to bring about social upheaval in the case of Max Havelaar, reform and regulation of Dutch rule in the Netherlands Indies—what would later become Indonesia. Nonetheless, I hasten to reiterate that this book is anything but an artless and humorless political tract. What Multatuli obtains There are books and there are monuments. This story is interrupted every now and then by a few chapters narrated by Droogstoppel, who disapproves of the direction Stern is taking with the book, and complains about the "corrupting" influence the poetically inclined clerk has on his children. I am not in the habit of writing novels or things of that sort, and so I have been a long time in making up my mind to buy a few extra reams of paper and start on the work which you, dear reader, have just taken up, and which you must read if you are a coffee broker, or if you are anything else.
It was first translated into English in In Indonesia, the novel was cited as an inspiration by Sukarno and other early nationalist leaders, such as the author's Indo Eurasian descendant Ernest Douwes Dekker , who had read it in its original Dutch. It was not translated into Indonesian until In the novel, the story of Max Havelaar, a Dutch colonial administrator, is told by two diametrically opposed characters: the hypocritical coffee merchant Droogstoppel, who intends to use Havelaar's manuscripts to write about the coffee trade, and the romantic German apprentice Stern, who takes over when Droogstoppel loses interest in the story.
The opening chapter of the book nicely sets the tone of the satirical nature of what is to follow, with Droogstoppel articulating his pompous and mercenary world-view at length.
At the very end of the novel Multatuli himself takes the pen and the book culminates in a denunciation of Dutch colonial policies and a plea to the king of the Netherlands to intervene on behalf of his Indonesian subjects. The novel was filmed in by Fons Rademakers as part of a Dutch-Indonesian partnership.
The film Max Havelaar was not allowed to be shown in Indonesia until During his life Dekker published six press-editions of Max Havelaar in the Netherlands, with three different publishers. In addition, Dekker made a significant contribution to the first translation of the book in English. After Dekker's death, the book was reprinted many times.
Max Havelaar: Or the Coffee Auctions of the Dutch Trading Company is an novel by Multatuli which played a key role in shaping and modifying Dutch. Max Havelaar is a Dutch drama film directed by Fons Rademakers, based on the novel Max Havelaar by Multatuli. It was the country's submission for .
The text in the reprints, that now can be found in bookstores is sometimes based on the version of , sometimes on the handwritten manuscript, and increasingly, based on the fifth edition of , the last to be revised by the author. The edition of copies was on large octavo printed by Munster and sons. The books were sold for 4 guilders, a large amount for the time. The appearance of the book and typography did not differ from the first edition. The page layout and all lines were identical, so it seemed that it was printed from the same type used for the first edition.
The book appeared again in two parts.
The first part on 8 November , the second part on 22 November. The exact size of the edition is unknown, but was probably between and copies. The price for both parts was again 4 guilders. The printing history of this book is complicated: In Anne Kets-Vree discovered a secret edition of this book. Appearance and typography of the book are identical and the title page still mentions 'Second Edition'. The book, however, was printed for the third time. The double printing could be identified with a printer's error in rule 5 of the first chapter: "lieve lezer s " dear readers instead of "lieve lezer" Dear reader.
But Droogstoppel does not know how to select and arrange the material and asks a young German by the name of Stern, who has come to live with the Droogstoppel-family, to fulfil the task. Through Stern and Sjaalman the second and third narrators the reader learns more about the misfortunes of the Assistant Resident of Lebak, the poetic and compassionate Max Havelaar, who fights against the indifferent but guilty bureaucratic system of colonial oppression in the Dutch East Indies.
This gradually turns out to be the central story. Every now and then it is interrupted by Droogstoppel, whose view is in opposition with that of Stern and Sjaalman. In so doing he confronts the reader with the central question of truth and with the problem of moral conscience.