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Royal Authority and the Orang Kaya in the Western Archipelago, Circa 1500–1800

  • J. Kathirithamby-Wells

Ironically, the focus which Schrieke and Van Leur first brought to bear on socioeconomic changes in the Archipelago inspired scholars after them, Benda, Wertheim and Meilink-Roelofsz, among others, to plead for more dynamic structural changes than the pioneers of “Southeast Asia-centric historiography” presumed fit. The more cautious approach of Schrieke and Van Leur would appear to arise from their anxiety to establish cultural continuity as a viable basis for the study of socio-economic change. Since then change has come to be understood, particularly with reference to the maritime societies of Southeast Asia, as an indispensable element which guaranteed continuity within the basic traditions of the regions.

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This is a revised version of a paper originally presented at a symposium held in Manila in January 1982 on “Western Presence in Southeast Asia”, organised by the British Institute in Southeast Asia and the Philippines Historical Institute and at a seminar in Leiden University in Oct. 1984.

1 Benda, H., “The Structure of Southeast Asian History: Some Preliminary Observations”, Journal of Southeast Asian History (JSEAH) III, i (1962): 118–20; Wertheim, W.F., International Encyclopaedia of Social Sciences. Vol. I (New York/London, 1972), pp. 427–28; Meilink-Roelofsz, M.A.P., Asian Trade and European Influence (The Hague, 1962), pp. 910.

2 See Villiers, John, “Trade and Society in the Banda Islands in the Sixteenth Century”, Modern Asian Studies 15, iv (1981): 728–29.

3 Wheatley, P., The Kings of the Mountain: An Indian Contribution to Statecraft in Southeast Asia, Second Sri Lanka Endowment Fund Lecture delivered at the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur (Kuala Lumpur, 1980), pp. 813; Wolters, O. W., History, Culture and Region in Southeast Asian Perspectives, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (Singapore, 1982), pp. 1618.

4 See Schrieke, B., “The End of the Classical Hindu-Javanese culture in central Java”, in Indonesian Sociological Studies, II (The Hague/Bandung, 1957), pp. 298300; Bronson, Bennet, “The Archaeology of Sumatra and the Problem of Srivijaya”, in Early South East Asia: Essays in Archaeology, History and Historical Geography, ed. Smith, R.B. & Watson, W. (New York, 1979), pp. 403404.

5 Johns, A.H., “Islam in Southeast Asia: Problems of Perspective”, in Southeast Asian History and Historiography, ed. Cowan, C.D. & Wolters, O.W., Essays presented to D.G.E. Hall (Cornell, 1976), pp. 306307.

6 Tambiah, Stanley, “The Galactic Polity: The Structure of Traditional Kingdoms in Southeast Asia”, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 293 (1977): 69; Wheatley, , Kings of the Mountain, pp. 2122.

7 Wolters, O. W., The Fall of Srivijaya in Malay History (London, 1970), p. 9.

8 Bosch, F.D.K., Selected Studies in Indonesian Archaeology (The Hague, 1962), pp. 1718. By the time of Srivijaya the brāhmana appear to have been incorporated into the official administrative machinery under the title stāhpaka. The supreme powers of adjudication, originally held by the priests, were now vested in a separate class of royal judges or dandanāyaka, acting on behalf of the ruler.

Hall, Kenneth R., “State and Statecraft in Early Srivijaya”, in Explorations in Early Southeast Asian History, ed. Hall, Kenneth R. & Whitmore, J.K., Michigan Papers on South and Southeast Asia, No. 11 (1976), pp. 7072. This phenomenon appears to have been evident even in the mainland states. Benda has pointed out how, after the mid-thirteenth century, the Buddhist monkhood no longer played a dominant role at the centre where they were replaced by the scholar-gentry. See: “The Structure of Southeast Asian History”, 115. In Java, secularization was evident, for instance, in the modified role of the pujangga, the original clerical priests, who by Majapahit times were essentially clerics and court literati. By the process of administrative evolution it was the chief minister who came to take a dominant role at the centre while the position of the kadi during Islamic times was politically obscure. The dominant role played by priests in the courts of the early Indiamzed states may be attributed to their indispensable role in the inauguration of sovereign rulers and dynasties. Subsequently, the problem of political and administrative unification would appear to have assumed greater importance giving rise to the evolution of a semi-bureaucratic elite who took precedence over the priests. See Pigeaud, T.G. Th., Java in the 14th Century, IV (The Hague, 1962), pp. 484, 491.

9 Hall, Kenneth R., “State and Statecraft in Early Srivijaya”, pp. 7179. The ruler's fear of the royal princes is evident in the Telaga Batu inscription which bears the warning, “Crown Prince, and other princes who are invested with the charge of the datu, you are cursed if you are not obedient to me”. G. Ferrand, quoted in van Naerssen, F. H. and de Iongh, R.C., The Economic and Administrative History of Early Indonesia (Leiden/Köln, 1977), p. 35.

10 Kartodirjo, Sartono, “Bureaucracy and Aristocracy, the Indonesian Experience in the XIX Century”, Archipel 7 (1914): 152.

11 Brown, C.C. (trans.), Sejarah Melayu: Malay Annals (Kuala Lumpur, 1970), p. 46.

12 Ibid., pp. 75, 83–84, 88–89, 116.

13 Pires, Tomè, Suma Oriental, II (London, 1944), pp. 260–62.

14 Ibid., pp. 55–56, 58, 83, 88–89, 96–97, 119.

15 Ibid., p. 57.

16 For further reference on this see Andaya, Leonard, The Kingdom of Johor, 1641–1728 (Kuala Lumpur, 1975), pp. 186–91.

17 Fang, Liaw Yock, Undang-Undang Melaka (The Hague, 1976), p. 171.

18 Winstedt, R. O., “The Malay Annals of Sejarah Melayu”, Journal of the Malayan Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society (JMBRAS) XVI, ii (1938): 123, 220; Shellabear, W.G. (trans.), Sejarah Melayu (Kuala Lumpur, 1975), pp. 242–4, 249, 267, 297.

19 Winstedt, , JMBRAS XVI, ii (1938): 220–22; Shellabear, , Sejarah Melayu, pp. 249, 267.

20 Winstedt, , JMBRAS XVI, ii (1938): 8485, 104, 129, 140.

21 Shellabear, , Sejarah Melayu, pp. 35, 40, 158, 307.

22 Ibid., p. 250.

23 Andaya, L., The Kingdom of Johor, p. 43.

24 Ibid., chapter III, passim; Andaya, L., “The Structure of Power in 17th Century Johor”, in Pre-Colonial State Systems in Southeast Asia, ed. Reid, Anthony and Castles, Lance, Monograph of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, No. 6 (1975), p. 6.

25 Andaya, , The Kingdom of Johor, pp. 61, 73, 7576.

26 Lewis, Dianne, “The Dutch East India Company and the Straits of Malacca, 1700–1784: Trade and Politics in the Eighteenth Century” (Ph. D. thesis, Canberra, 1970), pp. 113–32.

27 See Kathirithamby-Wells, J., “The Johor-Malay World, 1511–1785: Changes in Political Ideology”, Malaysian History Project (in press).

28 Andaya, B. Watson, Perak, The Abode of Grace (Kuala Lumpur, 1979), pp. 2328.

29 Ibid., p. 30; Chulan, Raja, Misa Melayu (Kuala Lumpur, 1966), pp. 23, 26.

30 Andaya, Watson, Perak, p. 32.

31 After the Orang Besar Empat he placed the Orang Besar Delapan or Hulubalang Delapan and, after them, the sixteen minor chiefs. See Wilkinson, R.J. (ed.), Papers on Malay Subjects, intro. by Burns, P.L. (Kuala Lumpur, 1971), p. 82.

32 Wilkinson, (ed.), Papers on Malay Subjects, pp. 8182; Andaya, Watson, Perak, pp. 193–94, 222–23; Andaya, B. Watson, “The Nature of the State in 18th Century Perak”, in Pre-Colonial State Systems, pp. 3031.

33 Andaya, Watson, Perak, p. 32.

34 Ibid., pp. 46–47.

35 Kathirithamby-Wells, J., “Acehnese Control over West Sumatra up to the Treaty of Painan of 1663”, JSEAHX, iii (1969): 457. Assassinations ended the reigns of Sultan Mughal, Raja Sri Alam (1575–76), Sultan Zainu'l-'Abidin (1576–77) and Sultan 'Ali Ra'ayat-Syah (1583–85). Iskandar, , Bastanu's-Salatin, pp. 3234.

36 Kathirithamby-Wells, J., “The Inderapura Sultanate: The Foundations of its Rise and Decline from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries”, Indonesia, No. 21 (1976): 6568.

37 Reid, A.J.S., “Trade and the Problem of Royal Power in Aceh c. 1550–1700”, in Pre-Colonial State Systems, pp. 4849.

38 Reid, “Trade and the Problem of Royal Power”, p. 50; “The Expedition of Commodore Beaulieu to the East Indies”, in Harris, J., A Complete Collection of Voyages and Travels, containing the Memoir of Admiral Beaulieu's voyage to the East Indies, II (London, 1764), p. 734.

39 Harris, , A Complete Collection of Voyages and Travels, pp. 731, 734; Danvers, and Foster, , Letters, Laus Deo abroad the Hector in Achin, 15 04 1615, III, p. 95; Capt. Arthur Spaight to the E.I. Co., III, p. 217.

40 Kathirithamby-Wells, , JSEAH X, iii (1969): 460–61.

41 Iskandar, Teuku, Bustanu's-Salatin, Bab II, Fasal 13 (Kuala Lumpur, 1966), pp. 52, 60, 62, 63.

42 Iskandar, Teuku, “De Hikajat Atjeh”, Verhandelingen van het Koninklijk Instituut voor Taal-, Land-en Volkenkunde XXVI (1958): 74, 96.

43 Ibid., pp. 85, 91.

44 Reid, , Pre-Colonial State Systems, pp. 5255; Reid, A.J.S., “Trade and State Power in 16th and 17th Century Southeast Asia”, Proceedings of the Seventh IAHA Conference (Bangkok, 1977), pp. 410–11; Anderson, J., Acheen and the Ports on the North and East Coasts of Sumatra (Oxford, 1971), pp. 6263. Speaking on the power of the Panglima Polim of the 22 mukim in 1817 Captain Coombs, agent of the Penang Government wrote: “Panglima Polim is, beyond comparison, the most powerful in regard to wealth, the extent of his territories and the number of his followers, and his will appears, at present, to be exercised as law….”Ibid., p. 111.

45 Kathirithamby-Wells, J., “Myth and Reality: Minangkabau Institutional Traditions in the Rantau”, Change and Continuity in Minangkabau: Local, Regional, and Historical Perspectives on West Sumatra, ed. Thomas, Lynn L. and von Benda-Beckmann, Franz, Monographs in International Studies, Southeast Asia Series, No. 71 (Ohio, 1985), p. 127; Dobbin, Christine, “The Exercise of Authority in Minangkabau in the 18th century”, Pre-Colonial State Systems, p. 87.

46 Kathirithamby-Wells, , JSEAH X, iii (1969): 476–77.

47 Daghregister, 22 Dec. 1667, p. 404.

48 Although the British records mention him as “Protector” (see Bassett, D.K., “The Factory of the English East India Company at Bantam, 1602–82”, Ph.D. thesis, London, 1955, p. 93), there is no evidence in the Sejarah Bantě to confirm this. There is no mention of a “Protector” appointed to succeed Pangeran Ranamanggala when he abdicated in 1626. Kay Wangsadipa is mentioned, however, as having played a prominent role in the affairs of Banten during the reign of Kadhir, Sultan Abdul. Critische Beschouwing van de Sadjarah-Bantěn (Haarlem, 1931), pp. 46, 49, 50, 5456, 61.

49 Bassett, “The Factory of the English East India Company at Bantam”, p. 60.

50 Veth, P.J., Java (Haarlem, 1912), pp. 13, 62; de Jonge, J.K.J., De Opkomst van het Nederlandsch Gezag in Oost-Indië, III (The Hague, 18621888), p. cxiv. The rift climaxed in 1680 in open war between Sultan Agung and the Prince and the acceptance of Dutch protection by the latter. Ibid., III, pp. clvii–clxviii.

51 Meilink-Roelofsz, , Asian Trade, p. 240; Dagh Register, 26 March 1624, pp. 36–38. In the 1659 transactions with Batavia, Kiai Arya Mangjaya took the lead and the orang kaya are not mentioned. Dagh Register, 5 May 1659, pp. 90–92.

52 This area of south Sumatra was first brought under Banten control by Sultan Hasanuddin (1552–70). Djajadiningrat, Hoesein, Critische Beschouwing van de Sadjarah-Bantěn, pp. 34, 151.

53 Kathirithamby-Wells, J., “A Survey of British Influence on Indigenous Authority in Southwest Sumatra, 1685–1824”, Bijdragen tot de Taal–, Land– en Volkenkunde van Nederlandsch-lndië (The Hague) CXXIX, ii & iii (1973): 241–43; Canne, H.D., “Bijdrage tot de Geschiedenis der Lampongs”, Tijdschrift van Indische Taal– Land– en Volkenkunde (Batavia) XI (1862): 515; van Hoëvel, W.R., “De Lampongsche distrikten op het Eiland Sumatra”, Tijdschrift voor Neêrlands (Nederlandsch) — Indië (Batavia) XIV, i (1852): 245–51.

54 Kay = Ki: abbreviation for Kyai = “senior”. This non-royal title was held by officials of the rank of punggawa in Banten. It was used in full for religious teachers.

55 Kartodirdjo, Sartono, “The Peasant Revolt of Banten in 1885”, Verhandelingen Koninklijk Instituut 50 (1966): 7071.

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