01 Mei 2009

Makalah Seminar Nasional Budaya Etnik III edisi 3

Prof. Dr. Robert Sibarani, MS[2]

1. Basic Facts about Batangtoru
Batangtoru is one of 12 sub-districts in the District of South Tapanuli[3]. Batangoru is an area that is known by reputation far and wide, its name well known from long before it became an officially gazetted administrative area. In the time of the Dutch colonial government, Batangtoru consisted of two administrative districts or kewedanaan, those of Batangtoru and Marancar, each of which came under the authority of the Kuria. The Kewedanaan of Batangtoru commenced at the Batangtoru River in the direction of Sibloga (the north), and its boundary with the Kewedanaan of Marancar was the Batangtoru River in the direction of Sidempuan, to the south. After Indonesia won its independence the two kewedanaan were joined together into the one kecamatan, or sub-district, of Batangtoru. Then, in 2002, Marancar was recreated as an independent sub-district, carved out in part, from Batangtoru.
Before 2007 the sub-district of Batangtoru consisted of 35 villages and kelurahan (an administrative area under the direct supervision of the sub-district, with its Head, or Lurah, appointed by government rather than, as in other villages, elected by the community). The spirit of change that followed the introduction of the Regional Autonomy Laws in 1998 animated the local population to seek further administrative sub-division so that in 2007 six of Batangtoru’s villages were split off and assigned to the new sub-district of Muara Batangtoru, leaving Batangtoru itself with 29 villages and kelurahan[4]. Batangtoru as it was, has now become the three sub-districts of Batangtoru, Marancar, and Muara Batangtoru.
In relation to the name Batangtoru, there are several versions concerning its derivation that have been offered from the community. In the first, Batangtoru consists of the word batang meaning ”river” and toru meaning ”under”, so that Batangtoru means ”the river underneath”. In the second story, Batangtoru originates from batang meaning “log” and toru “underneath”, so Batangtoru means “log underneath”. In the third version of its origins, Batangtoru originates from batang meaning “river” and koru meaning “pure”; so that batang koru means “pure river”; which over time became pronounced as Batangtoru.
Based on these etymological derivations it can be concluded that the word Batangtoru can mean either the river which lies down low or the river which has pure water. Indeed the sub-district of Batangtoru is passed through by the Batangtoru River, which certainly flows through a very deep and low valley and is also noted for the dependable purity of its water. According to the local community, even in the longest periods of drought the river remains pure. The Batangtoru river is fed by the streams of the Aek Sigeaon and Aek Situmandi Rivers from Tarutung and is later joined by the River Aek Sarulla and the river Aek Namampar, both at Pahae. Formerly the Aek Namampar River was very wide and fringed by swamp, but now it has narrowed due to development along its shores. From Aek Narampar the river flows onto Batangtoru. Perhaps this is why the word toru was applied to the river, because it does indeed lie much lower than the rivers which feed it[5].
2. Batangtoru, Past and Present
For a very long time Batangtoru has been renowned for three things: for its plantations, as a region through which one transited to other regions, as the place where North met South[6]. Large areas of level land have made Batangtoru a strategic location for plantations. Batangtoru Plantation (PTPN III) is the oldest state owned rubber plantation in all Sumatra. This plantation was opened in 1906 and since then has been replanted twice more, once in the 1980s and again in the early years of this century. The plantations have benefited local communities as a source of day labour for many. Another reason for Batangtoru’s renown was because it lay along a major transport route between the port cities of Medan and Padang, on different coasts of Sumatra. The region has profited from the trade that has passed along its highways. The final reason for its reputation is as the region where the Northern Batak groups meet the Southern ones, with the Batak inhabitants of the area a mixture of clans from both groups. In fact, the geographical boundary between Central Tapanuli, inhabited by the Toba Batak clans, and South Tapanuli (inhabited by the Southern clans) lies in Garoga, about 20 kilometres before Batangtoru on the road from Medan, but the real place these two populations meet, and mix, is in the ”city” of Batangtoru. It is often said that Batangtoru is a region inhabited by migrants. This is because the ‘original inhabitants’ of the area, too, were immigrants from other areas.
The community of Batangtoru is open to receiving new arrivals from other ethnic groups. This is proven by the fact that the more time passes the more the number of newcomers to Batangtoru from other groups increase, so much so that some respondents commented that the original settler group is now in danger of being pushed out. This might possibly occur, partly due to the fact that the cultural ties with the area are not particularly strong. Whenever asked from whence they come, the answer is always – from another place. If the Siregar clan is asked from where they come, they tend to answer – from the river mouth; if the Hutapea are asked, they will reply – from Tarutong, and if the Pulungan reply to this question they will say, from Huta Bargot.
Because it is an area inhabited by immigrants, the dominant culture of Batangtoru is a mixture of that of both the Northern and Southern Batak. The culture of the South is generally described as that of the Mandailing, while the culture of the North is usually described as that of the Toba. And, too, there is another culture area lying between north and south which is named as that of the Angkola.
It is clear that there have been cultural changes due to the effects of modern times; the values of Angkola culture have many of them been lost, with the young little interested in their traditions. The community of old valued their traditions more than that of today. In former times the cultural values enshrined in the phrase, salaklak sa singkoru, or ”a son, a daughter”, were an indication that Batak people in general considered everyone else in their clans as, in a sense, just like immediate family members, all one big family, all brothers and sisters. In former times the prescribed forms of behaviour were strictly adhered to, but many of these norms are now little observed: we are no longer all one another’s brothers and sisters.
One of the reasons the name of Batangtoru is still well known is because, at the end of 1948, while on tour to celebrate the third anniversary of him becoming the nation’s founding President, Sukarno visited Tapanuli and made a speech in Batangtoru, at the market place.
If the situation of Batangtoru today is compared with how it used to be, the improvements in many areas are obvious: there have been improvements in education, public health, the condition of the roads and so on, but the renown of Batangtoru has paled against what it one was. It is no longer on the only road linking the west coast with the east in the region, since the new road was opened from Siporok. The reputation of its plantations no longer gleams as brightly as it did now that there are plantations everywhere. These days, it appears, the name of Batangtoru arouses interest mainly because of a certain gold mining project.
3. The First Settlement of Batangtoru by the Batak
The first Batak clan, or marga[7], to settle Batangtoru was the Siregar, that is the Siregar in the village of Sumuran. The Siregar clan came to Batangtoru around 1805, but they never became kings (raja [8] is the word used) of Batangtoru. The Siregar clan are the Siregar Siagian who came from the Toba area, from the mouth of the Batangtoru river went up the river to the region Batangtoru by way of Marancar. Their descendants now lived in the village of Sumuran, including Dame Siregar, a retired employee of Pertamina. His status there is hatobangon, which can be translated as “elder”. The Siregar clan that lived on the southern side of the Batangtoru River is descended from Sutan Naga Siregar, who at one time held the position of Kuria[9] in Marancar. The Siregar clan was well known for not wanting to cooperate with the Dutch.
The next clan to come to the area was the Hutapea, who came from Siopat Pusoran Tarutung around 1826 and settled first at Huta Godang, before spreading out to Batu Horing and Batu Hula. Their descendants include, at Huta Godang, retired Colonel Maraintan Hutapea, ex leader of the Central Tapanuli Regional Assembly.
The Pulungan clan arrived with Maharaja[10] Mandongung, First Head of Government, also known as the King Luat (Raja Luat), around 1836, with a letter of appointment signed by the Dutch administrator in Padang.
The wife of Maharaja Mandongung was Lundi Sitompul from Pahae. She did not take her husband’s marga because to have done so would have lowered her status. Batak Adat or Custom has it that people must somba marmora, elek maranak boru, manat markahanggi ”respect the wife giver, coax the wife receiver, attend to the members of the same marga”. The Pulungan marga in Batangtoru are the Pulungan Simalagi, one of three sub groups of the Pulungan marga, which are the Pulungan Bargot (elder branch), Pulungan Panabari (middle branch), and the Pulungan Simalagi (youngest branch)[11].
The first clans to settle the Batangtoru area were all ethnically Batak, including the Siregar and Hutapea from the Northern sub group of clans and the Pulungan from the Southern sub-group.
4. Ethnicity of Immigrant Groups
The classification of various ethnic groups in the region as “immigrants” is based on the year in which they arrived, so that those which arrived after 1850 are considered (by the longer resident groups at least) as immigrant ethnic groups, whereas those who had already settled in the region before 1850, the Siregar, Pulungan and Hutapea clans, are classified as the clans which are the dalihan na tolu “the three hearths” of Batangtoru. Admittedly there are many other Batak clans in Batangtoru, but these are not classed in the same group as the original three ‘hearths’. Besides this, the latter clan arrivals do not tend to play the same part in village politics as those from the three clans.
When speaking of the Javanese, Minang and Nias ethnic later arrivals, the researcher will not do so with the comprehensiveness with which Batak culture is addressed here, because Batangtoru is considered part of the cultural territory of the Angkola Batak. Brief summaries of aspects of Javanese, and Nias culture are made, however, in the light of changes that have occurred in regional cultural practices in more recent times.
4.1 Later Batak Ethnic Groups
The Pasaribu marga arrived in the area after 1850. The Pasaribu clan was not classed with the original three because they were considered ro-kehe, or as people who ”came and went”. Finally though, there were some of this clan who remained settled in Batangtoru. Their descendants live mainly in Marancar. So too with other later arriving Batak clans, the Sitompul and the Hasibuan.
The Harahap clan arrived when one of them took a wife from the Pulungan and became anak boru Pulungan – wife receivers to the Pulungan. This Harahap man came from Pargarutan, in the district of East Angkola. They arrived three generations after Maharaja Mandongung, sometime around 1896. These Harahap, it has been said, didn’t so much require a village (huta) as prioritise hepeng, or money for their prosperity (i.e. most of them lived from trade, creatures of the market, rather than farming). This commercial propensity is one of the reasons why there is no village which is specifically identified as a Harahap community – in contrast with many other villages in the area which do have identifications with specific clans. They are also, in consequence, reputed to be more prosperous that other clans. They have never played much part or been particularly influential in village politics[12].
4.2 Javanese, Minang and Nias Ethnic Groups
Large numbers of Javanese arrived in the region when the PTPN III plantation was opened up in 1906. They were transported here by the Dutch as plantation workers, or coolies, from Eastern and Central Java. The Javanese had a reputation as good plantation workers, well behaved, tractable, amicable and hardy. Most of the Javanese that have settled in Batangtoru can speak the Angkola batak language, particularly those who were born in the region. However, it would be difficult to find a single Angkolan who could speak Javanese. The ability of the Javanese to acquire the Angkolan language has been brought about by their proximity. This phenomenon in itself evidence of processes of acculturation by the Javanese settled in the region. According to respondents, many of the Javanese have intermarried with local Bataks, primarily the Angkola, both men and women. This process of acculturation and intermarriage has been encouraged by the fact that there is no religious difference between the two groups: both the Javanese and the Angkola are predominantly Muslim.
The standard Batak cultural practice of calling meetings of elders to make decisions on matters of community importance (meetings of village elders, who amongst the local Batak are called hatobangon[13]) also occurs amongst the Javanese to resolve community conflicts, a practice which some say originated with the Angkola [but which may in fact be more Pan-Indonesian than local informants realise].
A primary orientation of life amongst the local Javanese can be expressed in the phrase dadi uwong, or to ‘become someone’, that is, to become a person of some social note because of their good social actions. They consider, as a basic social principle, that becek ketitik, olo ketorong, or ‘the good will be evident; the evil shall be known’. A word that sums up a host of attitudes is, nerimo, or in other words, ‘accept whatever is’; similarly, the saying uwong urip gak usah neko-neko, which can be translated as ‘the living should practice to confound’ also sums up an attitude to life that might be assumed to be culturally typical. Sentiments advocating solidarity, communal unity and common purpose are summed up in the proverb, mangan gak mangan asal ngumpul, ”whether one eats or does not eat, what matters is that we are together”.
In their social interaction the Javanese observe respect for their parents, parents-in-law, father’s younger siblings and the parents of children-in-law. This is clearly witnessed at the time of marriages during sunkem ceremonies which indicate respect for the couple’s parents). In local Javanese cultural practice, the father’s younger brother still has a privileged role to play in the family and its rites, whether these are marriage or mourning rites. Marriages are usually conducted at the home of the bride, whose father acts as officiant or wali on such occasions. Amongst the Javanese, also, marriages between descendants of the same patrilineal line that share a grandfather (i.e. are first cousins) are forbidden.
The resolution of social conflict amongst the Javanese generally begins at the family level, with the males of the family being most responsible for acting in these matters. For instance, if siblings are in conflict, their father has the authority to resolve the problem. If there are problems between married couples, the parents or uncles are responsible for settling matters. If problems can’t be resolved in the family they are usually referred to Muslim religious authorities, such as ulama, kiyai or reputed wise men in the community. If matters are not solved at the village level they are referred to police and other civil authorities on the recommendation of the village head.
Inheritances amongst the Javanese are distributed to both male and female children, though usually the males receive a larger share. There are those who allot one eighth of inheritance property to female children in accordance with Muslim law, but there are also those who divide this property equally between male and female children if the male children so wish it. However, it is generally the case that the house will go to the youngest child, whether male or female. If there are no male children then the inheritance goods will fall to the lot of female children.
Migrants of Nias ethnicity first began to arrive in the Batangtoru area around 1925. They live mainly in the area of Batu Horing and Tamasu. The recognised elders in this community are at present Böwöaro Zendartö (59 yrs old). Former Village head of Batu Horing. After the tidal wave that hit North Sumatra in 2005 a lot more Nias people began to arrive in Batangtoru. The Nias ethnic group are regarded as a courageous people, who will endure hardship with equanimity and are known as hard workers, willing to work the land they can wrest from the forest. Most of them in this area do live in the forest. They came to Batangtoru because there was little available farming left on Nias island and the population there continued to increase. With their island economy heavily dependant on rubber and copra there were few economic opportunities for them there. In contrast to the Javanese, the Nias people tend to mix little with the native Batak Angkola in the region and so have little exposure to processes of acculturation. There is virtually no intermarriage between the two groups. This is most probably the result of the difference in religious affiliation, because the majority of the Nias community is Protestant while the Angkola are mostly Muslim. Due to the fact that most of their daily lives are spent in fields in forest areas, many amongst the Nias community were fortunate enough to be able to receive compensation from PTAR for land acquired for the Martabe project.
The basic cultural values of the Nias can be expressed in a number of key phrases. Life is about seeking to become prosperous (mochö/harato) and the acquisition of status in the customary community (siulu/balugu). Prosperity is sought through hard work in their fields, whether on their island of origin or outside Nias in Central or South Tapanuli. Social statuses such as siulu or balugu ‘chief of custom, or adat’ are achieved through holding ceremonies such as the owasa, which can be roughly translated as a ‘customary installation ceremony’ in the status of ‘raja adat’, or ‘Chief of the Customary Community’. If this ceremony is performed, all the community around the village (banua) is invited, as well as the relatives of the Chief’s wife – as wife givers (sibaya) they deserve respect, together with other members of the same clan (talifusö) who are the ones responsible for doing the ceremonial work, and also the members of the wife-receiving group (ono alawe), who have an obligation to contribute funds towards the cost of the ceremony as well as undertaking some of the work involved in it. Those who attain the status of siulu or balugu must already be married because the process of installation requires the participation of the wife-giving group (sibaya). As similarly amongst the Batak, those four groups mentioned above must all participate in customary or Adat ceremonies.
Nias social interaction is in general based on the kinship system. The fundamental sentiments which animate the culture are respect for the wife-givers (fosumange sibaya), solidarity amongst those of the same clan (hasara dödö zi fatalifusö), and charity towards the wife-receiver (laomasiö talifusö ono alawe). These norms are almost identical to those which animate Batak social interaction.
Marriage within the same clan in Nias communities is allowed, but only after the tenth generation of descent. This is different from the situation in Batak society, where clans / marga can split if such marriages are allowed, as happened when the Tambunan marga split into the Tambunan Pagaraji and the Tambunan Lumbapea.
The resolution of social conflict amongst the Nias begins with mediations at the family level. If matters cannot be resolved within the family then an adat chief (siulu/balugu) is summoned. Generally problems are settled at this level of adjudication but if not resolved there then the matter is put before the police authorities by way of the Village Head. The resolution of conflict in this manner is still standard practice amongst the Nias population of Batangtoru, and resembles the common practice of dispute resolution practiced amongst the Batak in which dalihan natolu and hatobangon authorities are referred to.
The distribution of inheritances amongst the Nias follows patrilineal principles, preferring the male heirs. Women only receive buala, ‘a gift’, as a sign of love, which may take the form of land or other property. If there are no male children then the family’s traditional valuables (pusaka) are inherited by other male relatives.
The Minang ethnic group are also represented in the population of Batangtoru. In the beginning they, too, like some of the Batak clans, were considered ‘comers and goers’ ”ro-kehe”, but they too eventually settled permanently in the region around 1900. They are not very many in number and have not established a village of their own as have the Nias and the Javanese. The Minang are primarily traders rather than farmers in this area, work hard and easily adapt to the communities into which they migrate. Like the Javanese, many people of Minang ethnicity have intermarried with the local Angkola Bataks, again because of their common Muslim religion.
5. Local Government in Batangtoru before Independence
Before Indonesian Independence in 1945 the Dutch colonial government in Batangtoru was led by the Kuria, a status almost identical to that of the Camat (Head of sub-district) at the current time. The region the Kuria administered covered the area to the north and the east of the Batangtoru River, to the west of the Barobak River and to the south of Hutaraja. Kuria I, or the first appointed Head of local government, but better known in local parlance as Raja Luat I, was a Maharaja placed in this position by the Dutch around 1836, his letter of appointment issued in Padang. Although the Siregar had been the clan longest established in Batangtoru, the Dutch appointed Maharaja Mandongung to the position, who was from the Pulungan clan, because the Siregar were unwilling to cooperate with the Dutch. According to respondents this was a common practice for the Dutch, but one example among many of their political deviousness and the strategy of divide et impera (’divide and conquer’) they practised so well. The wife of Maharaja Mandongung, Lundi Sitompul, died in 1926. Maharaja Mandongung is still regarded in the region as sipelebegu (an object of homage, or penyembah berhala)[14], which signifies he is still an object of homage in accordance with Batak traditions. Maharaja mandongung had four sons and a daughter. The oldest son was Syeh Abdul Kadir Pulungan, who at that time lived at the village of Napa. Syeh Abdul Kadir Pulungan had converted to Islam and was known as a man who was martua (had charisma and was known to have magical powers), so that even the Dutch were afraid of him. He built the first mosque in Batangtoru, the Masjid Godang. His father, Maharaja Mandongung dies in 1886 but Syed had no desire to succeed him. The Maharaja’s descendants in the area include Pandapotan Pulungan, former Village Head of Napa for 28 years.
As none of Maharaja Mandongung’s sons wanted to succeed him, his nephew from Hutu Bargot became the second Kuria with the title Mangaraja Gandoan.
Kuria III was the son of Mangaraja Gandoan named Sutan Parimpunan around 1916. A son of Sutan Parimpunan was Rahman Pulungan, former member of the South Tapanuli Regional Assembly. After Kuria III there were no more kuria, the office changing its name to wedana and later camat after Independence. The first Camat or Assistant Wedana in Batangtoru around 1946 (still at that time under Dutch control) was the nephew of Sutan Parimpunan, named Amas Pulungan (whose son Hasanudin Pulungan is the retired headmaster of Batangtoru junior high school).
Table ‑1: Genealogy of Heads of Local Government in Dutch Colonial Period
Based on the explanation given above, it can be concluded that there are two major lines of descent through the Pulungan clan in Batangtoru, one running from Kuria I, Maharaja Mandongung, the other descending from Kuria II, Mangaraja Gandoan. Community authorities at the present time from these two branches of the Pulungan clan are as follows:
· Descended from Kuria I: Maharaja Mandongung à his son Syeh Abdul Kadir à his son Syeh Muhammad Yusuf Pulungan (born 1905, died 1967) à his son Sutan Pandapotan Pulungan (now aged 70).
· Descended from Kuria II: Raja Gandoan à his son Sutan Parimpunan (Kuria III) à his son, Rahman Pulungan (57 years old, ex-member of South Tapanuli regional Assembly).

[1] Presented in the one-day seminar “Budaya Etnik”, held by Sastra Daerah Department, Faculty of Letters, North Sumatera University at Pardede Hotel Medan, 25 April 2009
[2] Robert Sibarani is a professor of linguistic anthropology in Faculty of Letters, North Sumatera University; giving lectures in postgraduate programs in USU, Unimed, and UDA; Head of Social Service (LPPM) USU, Rector of University of Darma Agung (UDA); and Member of North Sumatera Province Research Board (DRD).
[3] South Tapanuli now consists of 19 Kecamatan or sub-districts: Aek Bilah, Saipar Dolok Hole, Arse, Sipirok, Marancar, Muara Batangtoru, Sayur Matinggi, Batang Angkola, Angkola Barat, Angkola Selatan, Angkola Timur, and Batangtoru.
[4] The 29 villages and kelurahan in the sub-district of Batangtoru include the villages of Siloung, Hapesong Lama, Hapesong Baru, Parinduhan, the Kelurahan of Wek I and Wek II, the villages of Wek III, Wek IV, Aek Ngadol, Sitinjak, Batu Horing, Garoga, Batu Hula, Sumuran, Napa, Aek Pining, Telo, Sipenggeng, Siagian, Huta Baru, Sianggunan, Sisoma Jae, Sialang, Padang Lancat, Huta Godang, Perkebunan Hapesong, Perkebunan Batangtoru, Perkebunan Aek Pahu and Perkebunan Sigalagala. The villages which became part of the sub-district of Muara Batangtoru are Huta Raja, Bandar Hapinis, Pardamean, Rianiate I, Rianiate II, and Tarapung Raya.
[5] It is possible that this river became the route by which clans from the Lake Toba area like the Hutapea, Sitompul, and others came to Batangtoru on small boats or rafts.
[6] The use of the North-South distinction here is related to a division amongst the major Batak sub-groups, with Toba Batak coming originally from North Tapanuli and the Angkola and Mandailing Batak originating from South Tapanuli.
[7] A Marga is a sub-group amongst the Batak. In English it is usually translated as clan. Those of one Marge share the same family name. Marga are patrilineal kin groups, with all those of one Marga assuming descent from a common ancestor. Members of one marga may not marry someone from the same marga, as this would be considered akin to incestuous.
[8] The Siregar marga never became raja luat (penguasa daerah) – the dominant chief of an area, as did the Kuria at Batangtoru or the Pungan did.
[9] The Kuria was an assistant to the wedana, a status equivalent to the camat or sub-district head now.
[10] Maharaja is the title given to the status above the position of Sutan; Sutan, similarly was above Baginda; Baginda was the status above Mangaraja.
[11] The Siregar and Pulungan clans in Batangtoru are considered as ‘junior’ clans. According to an informant who was Hutapea, this clan too in Batangtoru is from a ‘junior’ group. According to Batak tradition, most of those who emigrate from home areas are usually of this junior status because the middle and senior branches tend to receive first share of inheritances, including shares of land, fields and gardens.
[12] They are not very active because they do not consider they have the right to influence village decisions or policies.
[13] Hatobangon can be broadly translated as ‘elder’, and is elucidated further in Section 2.
[14] The word si means “person who”, pele means ”pay homage or tribute, make an offering”, and begu means ”spirit, seer”, so that sipelebegu means a person or spirit who is the object of prayers.

1 komentar:

rusman mengatakan...

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prospek kdpnny gmn yua???
kra2 usu bka dftr onlne gak,,,bwt msuk n jd mhssswa USU