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02/10/2013

THE MYSTERY OF MANI PURINDAN OF THE SEJARAH MELAYU (THE MALAY ANNALS)!


by Donplaypuks® at http://donplaypuks.blogspot.com



The very interesting story of Mani Purindan is found in pg. 59-67, part 88-96 of Chapter VII (7) of the Sejaraj Melayu (Malay Annals). This is from the Raffles MS18 with commentary by CC Brown, published by the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society (MBRAS).

Of course, the Sejarah Melayu or Sejarah, also know as ‘Sulalatus Salatin’ or Genealogy of The Kings' is more about the founding of Melaka and its eventual colonisation, as opposed to being a comprehensive history of the Malays and Malaya. In particular, a large chunk of it covers the period from 1400 CE when Melaka was founded by Parameswara, a Hindu Tamil prince (probably of Aboriginal/Malay descent as well), from Palembang, Sumatra, Indonesia, to, 1511 CE, when it fell to the Portuguese, who colonised and ruled it till 1641 CE. In 1641 CE it fell again, this time to the Dutch (1641-1825). The Sejarah is written more in the style of legends and myths rather than as a scholarly historically accurate tome. It is also the source of the legend of Hang Tuah and his lieutenants.

The authorship of the Sejarah is credited to Tun Bambang, son of Raja Akar of the kingdom of Patani now part of South Thailand and not Tun Sri Lanang of Johor as is popularly believed. Tun Bambang completed his task on 13th May (what a coincidence!), 1612 CE (the only dated mentioned in the entire Sejarah). Tun Bambang’s version of the Sejarah was in turn based on an original 1535 CE manuscript (presumably lost in antiquity) from Goa in India. There are at present 32 variant manuscripts of the Sejarah. Therefore, names, spelling and events vary from manuscript to manuscript. The Sejarah was re-discovered and translated in 1810 from Malay text into English by the Scottish scholar John Leyden, with the help of a Tamil-Muslim scribe, Munshi Ibrahim Kandu, from a Chulia family in Penang. Chulia refers to the Penang Tamil-Muslim group which originated from the Coromandel (south eastern) coast of India. 

The translation of the Sejarah was done in Calcutta, Bengal, India based on  a copy brought from Melaka by the Munshi. But it became famous only after Sir Stamford Raffles (honoured as the founder of modern Singapore), Leyden’s very close friend, had it published in 1821. Leyden succumbed to malaria or dengue  in 1811 in Java, where till today, his grave lies next to that of Olivia, Raffle’s wife! 

According to the Sejarah, the genealogy of our Kings is linked to: 

1. Alexander The Great (Raja Iskandar, the Two-Horned, 356-323 BCE) from Macedonia 
2. King Soloman (of biblical fame).
3. Nushirwan The Just (531-578 CE) from Persia
4. A Royal princess, Shahrul Bariah, from India, daughter of Raja Kida Hindi
5. Raja Cholan (985-1014 CE) ruler of Nagapatnam and Vijayanagar in S.India.
6. The landing astride white elephants or bulls on a hill top in Palembang, Sumatra (Andelas) of three Hindu/Indian princes, Vichitram, Paludatani and Nilatanam, accompanied by a 4th Indian, Bat'h (a Brahmanical Hindu priest) who recites their ancestry in Sanskrit! The confirmed text of the Sanskrit recitation is also given in the Sejarah! 
7. A Palembang, Sumatran aboriginal chieftain Demang Lebar Daun and his daughter Wan Sendari.

The first two of the Indian princes marry locals and become rulers of Menangkabau and Tanjong Pura. The third prince who marries Demang Lebar Daun’s daughter Wan Sendari, is crowned Raja of Palembang, given the title of Sri Tri Buana and/or Sang Nila Utama and later founds Temasik/Singapore.

Parameswara, from this line, eventually journeys his way to Malaya via Singapore and founds Melaka circa 1400 CE. In time, Parameswara's descendants (by blood) become the Sultans of Pahang, Johor and Perak. In severals places where the Sejarah claims ancient ancestral links, there is a disclaimer that, "Whether that is so or not is known only to Almighty God." All chapters of the Sejarah end with, "God knoweth the truth. To Him do we return."

The name Mani Purindan first emerges during the reign of Sri Maharaja/Sultan Muhammad Shah (1424-1444) and continues till he dies during the reign of Sultan Muzaffar Shah (1444-1459). The chapter begins with:

“Here now is the story of a city in Kalinga called Pahili, the Raja of which was called Nizamu’l-Muluk Akar Shah. He was a Muhammadan, in the Faith of Prophet Muhammad, the Apostle of God (may god bless him and give him peace); and he had three children, a daughter and two sons. The elder was called Baginda Mani Purindan and the younger Raja Akar Muluk Shah.” 

After his father’s death, Mani Purindan has a dispute over inheritance matters with his younger brother who succeeds as Raja. Rather than engage in an unseemly family squabble, Mani decides to set sail for Melaka and serve its Sultan. Why Melaka out of the blue, we are not told. On the way, he is shipwrecked in Pasai at the northern tip of Sumatra. Nevertheless he manages to marry Suta, the Raja of Pasai’s daughter, “and it is from this line that the Rajas of Pasai are descended; (Sultan Khamis, father of Raja Suta whom Baginda Mani Purindan divorced, was related to the Malays)”.

Kalinga, of course, refers to the state of Kalinga on the east coast of India, though, as far as I know, the city of Pahili has never been identified by any Malaysian or other historian. Indian traders had been known throughout South East Asia since historical times as as Kalingans. In Malaysia, ‘Kalingan’ has devolved to the insulting term ‘Keling’ which any self-respecting Malaysian Indian today would take exception to. Mani is also a fairly common south Indian name, short for Subramaniam, son of the Hindu God, Shiva, or even derived from a south Indian name like Skandamani. “Purindan” though is baffling, unless the Sejarah scribe confused Manipur Indran (Indran from Manipur; Indran - Hindu God of Rain, Lightning  and Thunder, and leader of the godly Devas) with Mani Purindan. 

Now, the story of a Muslim Raja and his elder Indian Tamil son, and younger Muslim son, raises some questions: 

1. Was Nizamul originally Indian Tamil at the time of Mani’s birth, converted later to Islam and divorced his Indian Tamil wife? In John Leyden’s version of the Sejarah, it says “Nizamul adopted the religion of Islam.” 

2. Was Nizamul originally Muslim, but had an Indian Tamil concubine or mistress (not unknown in the India of 16th century CE), which makes Mani an illegitimate son. 

Either of these two situations would have led to the dispute over inheritance. But, how likely is it that there was a Muslim Raja in the Coramandel region of India at that time? Not much, it would seem.

The beginning of the Mughal Dynasty of India started in 1526 CE with Babur’s victory over Sultan Ibrahim Lodi of Delhi at the first Battle of Panipat. That conquest was pretty much restricted to Afghanistan, Pakistan and Delhi in north-east and northern India, and is some 77 years after the death of Sultan Muzaffar Shah. A search on Indian history does not throw up the name of a Raja Nizamu’l-Muluk Akar Shah or his children. 

As opined by James Low, 19th century CE re-discoverer and translator of the Kedah Annals or Merong Mahawangsa (pre-12th century CE): 

“Hence, it is probable that the Kedah Annals were written in some Indian dialect until Islamism prevailed in Keddah when the previous order of things were subverted and Arabic characters were introduced!”

Elsewhere, according to Chapter 5 of the Sejarah, Parameswara’s (Sultan Iskandar Shah, as nowhere in the Sejarah does the name Parameswara crop up) grandfather Sri Rana Vikrama married Thalai Puchudi (literally ‘head adorned with flowers’ in Tamil), the exceptionally beautiful daughter of Jambuga Raja Mudaliar, son of Adirama Raja Mudaliar, son of Raja Cholan from Kalinga!! The richest man in Melaka at a later period was another Raja Mudaliar, a Kalingan who became Shahbandar (mayor, and excusably wrongly spelt in the Sejarah as Raja Mendaliar).

So, it seems likely that some Arabic or Muslim scholar cum scribe had been active with the Sejarah too.

Mani then returns to Kalinga from Pasai, commissions several new ships and once again sets sail for Melaka. There, he is granted an audience by Sultan Muhammad Shah who bestows upon him a title equal to the rank of a minister, (setting a precedence for PM Najib nowadays to recruit dubious opportunists for his office and the Senate). Mani marries Tun Ratna Sandari, the daughter of the Sri Nara Diraja, chief herald of the royal household. By her, Mani has two children, son Naina Madi and daughter Tun Rana Wati, who becomes another wife of the Bendahara Sri Amar Diraja of Melaka. Rana Wati and the Bendahara have a son, Tun Ali. 

Upon the Bendahara’s death, his son by another marriage, Sriwa Raja, succeeds him, while Tun Ali is elevated to Sri Nara Diraja. It would appear that either Sultan Muhammad Shah married Tun Rana Wati, or one Tun Wati or Tun Uti, the daughter of some other rich Indian trader in Melaka, resulting in the birth of a son Raja Kassim. Tun Ali is said to be Raja Kassim’s uncle!! 

The confusion arises from differing accounts in Raffles Ms18 and John Leyden’s version of events. CLICK HERE for one such link to Mani Purindan's family tree.

Intrigue upon intrigue then ensues in the royal court. Eventually, Sultan Muhammad Shah, at the behest of his Queen from Rekan, Sumatra, chooses their younger son Raja Ibrahim to succeed him. Raja Ibrahim and the Raja of Rekan who acts as Regent, are both killed in a palace uprising. The revolt is led by Ibrahim’s half-brother, Raja Kassim and supported by his uncle Tun Ali. Raja Kassim is crowned Sultan Muzaffar Shah. Sriwa Raja poisons himself when snubbed by the Sultan, and Tun Ali, the Sultan’s favourite, is elevated to the Bendahara’s post. 

After Mani Purindan’s death, Tun Ali is forced to resign his post in favour of Tun Perak, son of the unfortunate Sriwa Raja. Tun Perak’s sister, Tun Kudu, was Sultan Muzaffar Shah’s wife. The story goes that in exchange for agreeing to elevate Tun Perak to the Bendahara’s post, the Sultan agreed to divorce Tun Kudu and permit her to be married to the ageing and white-haired Tun Ali! 

These events are interpreted my Malay historians as being the result of growing Malay disenchantment over the influence of Tamils and Tamil Muslims at the royal court. The murdered Raja Ibrahim had crowned himself Raja Parameswara Dewa Shah, and was given the posthumous title Sultan Abu Shahid or the Martyred King! But the Tamil-Muslim-Malay intrigues continue well to the end of the 15th century.

Now the $64,000 questions:

1. In most places where Mani Purindan’s name appears in local blogs and academic papers, there is hardly any curiosity as to his origins. It looks like that might well be the case too, were it discovered that Columbus or Cook had landed in Melaka! No one has bothered to trace his origins to Kalinga in India or identify the city of Pahili. Why have our historians been sleeping on it? Why are they rushing with indecent haste to force-feed Islamic Civilisation Studies in school curricula, while refusing to touch with a ten foot pole the history that’s been lapping on our own shores? Would there be the same lethargy in our halls of academia if Mani Purindan had been say, an Abu Bakar from Medina? 

2. Mani Purindan must have been a brave adventurer and buccaneer of sorts, someone who must have had great charisma, charm, personality, stature and wealth so much so that he created the line of the new Raja’s of Pasai, and possibly, if Leyden’s translation is the correct one, part of the Melaka Royalty as well. Kings swooned before him; they could not wait to marry off their daughters to him, while nobleman queued up to offer their daughters’ hands in marriage. Not interesting enough?

3. Surely it stands to reason that the Sejarah’s accounts of Mani Purindan are glaringly incomplete? What, someone who was probably one of the wealthiest shippers and traders in Melaka 500 years ago, and who had connections to the Sultan, Bendaharas and noblemen, stood by quietly while intrigues involving his daughter and grandchildren ebbed and flowed all around the Royal Court of Melaka? Mani Purindan must have been a monk to have had that kind of fortitude and restraint. Doesn't stand to reason, does it? 

Why aren't the Sejarah Melayu (Malay Annals) and the much older Merong Mahawangsa (Kedah Annals) taught as part of our school curricula (literature)? The Kedah Annals tells us that Islam arrived in Malaya about 300 years before it established itself in Melaka and of  our links to India, China and possibly Persia (Raja of Rum). Surely, these old texts tell you a lot about our mixed heritage? And wouldn't that knowledge bring Malaysians closer together at a fraction of the cost of the abandoned and budge-overblown (RM100 million) '1Malaysia' and 'Endless Possibilities' nonsense of Najib and his con-sultans?

Where now are the professors emeritus (of some other story, not our true history) who have been selling us out? Where is their conscience resting? 

No, this mindless deliberate ignorance and re-writing of our history must stop. Now! 

Here are two links to articles I have written about Parameswara and that are also connected to the Sejarah Melayu: CLICK HERE and HERE.  


Donplaypuks at http://donplaypuks.blogspot.com

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Time that you wrote the New Sejarah Melayu, more complete and with better documentation/references, given now more information is available.