weblogUpdates.ping Taneak Jang, Rejang Land, Tanah Rejang http://rejang-lebong.blogspot.com Taneak Jang, Rejang land, Tanah Rejang: Besemah, South Sumatra

Besemah, South Sumatra

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The initial setting for this narrative is Palembang from whence Atong Bungsu sets off to make a pilgrimage to Mount Dempo to encounter his heavenly stepfather, Ngawak Raje Nyawah, the Holy King of Souls, who promises him that he will found a ‘world’ in the deep jungle surrounding the mountain. Atong Bungsu returns to Palembang and eventually marries the Princess of the Surf Foam, the daughter of the King of the Sea Spirits, who is his mother’s brother and also King of Benua Kling (India). They have a child, Bujang Jawe, who is particularly naughty and upsets the King of Benua Kling. As a result, Atong Bungsu and his family return to Palembang with a retinue and numerous heirlooms. Throughout the narrative, Atong Bungsu distinguishes himself by his marvellous ability to fish. In Sumatra, he sets off with a scale (timbang ayek) to determine which river has the heaviest water. Finally he finds a river in the jungle with numerous semah-fish. This becomes the land of Besemah. However, he discovers that there are Rejang people living upstream who have planted coconuts and established a village. To establish his claim to precedence, Atong Bungsu goes to Majapahit and gathers debris and refuse, along with coconut trees that are past bearing fruit. He plants these old trees and scatters refuse as evidence that he has been at his site for a long time. He also brings with him from Majapahit a handful of earth. He then challenges the Rejang people who point to their coconuts as evidence that they had first settled the area. The Raja of Majapahit (Raje Jawe Majapahit) is called upon to settle their dispute. He examines the two settlements and decides that Atong Bungsu’s settlement is older. However, to secure his rights, Atong Bungsu is called upon to swear an oath. To avoid the dire consequences of swearing a false oath, Atong Bungsu places the earth from
Majapahit in the handle of his walking stick, and then swears by the earth that he is holding — not the earth that he is walking upon — that the earth is his. He wins his case and his precedence is acknowledged. The Rejang people are forced to leave the land, which becomes that of Atong Bungsu and his descendants.

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