Saturday, 5 March 2011

Laksamana Bentan dan Puteri Dang Anum

This Sumatran warrior along with his wife forms a classic story in Malay court history.

Laksamana Bentan was a warrior and had served under Sultan Mahmud II of old Johor. He was away on duty (war against straits pirates) when his pregnant wife was murdered for having eaten a slice of jackfruit (seulas buah nangka) from the royal garden belonging to the young sultan (about 24 years). Her womb was cut open to reveal  her unborn child indeed had the jackfruit in its mouth. Of course upon his return from duty, the Laksamana was angry when he found out his pregnant wife (and child?) was murdered and wanted to revenge.

The opportunity to revenge arose when both were on the way to Friday prayers. The sultan was being lifted (dijulang) before his dais was brought down to the ground. The sultan was ambushed and the Laksamana stabbed the sultan while being held high (dijulang). Before the sultan fell he managed to stab the Laksamana, and cursed that the Laksamana's people would vomit blood should they step on Kota Tinggi soil, and that the curse would last for seven generations.

Both Sultan Mahmud II and Laksamana Bentan died but were buried separately in Kota Tinggi. Sultan Mahmud II was buried in a royal mausoleum named Makam Sultan Mahmud II Mangkat Dijulang while Laksamana Bentan and his wife were buried side-by-side in a lesser mausoleum in Kampung Kelantan by Sungai Kemang, Kota Tinggi, Johor. All their tombstones have yellow cloths to mark their royal ancestry.

Sultan Mahmud Shah II or the 10th Sultan Johor (Raja Mahmud; born 1675; reigned 1685-1699), grandson of Sultan Alauddin Riayat Shah II, the first Raja who opened Johor Lama (old Johor) in 1530. Raja Mahmud was only 10 years old when he became Sultan Mahmud. As such the administration was placed under the Bendahara. He died of stab wounds on Friday, August 1699. He was 24 when he died. His name after death was styled Marhum Mangkat Dijulang or Marhum Kota Tinggi. He was buried at Makam Sultan Mahmud Mangkat Dijulang in Kampung Makam, Kota Tinggi, Johor. 
Laksamana Bentan @ Megat Seri Rama also suffered from stab wounds and died. He was buried nearby in Kampung Kelantan, Sungai Kemang in Kota Tinggi. He hailed from Bentan, Sumatra. He had served as an admiral in Sultan Mahmud Shah II's fleet (1685-1699).

Map of locations of the tombs of Sultan Mahmud Mangkat Dijulang, Laksamana Bentan and Dang Anum in Kota Tinggi, Johor:

Map of locations of Pulau Bintan (Pulau Bentan), Riau Islands, Indonesia and Kota Tinggi, Johor:


Laksamana Bentan was Megat Seri Rama. Both he and wife were from Pulau Bentan and were of royal Bugis extraction.

A 7th generation male descended from Puteri Dang Anum had recently died outside Johor - he was an early Malay doctor; one is still surviving but not on Malay soil. Puteri Dang Anum is survived by males of her 8th and 9th generations today.