MANTE THE LOST PYGMY TRIBE
Krueng Sabee River approximately three kilometers south of the town of Calang (Aceh Jaya district capital) has a specific sandy, white sand beach. Sometimes when the dry season flows into a shallow river raises the sand dune as the beach in the middle of the river. At the beginning of the 20th century, the river flow as told by the village’s parents is still clear, the surrounding river is still covered with virgin forests that connect the mountains of Seulawah in the North to Leuser in the South, even if withdrawn. The connection to the southern tip of Sumatra encompasses the whole range of the Bukit Barisan Mountains. On the sand dune, if stuck in the form of twigs and foliage when lifted there are fresh shrimp or fish. Nature gave everything at that time.
Nekmi (my grandmother) recounted as told by Neknyang (great-grandmother) that one morning, some of the children of Mon Mata village wanted to see “Aneuk Lacoe” which maybe our current language equivalent is dwarf or hobbit. They weave some rattan into a bracelet, then they throw the bracelets on the sand beach in the middle of the river and hide towards the farther. For a long time, they hid until almost bored, suddenly from a distance appeared some dwarves who were just treated, they had fun with the bracelet. Put it into the hand then to the foot. They are so excited about the toy.
“Aneuk Lacoe” is a sight that is magical, as well as amazing for the children of Mon Mata village, they are believed to have the magic and ability to talk to animals in the forest. But unlike other tribes in Aceh, they do not mix and choose to avoid civilization. The size of “Aneuk Lacoe” was according to eyewitness accounts never reached one meter, mostly just as high as the five-year-old toddler. But do not question their ability, so heard footsteps or broken twigs trampled they will soon escape into the forest. They can only look from a distance without ever getting close.
There is a saying in the area of Krueng Sabee and its surroundings if there is a small child or person who is not dressed it will be referred to as “aneuk lacoe”. The appearance of Dwarves or Hobbits is not only happening in Sabang Krueng area, to the South where there are other great rivers such as Krueng Teunom River, Krueng Woyla, Krueng Seunagan and many other rocky rivers, by residents around in those years. People in the South call them Bante people. They are later popularly called Mante people.
In the 1940s the people of Mante could no longer see down the rivers on the west coast of Aceh.
The origins of Acehnese and its development.
H.M. Zainuddin was a poet (and author of romance Jeumpa Aceh) as well as a historian in his monumental “Tarikh Aceh dan Nusantara” which first appeared in 1961 called the nation of Aceh belonging to the Malay nation, namely the nations: Mante (Bante) Lanun , Sakai Jakun, Semang (sea people), Sanun and others. All of these nations are ethnically connected to the Phunia in Babylonia and the Dravidas in the Indus and Ganges river valleys.
He added the information Mante people, especially the people of Aceh Besar. According to the story of the old people (myth), the place of his position in the village of Seumileuk called Kampung Rumoh Dua Blah (Hometown of twelve), lies on the Seulimeum between Jantho village with Tangse. Seumileuk means broad land. This Mante nation breeds the whole of Aceh Tiga Segi valley and then moves to other places.
As for the valleys of Aceh Besar (Aceh Tiga Segi) when Indrapuri and Tanoh Abee became a Hindu dwelling places. Blang Bintang, Ulee Kareng, Lam Baro, Lam Ateuk, Lam Nyong, Tungkop, Lam Nga, Tibang and others are the high seas. And according to Myth, if people want to do Hajj then in Aneuk Glee, Montasik. There, the sailors stopped by to pick up water. The location of the village of Montasik is now the edge of the sea, while the Ateuk Village which comes from the word “Gateuk” is a crab of land that lives in saltwater (brackish) adjacent to the sea. The biggest market around Kuta Masah is above Indrapuri. According to the information, it can be assured that until the 8th century AD beach or coastal Aceh Besar near Indrapuri and Tanoh Abee near the foothills of the line, and is a beautiful bay landscape. If today the geographical location has changed due to the shift of the earth itself. Until now the livelihood of the Acehnese was wandering can not be explained by H.M. Zainuddin.
History of Mante
A complete historical record of the Mante tribe was composed by Dada Meuraksa entitled “Ungkapan Sejarah Aceh” in 1975. As he confessed, he continued the work of his father Tuanku Raja Keumala who died in 1930. According to Dada Meuraksa, the Mante dynasty was the oldest known dynasty. The Mante Kingdom is based in Seumileuk, the inland Seulimeum between Jantho, still within the Sagi XXII Mukim area. Mante’s words come from Mantenia or Mantinea, a city in Greece, where the inhabitants are called Mantinean. In the 14th century BC (and beyond for about 3 centuries) they made the migration of the people from the North to the warmer regions of the South. They came to Greece originally inhabited the southern island of Crete, Thessalia, calling their tribe Achaea. In the 12th century BC, they were expelled by the Doris tribe, then they moved, part of the North Peloponnesus region, partly to Asia Minor (Turkey), and others to central Asia (the valley of the Caucasus).
Those who moved into the Caucasus valley then wandered east through Chaibar Pas (a gulf between two mountains on the border of Afghanistan and India) they reached northern India and assimilated with the inhabitants there. Then they continued their wanderings eastward to Tennosering on the border of Burma with Siam, they were assimilated again with Man Khmer, the ancestral of Cambodia and Campa.
Then they continued their wandering to the South by crossing the Strait of Malacca. They reached the island of Perca (Sumatra) and established the Kingdom of Mante with its headquarters in Seumileuk. That is a strategic place to get a gold source at the foot of the Golden Mountain located on a branch of a branch that is three branches (in Tangse), namely: Krueng Aceh River, Krueng Woyla (Tutut), and Krueng Keumala. Seumileuk includes the valley of Krueng Aceh, and possibly the name of the valley of Aceh (Aceh Raya), Krueng Aceh, and Acehnese people derived from the name of their tribe Achaia.
The kings of the Mante dynasty who ruled and reigned in the valley of Great Aceh were not entirely known. According to an existing record, we know the king named “Maharaja Po Tuah Meuri”. The previous kings can not be known. After Maharaja Po Tuan Meuri ruled his offspring according to a straight line connecting connections were: Maharaja Ok Meugumbak, Maharaja Jagat, Maharaja Dumet, Maharani Putro Budian. Until here ends the Mante dynasty. And history ceases to record the Mante tribe.
Maharani Putro Budian married Maharaja Po Liang, a Campa nobleman from Indochina who came to Aceh with his entourage because his country was attacked by a stronger enemy. He sought the homeland while developing the Buddhist Hinayana sect Mantrayana. After marrying Queen Mante he managed to bring Buddhism to Aceh, and finally, he was appointed as the first King Lamuri.
The Po Liang dynasty that ruled the kingdom of Aceh Lamuri according to Dada Meuraksa notes is as follows:
- Maharaja Po Liang. King Lamuri Buddha I.
- Maharaja Beuransah. King Lamuri Buddha II. (Child number 1).
- Maharaja Beureuman. King Lamuri Buddha III. (Child number 2).
- Maharaja Binsih. King Lamuri Buddha IV. (Child number 3).
- Maharaja Lam Teuba, King Lamuri Islam I, mahzab syi’ah. He is a famous King for his courage, his justice, his intelligence, and especially for welcoming Islam brought and preached to him by a Prophet’s sons of the Prophet s.a.w. (754 AD).
- Maharaja Gading. Second Shia Islam (786 AD). Son no.5 and grandson no.4.
- Maharaja Banda Chairullah. Third Shi’a Islam (822 AD). Son no.6.
- Maharaja Cut Samah. Shi’ite Islam IV (870 AD). Son no.7.
- Maharaja Cut Madin. Shia Islam to V (916 AD). Son no.8.
- Maharaja Cut Malim. Shia Islam to VI (963 AD). Son no.9.
- Maharaja Cut Seudang. Shia Islam to VII (1034 AD). Son no.10.
- Maharaja Cut Samlako. Shia Islam to VIII (1082 AD). Child no.11.
- Maharaja Cut Ujo. Shia Islam to IX (1113 AD). Son no.12.
- Maharaja Cut Wali. Shia Islam to X (1144 AD). Child no.13.
- Maharaja Cut Ubit. Shiite Islam to XI (1171 AD). Child no.13 and sister no.14.
- Maharaja Cut Dhiet. Shiite Islam to XII (1185 AD). Son no.15.
- Maharaja Cut Umbak. Shia Islam to XIII (1201 CE). Son no.16.
- Maharani Putro Ti Seuno. Shia Islam to XIV (1235 AD). Son no.17.
So ended the Lamuri Kingdom from the Po Liang dynasty, Maharani Putro Ti Seuno married Johan Syah, who later became the Sultan of Alaidin Johan Syah, the first Lamuri king of Islam from the Ahlussunnah Wal Jamaah (1205-1235 AD). The names of the kings of the Mante and Po Liang dynasties were obtained by Dada Meuraksa from a copy of the T. Raja Muluk Attahasi manuscript, a descendant of ancient Acehnese, as well as the year numbers. Thus began the Alaidin dynasty to lead the reign of Aceh which later changed from Lamuri to Aceh Darussalam.
The disappearance of the Mante tribe from the cosmopolitan center of Aceh is still mysterious, allegedly some of them chose to wander the depths of the wilderness when Aceh began to embrace Buddhism in the early Po Liang dynasty.
Pride of Mante Tribe
Based on the storied saga, the Mante tribe was arrested during the time of Sultan Alaidin Ali Mughayat Shah (1514-1530). Two Mante arrested then, allegedly they are husband and wife. After being arrested they do not want to talk or eat and choose to starve to death. Sultan Ali Mughayat Shah regretted and mourned the death of these two Mante and issued orders to the people of Aceh not to disturb them.
The existence of the Mante tribe in the hinterland of Aceh became the debate of many parties, some belief or not. Maybe there’s a cynic who thinks of it as a fairy tale. For the people of Aceh, their existence is like a legend or a myth, because few have ever met them. Mante tribe itself is included in the tribe Proto Melayu (Old Malay), which is estimated extinct.
Rediscovering the Mante tribe?
In his book, De Atjehers. Snouck Hurgronye noted though he himself claimed to have never met the tribe. Several witnesses claimed to have seen Mante and said that the tribe is often found in the hinterlands of Lokop East Aceh and in Tangse Pidie. Snouck Hurgronye himself interpreted Mante as a term for the behavior of stupidity and childishness.
The Mante tribe has chosen to leave civilization to the forest. If we remember the message of Sultan Alaidin Ali Mughayat Shah what is the benefit of disturbing them? Modern times may be cruel, the fate of the Mante tribe as well as the various flora and fauna in the forest, they are powerless in the face of incessant corporations and conglomerates to erode their habitat. Oil palm plantations, rubber, and even the most disgusting are deforestations by large companies, especially under the guise of oil palm and rubber plantations. Massive gold mining, gas, and forest exploration have urged them. The greedy people are eyeing profits in order to pursue economic benefits. But is life solely about wealth and greed?
When the leaders of Aceh born of democracy turn a blind eye to mere money, the Mante tribe is bound to become extinct! And we miss an Alaidin Ali Mughayat Shah.
Nekmi recalled one-day Neknyang tells with sparkling eyes, that when moans of the Mante tribe laughed happily with their rattan bracelets. Their loud voice is so strange that the children of the village of Mata Mata peering from a distance move back and hold their breath. They are happy for the happiness of those who are different. A breathtaking sight, and the slow, foaming flow of the Krueng Sabee river rattling into the ocean. How beautiful.
TRANSLATE FROM: HIKAYAT SUKU MANTE
- CUMBOK WAR, A SOCIAL REVOLUTION IN ACEH (1946-1947); 8 April 2017;
- CIVILIZATION WITHOUT WRITING; 13 April 2017;
- ACEH THE FIRST SOVEREIGN COUNTRY TO RECOGNIZING THE INDEPENDENCE OF THE NETHERLANDS; 27 April 2017;
- VISITING THE EXHIBITION ACEH TOMBSTONE AS AN ISLAMIC CULTURAL HERITAGE IN SOUTH-EAST ASIA; 16 May 2017;
- DUTCH RAID OPERATION AGAINST CUT MEUTIA (1910); 20 May 2017;
- SAMUDERA PASAI AS THE FIRST ISLAMIC KINGDOM IN SOUTHEAST ASIA; 6 June 2017;
- ISLAMIC SHARIAH WHO IS AFRAID, A CASE STUDY IN ACEH; 13 June 2017;
- ACEH WOMEN FULL POWER; 13 June 2017;
- DUSK IN MALACCA; 4 July 2017;
- GOLD, INFIDELS, AND DEATH; 10 July 2017;
- HOW TO TELL HISTORY; 14 August 2017;
- THE ORIGIN OF THE COFFEE CULTURE IN ACEH; 19 August 2017;
- THE UNTOLD STORY ABOUT HISTORY OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF INDONESIA IN ACEH PROVINCE; 28 September 2017;
- WHEN CRITICISM IS FORBIDDEN; 14 October 2017;
- EXPLOITATION OF NATURAL RESOURCES, WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR ACEH; 5 November 2017;
- PEUCUT KHERKOFF, ACEH-DUTCH WAR MONUMENT; 12 November 2017;
- THE PRICE OF FREEDOM; 5 December 2017;
- ACEH CRAZY OR ACEH PUNGO; 25 February 2018;
- MARSOSE CORPS, THE DUTCH SPECIAL ARMY DURING ACEH WAR; 19 March 2018;
- ISLAMIC POLITICS BY SNOUCK HURGRONJE AS ADVICE TO DUTCH INDIES GOVERNMENT TO REDUCE ISLAM POWER IN INDONESIA; 9 July 2018;