Sunday, July 7, 2013

Puputan Badung, The Battle to the Death

The Puputan Klungkung Monument at Klungkung, Bali.

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta, September 26 2002
It all started when the merchant ship Sri Komala ran aground on Sanur beach on May 27, 1904. The owner of the ship, a Chinese trader, accused the Sanur people of looting the ship, and later reported the incident to the Dutch colonial government in Batavia (Jakarta).
The Dutch colonial government admonished Badung King Cokorde Made for the incident and demanded he pay 3,000 ringgit in compensation to the trader. The king vehemently refused to do so, stressing that the people of Sanur had been wrongfully accused. He highlighted the fact that the people of Sanur had, under oath, stated their innocence.
A sea blockade by Dutch warships aimed at economically crippling the kingdom failed to intimidate the young king and he refused to change his mind.
On July 17, 1906, the Dutch Governor General in Batavia (Jakarta), Van Heutz, sent another letter to Cokorde Made. In the letter, Van Heutz once again reminded the king of his government's demand, increased the demanded compensation to 5,173 ringgit, and warned the king of possible military action if the he failed to meet all the demands by Sept. 1, 1906.
On Sept. 12, 1906 the Dutch fleet of 16 warships with 2,312 soldiers on board arrived at Sanur. Major General Rost Van Toningen was the commanding officer of the fleet and troops. He sent an ultimatum to the king, in which Toningen gave the king 24 hours to surrender. Cokorde Made flatly refused the ultimatum on Sept. 13.
The Dutch battalions made their first move on Sept. 14 by occupying Sanur beach. The first major clash between the Dutch and the royal troops of Badung took place the next day. The royal troops of Badung were led by I Gusti Ngurah Gede Kesiman of the House of Kesiman.
On the three days of Sept. 16, 17, and 18, the Dutch battalions under the protection of their warships' heavy artillery inflicted heavy losses on the royal troops of Badung. Sanur, Intaran, Tanjung Bungkak, and Panjer fell to the Dutch, and I Gusti Ngurah Gede Kesiman was killed. On Sept. 18, the Dutch intensified it's shelling of Puri (palace) Denpasar and Puri Pemecutan. It's cannons fired at least 216 shells that day.
At 15:30 pm on Sept. 19 the Dutch battalions captured Puri Kesiman. One kilometer to the west, at Puri Denpasar, the royal family was holding a Palebon (cremation) ceremony for the king's deceased older brother I Gusti Gde Ngurah Denpasar, and a Mepandes (tooth filling) ceremony for the king himself.
Early in the morning of Sept. 20, 1906, Dutch shells fell on Puri Denpasar with such intensity that 60 shells severely damaged the puri, once so majestic and beautiful that the poet Ida Bagus Made Sidemen composed the Kakawin Cayadijaya to praise it. By 9 a.m., the Dutch soldiers had managed to penetrate the royal troops' defenses in Sumerta and Kayumas and thus entered Denpasar.
Cokorde Made gathered his relatives and what was left of his royal troops before ordering them to burn Puri Denpasar to the ground. The King's entourage, comprised of around 500 people -- men, women, children -- dressed in the ceremonial white costume and carried various weapons, then moved to the north of the puri to meet the enemy.
All of them had agreed to join their king in staging a puputan, a battle to the death, and each of them had been sprinkled with Tirta Pangentas, holy water usually reserved only for the dead.
At high noon, the king led the charge against the enemy only to be cut down by the Dutch's superior weaponry. Those who were wounded dragged themselves to the spot, where the dead body of Cokorde Made, their king, lied, before stabbing themselves to death. Those, who were not able to lift their weapons, were stabbed by their friends. A pile of dead bodies soon formed around the body of Cokorde Made.
The second royal entourage, led by the 12-year-old crown prince Cokorde Alit Ngurah -- the step-brother of Cokorde Made -- was also being mowed down by the Dutch.
By 13:30 p.m. the Dutch captured Puri Denpasar. Four and a half hour later, Puri Pemecutan, the last bastion of the Badung kingdom, fell into the hand of the invading troops. Prior to that, the aged I Gusti Gde Ngurah Pemecutan of the House of Pemecutan and his relatives were killed when staging a similar puputan battle.

This monument is at the major cross-road of Klungkung.  I have no idea of what the ceremony the local people dressed in white was holding during our visit.  The Metha Gosa Pavilion is at one side of the monument and the Puputan Klungkung Monument is on the other side.  All I can see from the story is all the bodies piled around the last king of the last Balinese Kingdom were all dress in white.

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