The Chronicle Of Tengger
The history : Tenggerese live around Bromo Mountain, East Java. They are the descendants of the Majapahit princes. Most of the entire population is centered in thirty villages in the isolated Tengger mountains within the Bromo-Tengger-Semeru national park in East-Central Java. The rest can be found in Pasuruan, Probolinggo, Malang and Lumajang districts of East Java.
Dates back to the Majapahit kingdom, during the reign of King Brawijaya, involving the queen of the Kingdom giving birth to a daughter named Roro Anteng, who married Jaka Seger, a young man from the Brahmin Caste.
According to the legend, Roro Anteng and Jaka Seger were among many others who fled from the already tattering Majapahit kingdom during the 15th century, when the Islamic religion was gaining followers rapidly. The couple later settled in the Tengger mountains and ruled the region jointly under the title Purbawisesa Mangkurat Ing Tengger.(see wikipedia for more info).
Back to the Present Time : Sunrise was unable to dispelled the cold climate around the hills of Tengger. It’s getting colder when The mist swirling inbetween the trees and covered much of the hills view. Still, around the road that bound to the rice field at the slope of the mountain you can find the Tenggerese walking around, they don’t seems to care about the mist and cold air. Some of them clean down their horses before rented to tourists around the Bromo crater.
In the hammoc of the beautiful Mother Nature, since long time ago the Tenggerese is known as a tribe who always live in peace and harmony. Time moves fast in there. Enchanted by its beauty, Robert W Hefner – an American writer and researcher – wrote in his book “These Javanese hinterland have an extraordinary moral and social concern; the lesson I learned from their inter social relationship had challenge my American personality“, (Geger Tengger: Perubahan Sosial dan Perkelahian Politik – 1990).
The quiet and peaceful situation, supported by ancestor cultural belief is the main reason why this place almost free from any kind of crime. There’s a dogma about “walat”, it’s simillar like “karma”. Sujai, the coordinator of Tenggerese Medicine Man ilustrated walat with these sentence “sopo njupuk jarum kudu mbalekno kapak” (whoever stole a needle, it must be replaced with an axe).
The Struggle, Hindu versus buddha : Take closer, dig a little deeper… the quiet and peaceful situation in Tengger may not as real as it looks. Since long time ago, even until now an inter religion dispute among Hindu, Buddha, Islam and a small Christian community can make people sweat in a cold air. This conflict may not be seen from the surface but people of Tengger had already struggle with it for a very long time.
In 1960, the Tengger tribe was known as Buddhist-Tengger or Buddho-Tengger. The term of Buddho-Tengger means the cultural belief of Tengger Tribe is a varian of Budhis Religion. The leaders of Buddhism claimed that the Tenggerese cultural belief can be classified as Buddhism according to the inscription of Parameswara Pura that was found in Sapi Kerep village. That inscription was made during the Buddhist kingdom (Sri Kertanegara).
And then, 1973. The Indonesian government decreed that the cultural belief of Tenggerese was a part of Hinduism because their rituals, offering and deities mostly derived from Veda.
Government policies by slow degree replaced the “Budho-Tengger” term with Hindu Tengger. Yes indeed.. the Buddhist couldn’t accept that, they didn’t want to be converted into Hindu. So the conflict begun..
Islam : In Wonokerto village, Sukapura District, - Probolinggo Residence, all of the population in there are moslem. Yet, that village is still part of Tenggerese Tribe. They also claimed that the Tenggerese were part of moslem according to the Chentini epistle. Then, another worse thing happened… people tend to hate each other because they have different beliefs.
The Balinese: There’s another problem. The conversion of cultural belief into Hinduism triggered another ambition from Hindu Leaders in Bali. They wanted to infiltrate Balinese culture into Tenggerese. Maybe it’s a kind of vanity… they thought that only Balinese culture that have a perfect Hinduism rituals.
It’s a never ending cultural warfare. I could write more and maybe add a few detil about history of Tengger. But I won’t do that, I prefer to watch this cultural battle… I’m a bad guy, I will bow down to the winner…