Sunday, November 21, 2010

Haji Tubagus Chasan Sochib The jawara, Pendekar from Banten

The Jawara and Pencak Silat Culture
The Sundanesse term Jawara points to central tensions within pencak silat culture between issues of knowledges, power, authority and criminality. In common usage the world jawara has the meaning of a”champion”, an expert at fighting, or indeed anyone who has made a name for themselves in a particular field. In contemporary Sundanese society it is often interchanged with jago, jeger, garong and preman, covering a range of meanings from ‘champion’ and ‘tough’ through to ‘robber’ and ‘ hoodlum’.

The Pendekar is the pinnacle of pencak silat culture. Traditionaly it has been an honorific title conferred by society upon a master, not only due to martial skill, but also attributes. More recently the term has become an official title conferred by IPSI (Ikatan Pencak Silat Indonesia). The development of a hierarchical grading system among modern perguruan, modeled largely upon the Japanesse belt system, awards the title to those who have achieved a high level technical proficiency in a particular style. In both cases there has been a secularization of a title that has traditionally had semi-religious connotations. Unlike ‘jawara’, it has remained devoid of connotations of criminality. The pendekar was a repected pillar of the community, and in the ideal a living embodiment of traditional values : [The pendekar is] an example of wise and noble human, a moral and virtuous human, a leader who devout perceptive, trustworthy, reliable and swift.

Within jawara culture in Banten there is also a differentiation between “Black magic” and “white Magic” jawar. Those who traced a lineage to past jawara and sought to continue it through their own offspring were ‘white’, whereas those with no identifiable lineage were ‘black’. The existence of a lineage was crucial to the legitimization of jawara
Within his community. The lineage acted as a type of ‘contract’ of accountability to pre-esthablished norms. The linking thread between the two types of jawara was the possession of supernatural power (Sd:kasakten). To have supranatural power meant to also have political and social power.

The ambivalent attitude shown by villager towards the often-excessive behavior of the jawara was perhaps due to ideas regarding power as something homogenous and constant. From this perspective the jawara was someone to fear and respect, but not judge. Howoever considering the the differentiation made between ‘black and ‘white’ jawara it seems likely that the ‘ambivalence’ was a survival strategy. Those who informed on or resisted the demands of the jawara were dealt with harshly. With nowhere to turn. Except perhaps other jawara, villagers often had little choice but to acquiesce. Illegality has always been considered as part and parce of jawara culture. Whilst the pendekar, who may start out as a jawara, was also a man of power, he was one who had transcended the self-interest (Ind:pamrih) that dominates the jawara.

The jawara, Pendekar Banten and ‘management à la Banten’

Persatuan Persilatan Pendekar dan Seni Budaya Banten Indonesia (PPPSBBI) is the most influential armed organization of the Banten province (Indonesia). According to its leader, H. Tubagus Chasan Sochib, it is composed of 500000 local martial art (penca) practitioners, located in 15 provinces. The organization is managed by 300 « strong men » (jawara), who have the status of contractors and who coordinate enterprises in the domains of tourism, industries, real estate, roads and irrigation.

To understand the process that has led to the creation of Pendekar Banten, we have to consider the characteristics of the region historically. Revolts against the authority of outside oppressors have been commonplace in Banten. These revolts were encouraged by local religious authorities (kiai and ulama) and spread by jawara.

During President Suharto‘s New Order regime (1965-1998), PPPSBBI was formed to consolidate and unite potential sites of resistance to the authority of the state. Local jawara and ulama were co-opted into the New Order‘s political party, Golkar. With the formation of the organization, local jawara were brought together in support of national sovereignty. Chasan, the Bantenese jawara of the jawara, was appointed to unite contested loyalties in support for the central leadership of the New Order regime. His deep magic knowledge (ilmu batin), his skills in martial art (penca) and invulnerability attract Allah‘s favors (wahyu) and set his notoriety among bantenese people. Chasan contributed to the creation of the Banten province status in 2000, and his daughter, Ratu Atut Chosiyah is the Banten current governor.

The development of PPPSBBI‘s commercial and financial activities is mainly based at the micro level upon a « management à la Banten ». According H. Chasan‘s perspective, bantenese people efforts and hard work will help the province to impose itself as a model for Indonesia. Taking up this way of managing, comparing armed battle to Jihad, mobilizing charismatic religious figures, the organization justifies its position and politics.

H. Chasan uses to legitimate his authority and the ideological aspects of conceptions of Bantesese identity that draw on tradition, bravery, courage and honor.


Referensi:
- Ian Douglas Wilson, The Politics of Inner Power: The Practice of Pencak Silat in west Java, School of Asian Studies Murdoch University, Wester Australia, 2002
- Gabriel Facal, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, ASEASUK CONFERENCE SWANSEA 11-13 SEPT, 2009


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