Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Bubat Tragedy, Gajah Mada’s Machiavellian Ambition
Venue: Bubat Square, time: some days in 1357 CE. The visitor party led by Linggabuana, the King of the Sunda (Kawali) Kingdom in person, just arrived in Bubat Square. They accompanied Princess Dyah Pitaloka Citraresmi, the King’s daughter and the royal bride of Hayam Wuruk, the king of Majapahit. Before arriving at the wedding ceremony in the capital city of Majapahit they rested on Bubat Square and welcomed by Vice Emperor Gajah Mada.
Hayam Wuruk adored Princess Dyah Pitaloka very much and wanted to marry her after he saw by chance her beautiful picture displayed before the public while making an inspection around the capital city. The picture was made by a famous painter named Prabangkara who brought it from Kawali to Majapahit.
Apart from adoring the Princess’ beauty, Hayam Wuruk was longing to make the two kingdoms relationship even closer as Raden Wijaya, his grandfather and also the founding father of Majapahit, was descendant of Sunda Kingdom . Such inter-kingdom marriage would make Majapahit become more influential upon Sunda Kingdom.
But Gajah Mada had a hidden agenda in his own. Long before Hayam Wuruk was installed as a king (1350-1389), Gajah Mada had already become the most powerful warlord of Majapahit. In 1336, he made a famous oath declaring that he would never eat “palapa” before he could conquer all kingdoms in Nusantara (Archipelago) which included tbut not limited to hose of Sunda, Gurun, Seram, Tanjung Pura, Haru, Pahang, Dompo, Bali, Palembang and Tumasik (now Singapore).
When Gajah Mada saw the arrival of the royal wedding party, he made his own Machi avellian trick to fulfill his unfinished oath. All kingdoms in the Archipelago but Sunda had surrendered to Majapahit. Without due further consideration, he told his guest that for him Sunda Kingdom was a mere subordinate of Majapahit and, therefore, the princess would not be received as a bride but only as a tribute to the King.
Obviously King Linggabuana and his entourages were very furious and felt insulted. Although they were outnumbered the visitor party bravely launched a battle against Gajah Mada special troops resulting in their total annihilation. King Linggabuana and all his entourages were killed in action while the princess made solemn suicide as a kind of respect to her noble entourages.
Hayam Wuruk lamented the dead of Dyah Pitaloka and her entourage . He regretted this tragedy and sent Bali delegation, which happened to be in Majapahit to witness the historical inter-kingdom marriage, to convey an apology to Mangkubumi Suradipati the acting king of Kawali Kingdom .
Since then, Hayam Wuruk relationship with Gajah Mada became tenuous. Gajah Mada faced suspicion and condemnation from the officers and nobles of Majapahit considering his actions as reckless and careless. He was blamed too sassy with no heed to the wishes and feelings of the Crown, the King Hayam Wuruk.
This unfortunate event also marked the decline of Gajah Mada’s career. Hayam Wuruk bestowed on him a piece of land (now Probolinggo), which was very far from the capital city of Majapahit, as a subtle hint that Gajah Mada should begin to withdraw from the political affairs of Majapahit and ask for early retirement.
Prince Wastu Kancana then 9 years old – the younger brother of Princess Pitaloka who remained in Kawali Palace and did not join his family to Majapahit – the only surviving of royal family. He ascended the throne in 1371 as King Niskalawastu Kancana and broke off diplomatic relations with Majapahit applying limited isolation vis-a-vis the relationship between the two kingdoms.
b. Since Wastu Kencana was still young, he was represented by his uncle who was also his future father-in-law as the king of Kawali.
c. Hayam Wuruk instructed his officers to record all these events which was then called as the Hymn of Sundayana (in Bali is known as the Sunda Geguritan) to commemorate the sad affair as a lesson learnt.