Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Ending the Controversy of Majapahit Downfall

The 1478 CE which corresponds to 1400 Saka year marks the downfall of Majapahit Empire known through the famous chronogram written in Kawi as “sirna ilang kertaning bumi”, encodes 0041.  Everybody agrees with this fact but when it comes to the question on who attacked Majapahit at that very time, then a big confusion starts to arise.
There are two versions on this very important milestone for Indonesian history which make it look messy. Some people, mostly Javanese, believe in what Babad Tanah Jawi narrated that it was Raden Patah, the Sultan of Demak, who attacked and destroyed Majapahit, then under the ruler of Brawijaya V,  Raden Patah’s own father a).

Others believe that it was Girindrawardhana Dyah Ranawijaya, the ruler of Daha, who defeated the king Brawijaya V. He did that as the retaliation toward Brawijaya V who toppled down his father the then King of Majapahit Singawikramawardhana in 1468.
Ranawijaya succeeded his father who died in 1474.  After toppling down Majapahit b)he declared himself as the king of Wilwatika (Majapahit), Jenggala and Kediri, in which Daha was chosen as the capital c).
The fact that Ranawijaya was the ruler of Wilwatika-Jenggala-Kediri can be verified in Jiyu and Perak stony inscriptions made in 1486 (10 years after the downfall) that the signatory of the inscription was Dyah Ranawijaya entitled Sri Wilwatikta Jenggala Kediri. Furthermore, the inscription declared the donation of Trailokyapuri to Sri Brahmaraja Ganggadhara for his support to topple down Majapahit (Brawijaya V).
This declaration clearly proved that the downfall of Majapahit was the result of Ranawijaya attack which was supported by Sri Brahmaraja. The act of Ranawijaya toppling down Brawijaya V was the climax of so many internal conflicts occurred among the royal family after the dead of Hayam Wuruk in 1389 which gravely deteriorating Majapahit Empire.
The writer of Babad Tanah Jawi had certainly confused on picking up one of the battles against Majapahit as the mark of its downfall. In fact there happened several battles against Majapahit, the one of which was that of 1400 Saka (1478 CE) mentioned previously. The others happened in 1517 through 1527, this time were launched by Demak against Daha  after Daha’s had attempted to collaborate with Portuguese d) .which would endangered Demak sovereign.
After being defeated in the first two battles, under the command of  Adipati Unus, Demak troops launched the last battle which was the fiercest and the bloodiest of all. It was a coup de grace for the Wilwatika-Jenggala-Kediri Kingdom and annihilated the Hindu Kingdom’s existence in Java.
All the riches of Majapahit were seized and brought to Demak. Majapahit people who did not want to subdue under the rule of Demak fled away to the eastern tip of Java and Bali. These episodes were recorded and narrated in the historical note of Pigafetta from Italy and by Tome Pires.in his famous Suma Oriental.
It was possible that the authors of Babad Tanah Jawi, who wrote it more than 200 years after the events, had lost the detailed information and confusedly identified the Demak’s attack against Daha, the capital of Wilwatika-Jenggala-Kediri in 1527  with that of Ranawijaya’s attack against Majapahit in 1478.
With all of those evidences, mainly with the discovery of Jiyu and Perak stony inscriptions long after Babad Tanah Jawi was written,  it is time for us to stop once for all the Majapahit downfall’s controversy.
a. A certain chronicle told that Demak sent the troops supporting Majapahit to fight against Daha but without success.
b. Daha was the city where Singawikramawardhana moved to after he was defeated by Kertabhumi (Brawijaya V).
c. Demak had sent armada to attack Portuguese position in Malacca but defeated in 1511.


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