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Solemn Parade to Mark Puputan Badung Centenary

Once-in-a-Lifetime Sacred Ritual Procession to on September 20, 2006


(9/11/2006)

To commemorate the 700th anniversary of the Sutasoma sacred text kept in Karangasem and the 100th anniversary of the Puputan Badung, a solemn procession and day of rituals have been planned for Bali on Wednesday, September 20, 2006.

Starting at 5:00 a.m. on that date, a convoy will depart from Budha Keling in Karangasem carrying the sacred Sutamosa text - a 12th century religious tale describing the burning of Kama by Siva who was eventually subdued by Sutasoma, an incarnation of Bodhisattva. The devotees will bring the text to Griya Pidada in Klungkung, where another sacred text - the Kitab Negara Kertagama will join the procession to Blahbatuh where a holy mask of Gajah Mada is kept.

The mask, a keris (dagger) of Singaparaga and the two sacred texts will then make their way to Tainsiat, the intersection between Jalan Patimura and Jalan Veteran in downtwon Denpasar where participants will leave their vehicles and continue the procession on foot to the Catur Muka the "four faces" monument near the Puputan field where ritual prayers will be conducted. According to a local government official, the prayers offered will be seek to protect Bali's spirituality and native culture in the years ahead.

In conjunction with these ceremonies, plans call for the wooden kul-kul alarms found in every village temple across Bali to be sounded continuously for 20 minutes from 11:40 a.m.

Starting from noon on September 20th the sacred artifacts will be stored for one-day at the Bali Bajra Sandi Museum in Renon to mark the 100th anniversary of the Puputan Badung, which took place on that date in 1906.

Throughout the afternoon and evening hours until past midnight - prayers, dances and music will be performed in the large open square surrounding the Bajra Sandi Monument.

The 1906 Puputan Badung

Puputan, or a Balinese ritualistic fight to the death, once formed a cornerstone of Bali's Kings ultimate sacrifice on behalf of their subjects; the ultimate refusal to surrender in the face of a foe. With a literal meaning of 'ending' or 'finish,' it was incumbent on every Balinese King to display the necessary courage to die rather than be taken prisoner and be forced to leave his beloved island home.





In a series of puputan between 1894 and 1908, hundreds of Balinese, led by their kings in Bali and Lombok, died in the face of advancing Dutch colonial forces.

On September 20, 1906, on the pretext that the people of Badung (modern day Denpasar) had looted a Chinese merchant ship that washed ashore on Sanur Beach 4 months earlier, Dutch troops marched into Denpasar ostensibly in a show-of-force to arrest and punish Raja Gede Ngurah Denpasar at his palace. Anticipating the Dutch assault and certain of any battle's eventual outcome, the Raja set fire to the palace and led his entire royal household and over 300 followers down the road for the ultimate confrontation with the Dutch. In an area known today at Puputan Field, the Balinese men, women and children - armed largely only with traditional swords and spears met the Dutch invaders. The men, dressed splendidly in white cremation garments and ritual jewelry, and the women, in white cloaks and with their hair let down, stopped just meters before the heavily armed soldiers.

Against the ominously distracting and incessant beating of Balinese war drums, the incredulous foreign soldiers saw the Raja, carried by four men on a state palanquin, die instantly as one of his priests suddenly plunged a dagger into his heart. Sparking a frenzy of death, others in the Raja's entourage then began turning their weapons upon themselves and each other. Meanwhile, women mocked and scorned the foreign soldiers, throwing money and jewels in their faces, insisting the soldiers impale them. Panicked by the scene before them or, by some reports, the historically ubiquitous stray gunshots from "an unknown source," the Dutch forces then turned their rifles and artillery on the crowd - creating helter-skelter mounds of corpses; royalty on the bottom with, even in death, their subjects providing a protective layer on the top.

In keeping with the sordid but time-honored tradition of conquering hordes everywhere, the Dutch soldiers wasted little time stripping the jewels from the corpses of the Balinese and looting the palace ruins.

Later that same day in nearby Pemacutan, the scene was repeated. The aging and frail co-ruler of Badung, Gusti Gede Ngurah Pemacutan, led hundreds of men, women and children onto the bayonets of waiting Dutch troops, failing which they died at their own hands.


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