Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Ronda-Ronda: Hang Jebat Mausoleum

The signboard of the Hang Jebat Mausoleum, in front of the arch

Hang Jebat Mausoleum is an old grave located at Jalan Kampung Kuli in Melaka belonging to a high-ranking Malay warrior, Hang Jebat  from the age of the Melaka Sultanate. Hang Jebat was the champion of justice who died in a tragic death, in the hands of his best friend, Hang Tuah. He was one of the five greatest Malay warriors during the era of the Melaka Sultanate, particularly during the reign of Sultan Mansur Shah (1456-1477), the other four being Hang Tuah, Hang Jebat, Hang Lekiu and Hang Lekir. 

When they were little boys, they learned the martial arts of silat from Adiguru in Mount Ophir (Gunung Ledang). One day, the sultan was so impressed with their 'silat' and martial art skills and offered all of them to be the royal admirals of Melaka. Hang Tuah was the Sultan's favourite warrior, and he always get gifts from Sultan, one of them was the 'keris' (Malay traditional weapon) Taming Sari, said to possess supernatural powers. 

The second arch with Acheh Architecture

The sultan's favouritism incurred the jealousy of courtiers, and the plotted his downfall. When Hang Tuah's four warrior friends were not in court, they hatched a rumour that Hang Tuah had seduced the Sultan's favourite consort. When the rumour reached the Sultan, he was so angry (murka) that he ordered Hang Tuah to be executed on sight.

Information board

The wise Bendahara Seri Nara Diraja Tun Perak knew that Hang Tuah had been framed, and he quickly took Hang Tuah into hiding. The Sultan is then told everybody in Melaka that Hang Tuah had been executed. When the four friends returned to Melaka, they were angry and and dissapointed with the news they heard.

Hang Jebat was so beside himself over the injustice that he ran amok in the palace, killing everyone in his path. Hang Jebat rose to Hang Tuah's defense and exclaimed "A fair rajah is to be revered, but a cruel rajah is to be despised." These words earned the wrath of the Sultan, who decided that Hang Jebat ought to be executed.

Hang Jebat Grave

He was determined kill the Sultan. The sultan sought his warriors to kill Hang Jebat, but none of them could defeat him. Then the sultan know the truth, that Hang Tuah was actually still alive. When Hang Tuah was brought to the Sultan, he quickly issued a pardon, and promise to defeat Hang Jebat.

Hang Tuah was torn between his love for his best friend and his loyalty to the sultan. However, he belief that the sultan deserves absolute loyalty. He tried to make Hang Jebat surrender, but Hang Jebat was beyond reasoning and want nothing but the death of the Sultan. They were fighting and Hang Tuah killed Hang Jebat with his Taming Sari.

One of graves in the Hang Jebat Mausoleum, probably the grave of other warrior who had been killed by Hang Jebat

The mausoleum itself is Achinese in style and is of the type normally used to mark the burial places of high ministers or Sultans of the period, so it is possible that Hang Jebat was a real person buried here. The age of the grave is unknown but it clearly predates the 1512 Portuguese occupation.