Desember 12, 2008


November 04, 2005 22:16:55


World History Study Guide

The Madurese originate from the 5,304 square kilometer island of Madura, which is part of Indonesia's East Java province. There are about 10 million Madurese, making them the third-largest ethnic group in Indonesia after the Javanese and the Sundanese. However, more than half of the Madurese have moved to other parts of Indonesia, particularly to mainland East Java, where they have integrated with the Javanese. The harsh, arid, and unfertile land of the island of Madura, which can only be used during the rainy season, causes the migration of the Madurese to other areas. Reports show that by 1994, only about 3 million people were left in Madura. Many have also transmigrated to areas such as Kalimantan, Sumatra, and Sulawesi.

Madurese migrants in Indonesian cities are easily identified because they stay exclusively in their own areas, maintaining their language and customs. The Madurese are Muslims and are notable in their adherence to their religious leaders or kiyai (Islamic clerics), who also become their informal political and social leaders. The kiyai have an elevated status for Madurese. The fanatical supporters from East Java province of Indonesia's former cleric president, Abdurrahman Wahid, counted Madurese in their numbers.

Madurese men are protective of their women, and should their wife or girlfriend suffer an offense from another man, then the Madurese man must settle it by carok (a life and death duel) using a clurit (a 30- to 40-centimeter half-circle knife). Madurese men must master carok as a martial art. Those who fully master this martial art are called orang jago and given blater (brave man) status. Traditional music and dances (remo) are regularly held in Madurese society to formally honor members of the blater group.

Migrant Madurese are usually small traders. In west and central Kalimantan, their presence has created difficult relations with the local people such as the Dayak, Malay, and Chinese. There have been a number of pogroms against the Madurese, including the brutal killings in 2001 in which thousands were beheaded in Central Kalimantan province after local Dayak people accused the Madurese of taking their land and of denigrating local customs and cultures.

Further Reading

Wiyata, A. Latief. (2001) "Carok: Institusionalisasi Kekerasan Dalam Masyarakat Madura" (Carok: Institutionalization of Violence in Madurese Society). Ph.D. diss. Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

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