02 November 2012

Catatan Jules Claine Ketika Mengunjungi Karo di Tahun 1890

Catatan perjalanan Julies Claine ke Tanah Karo pada tahun 1890
Dalam buku Seaman Missions Downs Work Ship Batak-Karo Men Women Village oleh Jules Claine halaman 335 yang diterbitkan pada tanggal 12 September 1891 diceritakan sekilas perjalanan Jules Claine ke daerah Tanah Karo. Kala itu Jules Claine masih berumur 35 tahun. Tulisan berikut ini menjadi gambaran keadaan masyarakat Karo saat itu :

Julies Claine meninggalkan Paris di bulan Mei 1890, dan tiba di Singapura sebulan kemudian. Lalu ia menuju Pulo Penang dan mengurus perjalanan untuk menuju Sumatra. Ia tiba di Deli. Lalu ia menghubungi penguasa Belanda kala itu untuk mendapatkan gambaran kehidupan masyarakat lokal dan memutuskan memasuki dataran tinggi Tanah Karo. Mula-mula ia menuju Djinkem. Ia menunggu beberapa hari sampai kurir yang telah berangkat kembali. Ia menanti ijin memasuki dataran tinggi Karo, dan tentunya adanya jaminan keselamatan selama berada di wilayahnya. Pembawa pesan akhirnya kembali bersama beberapa orang yang akan menjadi pembawa barang. Ada beberapa berita dari yang mengkhawatirkan dari dataran tinggi akan adanya sebuah gerombolan dari Aceh dan Gayo yang sedang menuju ke arah Danau Toba. 

"Meantime we had some alarming news from upland that a band of brigands, acheneese and gayioux, were attempting to force the pass on the opposite of batak country, toward lake Toba, for plunder or conquest. The Acheen people, being inveterate enemies of the Dutch, would take vengeance on the Bataks for their friendly dealings with the Dutch, from whom they buy some firearms and ammunitions"

Pada hari ketiga mereka tiba di Buluh Hawar dan dengan sebuah ijin yang tertulis di sebuah bambu mereka dipersilahkan masuk. Pagi harinya mereka memulai perjalanan yang lebih berat, menembus hutan belantara dan terjalnya tebing pegunungan. Selama 6 jam mereka harus bekerja keras dan berhati-hati.

Berikut ini lanjutan catatan perjalanannya :

The ascent was very toilsome and difficult, the steep path is encumbered with huge rocks in some places, with dense forest and trees of immense size, whose inter wined roots, as well as the tangled climbing plants, were a troublesome impediment; and with pools pestilential water. We were all much fatigued before gaining, in six hours, the summit of the pass; but the descent beyond was a dangerous labyrinth of narrow passages, the huge trees often standing so close together that a corpulent man could hardly squeeze his body through between them.

The chief who was my guide showed me the place where the Bataks would form an ambush to stop an enemy, and where, he said, more than a hundred and fifty men had been killed at once. I felt that I should have little chance of escaping it alive. The descent occupied two hours: then the jungle was succeeded by a more open forest and soon I was on the wide plateau which I so much desired to reach.


But at last, I got inside the kampong and was surrounded by the whole population, eager to see the stranger. Mats were spread on the ground, and a short of the rude arm-chair was placed for my seat, while the natives squatted on the mats. The chief bade me welcome, and I felt quite at ease with my Batak hosts.

I stayed until the Sibrayac (Sibayak), the great ruling chief of the country, should allow me to go farther. He came in person under taking to conduct me to his kampong situated at the other extremity of the plateau, near Lake Toba.

In every village, I was well treated, but many Bataks seemed distrustful of me. I was discreet and circumspect, while guarding againts a sudden attack. Wherever I slept my loaded weapons lay beside me, and the house was always guarded by chiefs with muskets in thier hands.

So I arrived at  Sirbaya (Seberaya), the capital head village, or town, with a population of about 7.000, the residence of the Sibrayac (Sibayak), or grand chief. here I made a complete study of the Batak-Karo native. This town of Sirbaya (Seberaya) is divided into several kampongs separated by bamboo palisades, and ruled by their respective chiefs. The houses, built on piles, are of squared timber, with sloping walls externally, about 6 ft : high, but with very lofty graduated roofs, conical in the centre, or a steeple terminating with the rudely carved head an animal: sculptured forms of this kind may ornament the angles on the outer walls.

In front of the house is a raised platform with a stair ease of bamboo. The interior is one large room, with a solid plank ceiling, and with a trench along the middle of the floor, serving for a passage from end to end. This abode is occupied by the family patriarch, with his married sons and daughters and their children, each branch of the family having its allotted place.

They pass much of the day on the outer terrace of the platform, and occasionally sleep there at night. A dozen married couples, may inhabit one such dwelling. Granaries, or store bins of rice, either square or cylindrical, are place here and there. no theft is feared, and there is apparantly no poverty. The numerous house hold is under patriarchal rule. Unmarried young men live together in large house, sometimes of two storeys, which is set apart for them. Polygamy is not usual, but there are frequent instances. Wives have tolerable liberty, and girls are married only by their own consent.

The people of this race are of good stature and shape, with clear brown skins, long black, and the nose often aquiline-on the whole, agree able in visage. The man's dress is a "kain," or skirt, of the dark blue, fastened by a belt, a small waiscoat with tight sleeves, a blue shawl, and a turban; a sabre and a knife are stuck in his belt. Married women do not cover their bosoms; girls or unmarried women do, and are distinguished also by wearing collar of gold and silver, which they give up when married. The women's silver ear ornaments are amazing size, formed like a double lonic volute with spiral shafts, quite six inches long, and two or three inches wide at the top, weighing nearly two pounds. The Batak-Karos are skillful in metal-working, and make good steel of their iron, for swords, lances, and knives, beside jewellery of gold and silver.

The political constitution of the Batak-Karos is republican, in so much as the heads of families elect the village chief, and the village chief elect the Sibraync (Sibayak), or grand chief ruling the nation, which numbers over twenty thousand souls on this tract of the tableland. Crime is rare among them, and the penalty of death is not inflicted. Their religion appears to be only a vague belief in the immortality of the soul; they believe in the immortality of the soul; they have no priesthood but small wooden figures, as a man on horseback for idols. Funerals are conducted by placing the corpse aloft on decorated bier with a canopy, and leaving it to become a skeleton, after which the skull is preserved in a coffin; the lips are in some cases preserved to be made into bracelets, as a magical charm in warfare.

The batak-Karos are literary, having manuscript books written on bamboo, or on bark, on sheep's shoulder-blades, and on the others materials. Every village chief writes a chronicle or record of important social events, which is transmitted to his successor. Wars and epidemic diseases naturally fine large place in this local history. I was presented with an ancient book, which I have brought to Europe, containing an account of some plague, and this book is illustrated by very curious drawings, which seen to show that Batak physicians, two centuries ago, had anticipated  the modren theory of germs and bacilli.
(Diketik ulang dari teks yang terdapat di dalam gambar di atas.)

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