LOCATION: Indonesia (islands of Madura and Java)
POPULATION: 6.8 million (2000)
RELATED ARTICLES: Vol. 3: Indonesians; Javanese
Despite their ancestral island's proximity to Java (at the closest point, only a short ferry ride from the great Javanese port of Surabaya), the Madurese, Indonesia's fourth-largest ethnolinguistic group, have maintained an identity distinct from their neighbors. Although itself of little economic value, Madura's strategic location guarding the approaches to the deltas of Java's greatest rivers, the Brantas and the Bengawan Solo, ensured an intimate involvement in Javanese history. As early as the 15th century, the kingdom of Arosbaya, a vassal of the east Javanese Majapahit court, united Madura's petty states. Arosbaya adopted Islam in 1528; in later years, a reputation for greater devotion and stricter practice to this religion would set the Madurese apart from the Javanese.
In 1624, Sultan Agung of the central Javanese kingdom of Mataram conquered Madura, which by then had fragmented into five principalities. Forty-eight years later, the Madurese prince Trunojoyo returned the favor by revolting against Mataram, getting as far as destroying the latter's capital with the help of Makassarese mercenaries. However, the Dutch East India Company put an end to his venture, eventually overseeing a division of the island into two principalities, the western one placed under the Cakraningrat dynasty.
In 1743, eastern Madura passed from the suzerainty of Mataram into the control of the Dutch East India Company. Well into the 19th century, the Madurese rulers served as virtually independent allies of the Dutch; the last portion of the island to come under direct Dutch rule did so in 1885. While the Dutch never subjected the arid island to the Forced Cultivation System, the Madurese rulers contributed to Dutch imperialism by enlisting from among their subjects recruits for Dutch armies fighting elsewhere in the archipelago.
Under direct colonial rule, Madura's welfare continued to decline. A 1918 report indicated that the economy was poor and famine was widespread, and a heavy tax burden compounded these difficulties. In response, the colonial government established a special fund for Madura relief, maintaining it until 1937. Madura suffered under the Japanese occupation of 1942–45 with peculiar severity. The returning Dutch attempted to establish a client state on Madura, but this was integrated into the Indonesian republic in 1950.
In comparison to many other regions of the country, Madura has continued to suffer from economic stagnation, forcing many Madurese to migrate off-island (for the 1997–2001 Madurese-Dayak conflicts in Kalimantan that killed many Madurese transmigrants and displaced many more, see the article entitled Ngaju Dayak ). There is some evidence that a certain percentage of the younger generation of Madurese resident in East Java are switching over to the Javanese language as their primary language. Other trends affecting Madurese traditional culture include: modernization, which has brought the lifestyle of well-to-do urban Madurese into conformity with the Jakartan national model; and Islamic reformism, which seeks to bring Madurese life in general into line with orthodox (often Middle Eastern rather than indigenized) Muslim standards. A bridge connecting Surabaya and Bangkalan on Madura is nearing completion (as of 2008) that will accelerate the integration of Madura's western tip into the Surabaya metropolitan area; already only a short ferry ride away, Bangkalan city has been evolving into a commuter suburb and alternate location for industrial and service firms for Indonesia's second largest city (population, approximately 3 million).
LOCATION AND HOMELAND
In contrast to much of neighboring Java, the island of Madura offers few areas suitable for the irrigation essential to wet-rice cultivation. Besides depending on rainfall, Madurese farmers must contend with the soil's high calcium content (the island has long been a major source of lime). Because of such limits on agricultural productivity, the island has often failed to sustain its population, many of whom have migrated to the opposite coast of East Java and beyond in search of a livelihood. After the wars of the 17th and 18th centuries decimated the native population of East Java, Madurese (along with Central Javanese) were brought in to repopulate large stretches of it. Already by 1930, there were more Madurese on Java than on Madura itself (2.5 million versus 2 million, respectively). According to the 2000 census, Madurese numbered 6.8 million. 2005 figures put the population of the island of Madura itself at 3.5 million. In many regencies along the north coast of East Java, Madurese are the numerically dominant ethnic group; they constitute 18% of the province's overall population (Javanese are 79%). In addition, Madurese have settled in many of the cities of Java, as well as in transmigrant communities on other islands.
Although closely related to the fellow Austronesian tongues of the Javanese and Sundanese, the Madurese language is far from mutually intelligible with them. It is itself divided into three major dialects, centered respectively from east to west on Bangkalan, Pamekasan, and Sumenep. The language's traditional script, a version of the Javanese, is now in decline in the face of competition from the Latin alphabet used for Bahasa Indonesia. Like Javanese, Madurese possesses three language levels, ranging from the informal (named Enja'-iya after the words for "Yes" and "No"), to the polite ( Enghi-enten ), to the highly deferential ( Enghi-bhunten ).
See the article entitled Indonesians .
First introduced with the conversion of the petty kingdom of Arosbaya in 1528, Islam is central to Madurese life. Indeed, the Madurese as a group pride themselves on adhering to the te-nets of Muslim orthodoxy (such as the five daily prayers) more strictly than the Javanese, many of whom practice rituals and profess beliefs more compatible with an earlier animist and Hindu-Buddhist heritage. Pesantren, Muslim religious schools [seeIndonesians ], and tarekat, Muslim mystical brotherhoods, enjoy a special prominence. Kyai, religious scholars, often combine the role of reformist with that of traditional healer.
Nonetheless, the Madurese retain belief in the power of ancestral beings, ghosts, and other spirits who have the power to harm or help humans. Offerings and ritual feasts are prepared for these supernatural beings to ensure village welfare and a bountiful harvest, to celebrate important Islamic festivals, and to obtain success in upcoming business trips or bull races. Ritual feasts, or kenduri, that correspond to the Javanese slametan and center on huge cones of rice, are dedicated both to Allah and the ancestors. Only men partake in the feast itself, although a man always takes a portion of the dishes home for his wife and children. Other types of ceremonies include rites requesting rain and honoring the spirits of springs and wells (held annually, with ojhung), and those honoring sacred swords (kris) or spears, a type of chanting called gumbek accompanies weapon veneration.
See the article entitled Indonesians .
RITES OF PASSAGE
Important ritual celebrations mark the following life passages: the seventh month of pregnancy, an infant's first contact with the earth (several months after birth), a boy's circumcision, a girl's first menstruation, and the funeral and subsequent commemorative ceremonies. As in other Muslim cultures of Indonesia, a circumcision procedure may also be performed on girls, ranging from token rubbing of the clitoris to excision in some cases, often combined with their first ear-piercing.
Wedding customs resemble those of the east Javanese, differing for the most part only in terminology. In a first step known as nyalabar or ngembang nyamplong, the boy or man's family sounds out the possibility of marriage with a prospective girl's or woman's family. Next, the male's family formally asks (narabas pagar) whether the female has already been promised to another. If not, the male's parents request the female's hand by offering her food and presents (which for the rich will include jewelry and batik fabric). The engagement is confirmed when the female's family agrees (balee pagar). After this, the male's family delivers (lamaran, saseraan) the bride-price to the female's side; according to tradition, cattle are an indispensable part of the goods to be handed over. Only now can the formal wedding ceremony (akad nikah), conducted by a Muslim religious official, take place.
In Madura's old principalities, aristocratic lineage provided a small part of the population with claims to deference and obedience from non-aristocrats. In more recent times, position in the colonial and later national bureaucracy has offered similar status. Concentrated in the towns, this highest class of nobles and civil servants patterns its lifestyle on the Javanese priyayi elite [seeJavanese ] (although, in accordance with the general Madurese religious orientation, focusing far less on unorthodox forms of mysticism). Similarly, modern well-to-do towns-people follow the lead of the Jakartan middle and upper classes. Far more significant in the perception of the rural population is the elevation above the "ordinary people" (golongan biasa) of the "children of the kyai" (golongan bhindara, including religious scholars, their students [santre], village religious offi-cials (modin), and others well-versed in Islam [orang alem]). In addition to these religious elite, the group to whom "ordinary people" traditionally owed respect included various village authorities: the kelebun or village head; the carek or village clerk; and the apel or neighborhood (subvillage) head.
The Javanese and Sundanese have long applied certain stereotypes to their Madurese neighbors, which Dutch colonial and Indonesian national governments, academia, and popular media have adopted and perpetuated. These stereotypes portray the Madurese as more energetic and less constrained by etiquette than the Javanese or Sundanese and as more hot-tempered and quick to take offense and exact revenge; for this purpose, all Madurese men are said to carry a weapon, either a kris, a celurit [sickle], a calo' or wadung [machete], or a crow-bar. On the "positive" side, the Madurese are appreciated as hardworking, particularly in the manual jobs left to them by other ethnic groups.
What can be said without exaggeration is that Madurese prize their personal honor. For instance, a man will not go to a party to which he has not been explicitly invited. In working his fields, a man will not ask the assistance of anyone outside his immediate family. Men will not cooperate with each other before fixing the precise division of labor and terms of compensation. They prefer to use go-betweens in conducting negotiations and will have these go-betweens witness any exchange of money. This sense of personal dignity may account for the aloofness many villagers display towards foreigners (isolation also breeds a certain wariness).
An important feature of Madurese life is the aresan, a regular gathering in which one of the attendants wins by lot the contents of a pot to which all the others have contributed— eventually, previous winners being excluded one after one, every member of the aresan association will have his or her turn to receive the pot. Women often have their own aresan clubs, called diba'.
The average of the 2005 Human Development Indices (combining measures of income, health, and education) for the four regencies of Madura was 59.25, far below that for Indonesia as a whole (69.6) and East Java as a whole (68.5). In Pamekasan regency, GDP per capita stood at us$2,065, less than a third of East Java's as a whole (us$7,046), and Sampang regency's Human Poverty Index was 38.3, almost twice that of East Java's as a whole (21.7). Sampang's level of infant mortality (2000 figures) was 89.55 deaths per 1,000 live births, almost twice East Java's as a whole (47.69) and four times that in Jakarta.
The classification of traditional houses distinguishes between houses consisting of a single room (slodoran or malang are) and those with more than one room (sedanan). Furthermore, traditional houses differ according to roof type: a gadrim with a two-ridge roof; a sekodan with four central pillars supporting the roof; and a pacenanan where the gables projecting from the two ends of the roof are carved in the shape of serpents, a style of Chinese inspiration. Traditional houses are windowless and oriented either north–south or in the direction of the rising sun.
Influences from outside Madurese tradition include the addition of a porch in front for sleeping and a porch in back for sitting and relaxing. Each household has a room or detached structure for praying. In the 1990s, modern utilities were much less common than on Madura than elsewhere in East Java: only 3.5% of households had access to hygienic water, and 15.8% to electricity.
Villages are laid out in no distinct pattern, houses being clustered together in the middle of fields. In upland areas, one type of village, the kampong meji, consists of the houses of 20 families related back to five generations. In Sumenep, another type of settlement, the tanean lanjeng, consists of five houses facing a common center and inhabited by kin related back to the third generation. Ownership of land in Madura is individual, although some village land falls under communal possession and is used to support the village headman and his aides.
For the Madurese, the distinction between kin (bhala) and all other people (oreng) is a paramount one. Kinship is bilateral, including both paternal and maternal sides, although noble titles pass exclusively through the male line. Marriage between cousins, which preserves the purity of the lineage, is the preferred match. Solidarity between kin is expressed in one type of extended family, the koren, in which the descendants (up to 10 households) of a common great-grandfather occupy a single compound.
Under ideal circumstances, a newly married couple establishes its own household at once; if this is not possible, it is also common for the couple to live with the bride's parents first. According to custom, one of a family's daughters, along with her husband and children, remains in her childhood house to take care of her parents in their old age. Madurese marriages are reputed to end less frequently in divorce than those among the neighboring Javanese and Sundanese.
A family's honor rests heavily on the respectability of its women, something which the family's men will fight to defend. A corollary of this is that men may harass women traveling without male kin escorting them (such as foreign female tourists).
In the old kingdoms, although a woman could not occupy the throne, she could exercise de facto supreme power as the mother or guardian of the heir, particularly if she herself were the daughter of a former ruler.
Women wear a kebaya (long-sleeved blouse) and a sarong extending below the knees, along with bracelets and anklets (bingel). Men's traditional clothing, generally of dark-colored fabric, consists of: a distinctive headdress ( destar ); an undershirt with horizontal stripes, often red and white; a long-sleeved, collarless overshirt; trousers that end just below the knees; and a wide sash tied around the waist.
Boiled rice mixed with ground maize is the primary food, supplemented by dried salted fish or side dishes of dried meat and vegetables, all accompanied by chili sauces. Meals are washed down with water or tea (since colonial times, prohibitions have been placed on indulgence in tuak, palm wine).
Specialties of the island of Madura include perkedel jagung (shrimp and corn fritters), la'ang (the regional beverage), blaken (fish paste sold in old handmade jars), yam taffy, and the fruits guava and salak (the latter has a dark brown, scaly skin; white, sourish fruit; and a large pit). Famous outside the home island are Madurese chicken dishes, soto (a type of soup), and sate (barbecued skewers of goat meat, dipped in a mixture of sweet soy sauce and chili before being eaten).
The level of literacy on Madura is low by Indonesian national standards. The average of 2005 figures for literacy for its four regencies stood at 76.19%, considerably lower than that of East Java as a whole (85.84%). One out three people in Sampang was illiterate, a greater proportion than in Papua province where 28.42% was illiterate. According to 1990s figures, elementary school attendance on Madura was at 88.2%, lower than that in southern East Java (whose Madurese-speaking population is not large). See also the article entitled Indonesians .
With plots also taken from the Ramayana and Mahabharata epics, wayang topeng resembles the Javanese shadow play in that a single narrator (who is also director and musical conductor) performs all the speaking parts, but it replaces the puppets with masked dancers or actors. Wayang topeng has come to be regarded as the consummate symbol of Madurese culture, despite the fact that it has declined in popularity. Much more vital is loddrok, an earthier dramatic genre in which the actors are unmasked, speak their own parts, and sing Madurese-language songs (kejhung); it often replaces wayang topeng as an adjunct to village ceremonies. Yet another type of popular theater is drama which combines "Islamic" (Arab-Persian) stories with Indian dance numbers; the performances include women and professional transvestites, and admission is charged.
The Madurese have gamelan (percussion) orchestras similar to those of the Javanese, although the instruments are more frequently of iron rather than expensive bronze, and the sole singer is often a female impersonator rather than a woman. Gamelan accompany wayang topeng, loddrok, and tayub (in which a single female performer dances for a male audience and invites individual men to dance with her). Another, highly sophisticated performing art is mamaca or macapat, in which one person sings Javanese-language poetic texts while a second translates them into Madurese for the listeners; it is still heard in the old palaces and at village ceremonies and aresan meetings.
Many village occasions, such as the various bull contests, are accompanied by the kenong telo ensemble (including a drum; one large, vertically hanging gong; two differing sets of smaller, horizontally lying gongs; a rattle of metal plates on a string; and, most characteristically, the saronen, a high-pitched oboe). Substitutes for the kenong telo ensemble are the bak beng (bamboo instruments) and the ngik-ngok (a violin and modified brass instruments). On Ramadan nights, village youths stroll about striking wooden slit-gongs (tuk-tuk or tong-tong).
Stricter adherents of Islam strongly disapprove of traditional music forms, associating them with "idolatrous" rituals, such as the veneration of bhuju', sacred tombs, or with the "morally corrupt" wayang topeng or loddrok. On the other hand, a number of genres exist whose greater "respectability" derives from clear Middle Eastern origins. The haddrah is a type of male group singing that incorporates Madurese songs and martial arts moves. In mosques, men also perform samman, which arrived from Yemen via Aceh in 1902; they dance in formation while chanting with dramatic waves of intensity.
On Madura, the dominant crops are nonirrigated, such as maize. The island is also famous for its fruits and for medicinal plants. In recent years, tobacco has become a prime cash crop; Madura contains one-fifth of Indonesia's land planted with tobacco. Traditional exports included lime and salt (from sea water evaporated in pools on the long, sun-scorched beaches). Given the often meager returns from farming, livestock-raising is essential to the Madurese. Goats, horses, water buffalo, and cattle are raised, with cattle as the major export. Fishing is also very important. Madurese outrigger boats with triangular sails do an active business in shipping, particularly of timber from Kalimantan to Surabaya factories.
Many Madurese work as migrant laborers, working seasonally on East Java's plantations. Many also go far afield to conduct petty commerce, for example, in cattle, tobacco, fruits, and coconut palm sugar. In East Java's cities, others make roof tiles, shovel sand, pedal becak pedicabs, work in harbors, or sell Madurese specialties, such as soto or sate on the street. Some of Madura's excess labor is being absorbed by factories in Bang-kalan, which is being developed as an annex to the Surabayan industrial area.
Penca' silat (an Indonesian martial art) is practiced in clubs and for competitions (women participate only as amateurs). One sport, now played in secret, is ojhung, in which men duel with rattan sticks. Training homing pigeons is also a popular pastime.
During the dry season (September–October), but also at other times for tourists, bull races (kerapan sapi) are held. Only village leaders and other rich peasants can afford to maintain a bull-racing team (a skilled jockey, bull-masseurs, and other personnel, not to mention the animals themselves, which are of the best breed and, unlike draught oxen, are pastured everyday). Elaborately carved wooden yokes, painted in bright red and gold, and other racing equipment are often passed down as family heirlooms. Winning a bull race, especially the island championship, is an intensely coveted honor. Competitors resort to spying or black magic to gain an advantage over opponents, while a full contingent of police is present at the races to suppress any outbreaks of violence.
On the days leading up to a race, specialists feed the bulls a special diet of fresh grass, eggs, coffee, and herbal potions. On the preceding night, the racing team holds an all-night vigil accompanied by continual gamelan music. Before the race itself, the tari pecut is danced, representing the steps in caring for racing bulls. The race itself involves pairs of bulls drawing sleds and jockeys down a 100-m (328-ft) or more racecourse at as much as 36 km (22 mi) per hour.
ENTERTAINMENT AND RECREATION
Such reading as takes place is of religious works, such as the Qur'an, sung poetry texts, comic books, and booklets of legends (a source for drama plots). In comparison with their urban counterparts, rural people listen more frequently to the radio (regional and national music, especially dangdut and pop Indonesia ) and to cassettes of con-locon (clown) acts. Villagers watch television at the village head's house or at a warung food stall and see movies in outdoor cinemas and traditional performances sponsored by richer fellow villagers.
FOLK ART, CRAFTS, AND HOBBIES
Woodcarving is highly developed, as seen in bull-racing gear and in locally made furniture (beds, screens, chests, cupboards, and cake-keepers showing Chinese and European influence). Madurese batik cloth is in rich, bold reds, red-brown, and indigo and has designs depicting winged serpents, sharks, airborne houses with fish tails, and other fantastical sea animals. It is also customary for women to wear large silver bracelets; black-coral bracelets are another regional specialty, believed to prevent illness and cure rheumatism.
See the article entitled Indonesians .
The average Gender-Related Development Index for Madura's four regencies (2002 figures) is 46.43, dramatically lower than that for East Java as a whole (56.3). Gender Empowerment Measures (reflecting women's participation and power in political and economic life relative to men's) for the four regencies average to 35.9, lower by an even greater proportion than 54.9 for both East Java as a whole and for Indonesia as a whole.
Badan Pusat Statistik: Statistik Indonesia. http://demografi.bps.go.id (November 9, 2008).
Bouvier, Hélène. "Diversity, Strategy, and Function in East Madurese Performing Arts." In Across Madura Strait, edited by Kees van Dijk, Huub de Jonge, and Elly Touwen-Bouwsma. Leiden: KITLV, 1995.
Dalton, Bill. Indonesia Handbook. Chico, CA: Moon Publications, 1991.
Jonge, Huub de. "Stereotypes of the Madurese." In Across Madura Strait, edited by Kees van Dijk, Huub de Jonge, and Elly Touwen-Bouwsma. Lieden: KITLV, 1995.
Jonge, Nico de, ed. Indonesia in Focus: Ancient Traditions— Modern Times. Meppel: Edu'Actief, 1988.
Rosantini, Triana. "Madura, Suku Bangsa." In Ensiklopedi Nasional Indonesia, Vol. 10. Jakarta: Cipta Adi Pustaka, 1990.
—revised by A. J. Abalahin
ETHNONYMS: Orang Madura, Tijang Madura, Wong Madura
Most of the Muslim Madurese are dispersed from their home island of Madura, located off the east coast of Java. Some live in the nearby archipelagoes of Sapudi and Kangean, but nearly 8 million of the total 10.9 million Madura population live elsewhere in Indonesia (this article refers to Madurese living on Madura). The Madurese language is Austronesian, closely related to Javanese, and has two main dialects.
History and Cultural Relations
Madurese history has often been linked to that of Java. Fourteenth-century Madurese belonged to the Javanese Majapahit Empire before gaining independence. The arrival of Islam in the sixteenth century led the Madurese to develop a state organization, before they became a part of the Javanese empire of Mataram. They rebelled against the Javanese in the seventeenth century but later came under the rule of the Dutch. Presently they are governed by Indonesia.
The vast majority of Madurese living in Madura reside in hamlets created as administrative units, rather than being organized by kinship or indigenous political units. Each hamlet may consist of between five and fifteen compounds, which are dispersed over farmland.
Unlike Java, Madura is troubled by low rainfall and poor soils. Because of the aridity, rice may be grown only once a year. For the same reason, Madurese emphasize livestock production; they raise sheep, goats, and especially cattle, some of the latter for export to Java. Further, population pressure results in small landholdings, and therefore many Madurese must work as traders and handicraft producers. Many also are fishermen, using outrigger canoes and large nets. Women work as traders and as laborers for wealthy farmers. Land is owned individually, but most villages also set aside communal land and land used to support village headmen.
Madurese reckon kinship bilaterally. Both nuclear and extended families constitute the basic units of society.
Polygyny is allowed by Islamic law, but it is a rare man (usually a village official) who can afford to practice it. Marriage with one's first or second cousin is preferred. Marriage proposals are made by the groom's parents and include gifts. If the proposal is accepted, a bride-price including cattle is given, and the groom's parents set the date of the wedding. Wedding is by Madurese custom, but includes a Muslim religious teacher (kiyai ). The ideal of postmarital residence is neolocal, but few newlywed couples can afford to live independently and so usually live with the bride's family. After a divorce, the property of the couple is divided by agreement. One of a couple's daughters lives permanently in her parents' house and takes care of them as they age; when they die, she inherits their house. Prior to their deaths, parents convey some of their property, including land and cattle, to their children. After death, children receive equal shares of the remaining property, in violation of Islamic law.
The Madurese nobility has disappeared after centuries of foreign domination. Presently there are formal leaders, members of the village councils, as well as informal leaders, including Islamic clergy like the kiyai. The kiyai educates the children and advises adults. The authority of both types of leader depends on their ability to gain the respect of the people. Formal leaders tend to have less authority than the informal Islamic leaders; this was reflected in the 1971 elections, in which 67 percent of the Madura vote went to Nahdatul Ulama, the orthodox Islamic political party.
Blood revenge is a feature of Madurese life, especially when adultery, cattle theft, and public loss of face are involved. This is done through the practice of carok, in which the victim is attacked from behind with a sickle-shaped knife. The carok attack is usually fatal, and one common result of a successful attack is a blood feud between the families of the parties involved. To avoid a carok attack, one may consult a kiyai.
Religion and Expressive Culture
Most Madurese are at least nominally Sunni Muslims of the Shafi school (though a small number have converted to Christianity). They pray five times daily, pay their zakat (tithe), fast during the month of Ramadan, and celebrate the Islamic holidays of Maulud and Id al-fitr (during the latter of which they visit the graves of their dead relatives). Making the pilgrimage to Mecca brings an increase in social status. The modern reform movement, Muhammadiya, which strives for adherence to the Quran and the cessation of ancestor worship, has few, if any, supporters outside the capital cities.
Madurese religion, however, is also highly syncretistic. Communal sacred meals (kenduri ) are used when changes in life occur, for good luck. Madurese people are also known for their bullfights and bull races, during which contestants use sorcery and magic to gain an advantage over their rivals.
Touwen-Bouwsma, Elly (1984). "Madurese." In Muslim Peoples: A World Ethnographic Survey, edited by Richard V. Weekes, 458-462. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press.