Kujang Monument = Sundanese people pride

Forgime me my friends! I apologize to all of you. I should have written this months ago when I decided to write an English edition of this blog. Instead of writing about the traffic jam problem as the opening, this should be the one to greet you. However as a proverb says "better late than never", I would like to tell you a story about this.

This is just a monument and it looks just an ordinary one. Every city in the world must have a symbol that represents the city or the town and the people who live in. This monument is no different. The monument is the symbol of Bogor, my city, the rain town/city. You should see the monument whenever you enter Bogor. It's located near Bogor Botanical Gardens and if you come to Bogor through Jagorawi Highway , it is not too far from the end of the highway.

The monument is called "TUGU KUJANG" or in English, it can be said as "KUJANG MONUMENT". It contains of two parts. The 1st one is the obelisk or shaft and on top of that there is a shape like crescent or sickles but actually it is not. The shape on top of the monument is what is known as Kujang, an ancient type of weapon of Sundanese people. When Kujang was firstly made could not be exactly known but the prediction of many historian , the first Kujang was made around 9th-12th AD. It was made as a tool to cut rice plants and also as a weapon.  The monument itself is not as old as the original as it was just build in 1982.

Why was Kujang was chosen as the representative of Bogor? Perhaps, there are many versions of theories about this but I prefer to choose one version that relates the existence of Kujang with an ancient Kingdom in West Java, Indonesia. In the history, it was said that Bogor once , around 11th -16th Century was the capital for the ancient Kingdom called as Galuh Pakuan or Pakuan Pajajaran. The kingdom was the ruler for almost all West Java where most Sundanese ethnic lived. One of the king had a dream to unite Java under Pajajaran sovereignity. As the representative of the ideas , he instructed to change the shape of the traditional weapon of Sundanese people to represent some philosophy of the people, kingdom and the dream of Galuh Pakuan Kingdom. That's why actually the form of current Kujang has actually some meanings (but I won't explain here as it will be too long to explain)

 This theory made me believe that the decision to put "Kujang" as the symbol of Bogor is related to the pride of Bogor people, who once were dominated by Sundanese ethnic to be the part and even the capital of the Galuh Pakuan Kingdom. It is the pride of Sundanese society to be related to or descendants of once glorious Kingdom that ruled West Java for around 450 years. That is why Kujang was chosen to be the symbol of this city to let people that come here that they enter the Land of Sundanese People (Tanah Pasundan). You can see also that the Kujang shape on the badge of civil servants or government officer uniform badge (side by side with Mount Salak and Bogor Palace figures)

It is not incorrect to say Bogor is still the Land of Sundanese People because until today Sundanese ethnic are still dominant in Bogor. However the nowadays situation may be quite similar with the history of the ancient kingdom . If Galuh Pakuan finally was destroyed by another Kingdom in Banten, Sundanese people in Bogor have been threatened by the influx of other ethnics to Bogor. Many people from , especially Jakarta have been moving to southern area mostly because of the cost of living in the Capital of Indonesia is already very high. They tend to go south, to Bogor that offers besides cheaper cost of living, cheaper lands , cool weather and also less crowded than Jakarta.

I don't think Bogor will be destroyed by the settlers but probably someday, TUGU KUJANG will mean nothing than just a symbol of Bogor. The time will come because the current situation in Bogor has been changed a lot. Many of Sundanese people has moved out Bogor and many other has adapted with modern culture.Day by day the Sundanese culture has been eroded bit by bit.

I know that I am just half Sundanese ethnic. My father was a Javanese but my mother is Sundanese. But after living in this city for 36 years, even though I still can not speak Sundanese well but I consider myself as Sundanese people. I feel pity that the situation seems not favourable for Sundanese people in "their own land" and hoping that somehow Sundanese culture still can exist in this city. I don't want people know TUGU KUJANG as only a symbol of Bogor. I hope that somehow people know also what is the meaning of Kujang for Sundanese People. Of course it is not a chauvinistic think because it is inevitable that people from outside will come to Bogor. However I prefer if they can join and assimilate with the current Sundanese Culture in Bogor than to replace this with their own culture. It will eliminate something that is the soul of Bogor. The pride to become a Sundanese people.

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About Anton Ardyanto

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