Iban affairs in the Ulu Paku

Iban affairs in the Ulu Paku.

When Mawar Tuai was chief of Bangat and the lower Layar regions, Baling was an active warrior in the upper Skrang. In his wars he drove out the Skrang Bukitan to the Kanowit, which caused them to settle in various scattered places along the Ensiling and Mujok streams and in the Sugei of Bulau River. After Baling died his nephew Nyaru, son of Bakar, attacked the Ulu Paku Bukitans at Nanga Deran. This raid took place when Uyut “Bedilang Besi” was chief of the lower Paku and Anyut rivers. At this time the upper Paku watershed was leaderless after the death of Blaki who had been murdered by the Serus. Blaki’s sons, Bayang and Ugap, were still too young to lead the people. It was because of this that the decision of Awan of the Padeh to marry young Lada was promptly accepted by Bayang and Ugap and their relatives, including their uncle Uyut “Bedilang Besi”, who felt that the upper Paku region should be defended against attacks from the Serus of Krian. At this time “Bedilang Besi” had left them to stay with his wife Nangku, a daughter of chief Saang of the lower Paku and Anyut Rivers.

After he had defeated the Nanga Deran Bukitan, Nyaru migrated to the Paku with his son Libau. In this new area Nyaru and Libau were not leaders, until Libau’s son Kaya married Sawai a daughter of Lada and Awan. Sawai was an heiress of Busu, the father of Uyut “Bedilang Besi”. Nyaru’s sister Rabiah was the mother Mujah “Buah Raya”, who later migrated from the Paku to become famous chief of the Kanowit people.

After the death of Kaya, his eldest son became chief of the upper Paku. When he was old, Jantan directed that all his sons and daughters be separated from him and lead people to live in various longhouses along the banks of the upper Paku river, in the following order:

Libau “Buban” was to stay with Jantan at Nanga Samu. Saing was to build his longhouse at Jukun. Laus and her husband Lanchang were to live at Nanga Buong, and Kadir and Langan were to live at Danau.

At the death of Jantan, Libau “Buban” became the senior chief of the upper Paku river. He was not a man of war but was very straight forward in dealing with the affairs of his people. When Libau was old, Kadir and Langan separated from each other. Kadir went to live with his followers at Penom, while Danau was taken care of by his son Unchi. Langan built his longhouse at Meroh, near the source of the Paku river. At about this tune Libau’s sons Kaya and Ugat married. Kaya stayed in his father’s house while Ugat, went to live with his wife who was the only daughter of Langan at Meroh. Their sister Janta married Kadir, a son of Orang Kaya Linggang of the Rimbas. After her marriage, Janta left her father and went to live in the same longhouse as her uncle Saing, who had moved from Jukun to Batu Genting.

Ugat was a brave warrior who was hostile to the Brunei government, represented by Laksamana Amir who lived at the Malay village of Buling. Due to his hostility, he defied the Laksamana by slashing a mungut basket, which was used by Brunei tax collectors for collecting padi for the yearly tax from the Dayaks and Malays of the Paku River. The Laksamana was angry. Therefore Ugat planned a rebellion which was supported by all the upper Paku Iban. The Iban who had settled in the Anyut tributary did not support Ugat, since Linggir “Mali Lebu” and his families were very friendly with the Laksamana and his family. In order to start the revolt, Ugat led his warriors to attack the Beliun in the Sarikei River. By doing this he could at the same time stop the migrants from the Layar and Skrang rivers from migrating to the Awik, a tributary of the Krian and to Pakan a tributary of the Julau – the places which he and his people intended to occupy after their rebellion was over.

After the preparations for the war against Sarikei were completed, Ugat and his warriors went up to the Paku and Ketoh streams. From the Ketoh watershed they climbed the Medang range and went on to Nanga Lu’ong on the Krian River. They stayed the night at Nanga Luong. Next day they traveled up the Luong stream towards the Dangap stream and went down to its mouth. From here they travelled up the Budu stream to Nanga Dasi and then went up the Dasi stream to the Emperawan Pakap Mawi range. From there they traveled to the headwaters of the Awik River, where they stayed the second night. As the Awik watershed was close to the source of the Sarikei River, Ugat held his council of war here. In the conference he directed that they proceed early next day to the Sarikei river watershed where they would stay the third and final night before they assaulted the enemy. He also warned his warriors that they were not to make any noise when inside the enemy territory, as they must not be heard by the wandering Beliun and the Bukitan of the Julau. He was aware that if they were discovered by the Bukitans, the latter would spread the news to all the Beliuns of the Sarikei River. Above all, for the safety of his warriors, he arranged that the leading warriors Ramping, Doo, Ita and Japang should go as advance scouts a mile ahead of the others. They must not carry any baggage, but would be fully equipped with swords, spears and shields.

Next morning they left the place after the four leading warriors were gone. Even¬tually at noon they reached a Beliun village. On their way to the nearest house Ramping and Ita passed a banana plantation where they killed a woman who was clearing her garden. As they killed her they were seen by several people who raised the alarm all through the village, telling of their approach.

Ramping and Ita took the woman’s head to Ugat. Ugat was worried when they told him that while they were killing her they had been seen by enemies who had fled to the village to inform their people. Hearing this Ugat stopped his warriors from advancing further. He was afraid that if they risked invading the village, they would meet stiff resistance, as the enemy would be fully prepared to defend them¬selves. So he brought his warriors back to the Paku.

After he had failed to defeat the Beliun of Sarikei, Ugat decided once again to lead his warriors on the warpath. This time he decided to attack the Serus who had settled below the Embuas rapids in the lower Krian River. At this time none of the Iban who had migrated from the Rimbas had settled above the Embuas rapids. The only areas that had been settled by them were the Melupa tributary together with both banks of the middle reaches of the Krian River. Due to the small number of settlers, the Iban longhouse at Berangan Arang had twice been attacked by Bukitan from the Julau River.

To attack the Seru, Ugat led his warriors from Ulu Paku to Ulu Krian where they built a warboat, or perau pengayau. After the boat had been completed they went down the Krian to the Embuas rapids. After they had left it the leading warriors were ordered by Ugat to steer the boat at the bow, while he himself was at the stem. The other warriors sat inside, under an awning made from palm leaves. Eventually as they came to Satebok, they heard the noise of people coming by boat from downriver. Hearing this, Ramping and Japang steered the boat to the bank in order to hide themselves below the tree branches. When they had quietly hidden themselves a longboat full of men, women and children appeared. These people were on their way to attend a wedding feast upriver. Excited on seeing them, Japang urged his friends to attack the boat at once. They paddled towards it. As they came near to it, Ramping and Japang threw spears at the enemies and killed two of them. Ugat who was at the stern killed another. Seeing the danger, the enemies fought very hard to defend their women and children. They were able to reach Ugat’s warriors inside the boat with their seligi spears made of the strong trunks of the nibong palm. Ugat’s warriors underneath the awning of the boat could not fight nor defend themselves as they could not come out while their boat was in the middle of the river. Among those who were speared by the Serus were Unchi a son of Kadir and Lunyai, a son of Laus and Lanchang, both of whom were badly wounded. So Ugat and his warriors returned up the Krian in order to march back to the Paku.

A few years after Ugat had attacked the Serus of the lower Krian, he had a dream. In it he met a number of people coming into his house at Nanga Tiang. They told Ugat that they were on their way to Bangat and wanted him to entertain them with a grand festival where they could enjoy the meat of pigs. At this time all the people of the upper Paku lived together in a large longhouse under Ugat and his brother Kaya, while their father Libau stayed alone at Ulu Samu after he had eloped with Saap following the death of his first wife, Nawi. Due to the request of the people whom Ugat saw in his dream, he called everyone to meet at his longhouse to discuss what to do about it. Kelass the son of Saing was of the opinion that it was time now for Ugat to hold a grand festival to celebrate his two victories over his enemies at Sarikei and lately in the lower Krian. The rest of the people agreed with Kelass. They wanted Ugat to hold the feast as soon as he could.

For the feast, Ugat asked the carpenters who had a good knowledge of carving to fashion for him a ritual pole known as Chandi Uriek, a sort of bamboo pole used for the first stage of the Bird Festival (Gawai Burong). After the preparations for the festival had been completed, Ugat invited a famous warrior named Uyu apai Ikom of the Ulu Julau to act as master of ceremonies. When Uyu came he noticed that the carvings on Ugat’s ritual pole were too grand. He told Ugat that it was not proper to hold such a low feast with so grand a pole.

Uyu asked Ugat where his father Libau was. Ugat told him that his father had not been informed as he was living in the upper Samu River with a new wife. Hearing this, Uyu told Ugat that he would not dare to make any decisions about the rules of the feast until he had discussed these matters first with Libau “Buban”, the father of Ugat. Hearing what Uyu had said, Ugat sent his men to bring his father from Ulu Samu. After Libau had come, Uyu told him that he was of the opinion that the ritual pole which Ugat had made for his feast was too grand for him.

“Ugat is too young and has not yet attained the high rank of a warleader who is fit to use that kind of carved pole for the feast,” said Uyu, “I suggest that this feast should be celebrated in your name, instead of your son’s”, said Uyu to Libau.

Libau agreed. So the feast was celebrated in the name of Libau, not of Ugat. After the feast was over, the Rajah defeated Linggir at the battle of Beting Maru in 1849. Also it was from Ugat’s house at Nanga Tiang that Kedit “Rindang” went to reinforce Linggir who attacked the Rajah’s advancing flotilla at the battle of Nanga Peka four days after the battle of Beting Maru had been fought. After Linggir’s defeat at the battle of Beting Maru, the Paku Dayaks submitted themselves officially to the government of Rajah Brooke. Ugat, who still did not want to be governed by any government, decided to migrate to the Julau so that he and his people could continue to defy the government of the country. The majority of the people of the upper Paku River followed him to the Julau. But before they reached the Julau they farmed the Ulu Awik lands. The Awik is the right tributary of the Krian.

Shortly after Ugat had migrated to the Ulu Julau, Enchana “Letan” of Linggir’s house at Kerangan Pinggai led the people of the lower Paku and Anyut tributary on migration to the Awik River. Three years later, they were followed to the Awik by Letan’s brother Minggat who had recently married Jara, a Rimbas woman from Suri. When Letan and his people from the lower Paku and Anyut were about to settle in the Awik, Ugat and his followers moved to the Julau. In the season of falling trees (maia nebang) in the first year that they farmed there, Ugat and many others suffered from a pedis parut epidemic. Due to this trouble, Ugat and those who were sick were brought back to the Paku. Shortly after their arrival home, most of them including Ugat died of the disease. Due to Ugat’s death, all of his followers returned to the Paku and the migration was discontinued.

Source: gnmawar.wordpress.com/jerita-lama/iban-migration-peturun-iban/early-iban-migration-part-2/


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