Iban pioneers of the Paku and their Malay allies

Iban pioneers of the Paku and their Malay allies.


After the death of Tindin and Rusak, the generations living in the Paku up to the time of Saang and Busu were peaceful, since Entingi and his Bukitan followers had migrated to the Julau and Kanowit rivers. When Uyut “Bedilang Besi” (“Iron Hearth”) and Awang were chiefs of the lower and upper Paku respectively, they made a common set of rules for building longhouses:


1. All longhouses must be built on the bank of the main river, so that their inhabitants shall be able to bathe and draw drinking water easily from it;
2. No land owner shall stop the members of the community from building a longhouse on his land;
3. No member of the longhouse may plant fruit trees further than five fathoms from either side of the longhouse;
4. In case the longhouse is abolished due to old age, all fruit trees which have been planted in the compound will be owned by the planter and his descendants.


Uyut “Bedilang Besi” was one of the most powerful war leaders of the Saribas of his time. This was because his sons, nephews and sons-in-law were all brave warriors. Due to his victories in war, Uyut held a grand festival of gawai diri at Lubok Jalu above the mouth of the Lingit stream in the Anyut watershed. At this feast he made a Rhinoceros hornbill statue which was later burnt together with the Senunok longhouse, in 1944.


It was because of his importance that Bedilang changed the old tradition of drinking the holy wine for the Gawai Antu festival. He and his sons and sons-in-law refused to drink this wine, unless it was handed to them with timang jalong songs to praise their bravery in war. Thus it was from Bedilang’s request that the songs of timang jalong originated at this time, and have been sung at all Gawai Antu festivals to the present day.


From the days of Bedilang up to those of his great grandson who was named after him (Uyut), the Paku Iban were continually at war with the Sebuyau and the Balau Dayaks of the lower Batang Lupar river, as well as with the Seru of the Krian and Beliun of the Rejang.


When Jantan, a grandson of Awan, was a chief in the upper Paku river, he was not a formidable warrior, so he was worried about the safety of the upper Paku region, which was surrounded by a number of enemies, such as the Seru, the Beliun and also the Bukitan who had been driven out of Paku and had settled in the Julau and Kanowit districts. Because of these fears he went one day to spy out the enemy with one of his warriors named Sapitan. They walked along the range of hills at the source of the Puan and Paku streams and stayed the night at Bukit Buloh. The next day they walked again from Bukit Buloh along a range of hills situated between the Grenjang stream of the Krian and Sungai Randau towards Bukit Tangga Sadau and on to Bukit Medang. From here they walked to Bukit Lubang Remaung where they stayed another night.


That night Jantan slept just outside the mouth of a cave. In his sleep he dreamed he saw a woman who sat near him. She asked him where he had come from. Jantan told her that he and Sapitan were returning from Bukit Buloh to spy on the enemy. Hearing this, the women told him not to worry about the enemy.


“No enemy will ever come to Ulu Paku from this day onward,” she said. She told him that she was Bunsu Remaung (Tiger Goddess) who defended the Ulu Paku region from enemy raids.


To prove the truth of Jantan’s dream, it happened that after Linggir “Mali Lebu” had raided the Bukitan at Sugai in the Julau, the Katibas Iban under Gerinang and Matahari led a big force up the Julau to take revenge against the Pakus. But on the way their warriors suffered from a smallpox epidemic, which killed the majority of them and caused the survivors to retreat. Besides this, when the Rajah attacked Linggir “Mali Lebu” in the Paku twice in 1843 and 1849 his force only went up the Paku as far as Nanga Anyut, which was just below Jantan’s area.


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


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