BANTIN

After several years of tranquillity, in 1 897 troubles again
arose in the Batang Lupar. An Ulu Ai named Bantin, a
man of no rank, collected a few kindred restless and badly
disposed Dayaks, and, under the pretence of wrongs, more or

388 A HISTORY OF SARAWAK

less imaginary, done to him and his people in former times,
made several petty raids against Dayaks living farther
down-river. Trifling as the successes were that he obtained
they were sufficient to gain for him renown as a leader, and
not only the addition of more followers, but the co-opera-
tion of a few chiefs living in his neighbourhood, — turbulent
characters who had been subdued before, but who were
only waiting for a favourable opportunity to break out again.
The people were attacked in March, 1897, and, amongst
others, Bantin’s eldest son was killed. A few months later
he was severely handled again for attacking some Dayaks
living below Lobok Antu, and this lesson was apparently
sufficient to keep his hands off his neighbours for a few
years.

But in March, 1902, he again broke out, and on two
occasions attacked inoffensive Dayaks below Lobok Antu,
killing four ; and this led to perhaps the most tragic event
that the annals of Sarawak record.

The Rajah at once organised an expedition with the
object of crushing and scattering this nest of rebels. To do
this successfully a large force was necessary to block all
roads by which the rebels could escape, especially those
leading over the border ; but, unfortunately, an unprecedented
number of Dayaks, some 12,000, turned out at the bidding
of their Ruler, far more than were wanted or expected.

Leaving Simanggang Fort on June 9, under the com-
mand of Mr. H. F. Deshon, the Resident of the 3rd Division, 1
with whom was the Rajah Muda and Mr. D. J. S. Bailey, the
Resident of Batang Lupar and Saribas, 2 the force reached
Nanga Delok on the 1 2th. Here the boats were to be left,
and the bala was to march inland in divisions. With a
company of Rangers, a strong and well-equipped body of
Malays, and an overwhelming force of Dayaks success seemed
assured ; but a foe more dreadful than any human enemy

1 Mr. Deshoo joined the Sarawak service in 1876. In 1883 he was appoint™
Resident of Batang Lupar and Saribas; Divisional Resident of the 4th Division in
1892 ; of the 3rd Division in 1896 ; and in 1903, In- succeeded Mr. ( . A. Bam]
as Resident of Sarawak. He retired in 1904, and v. led by Sir

Cunynghame, Bart., tin- present Resident

– Entered the Sarawak service in 1888. Resident of Batang Lupar and £
1894.

THE SEA-DAYAKS 389

attacked the camp, and in a few hours had claimed many
victims. Cholera had broken out, and rapidly spread.
Panic-stricken, with their dead * and dying, the Dayaks at
once turned their bangkongs homewards, and by mid-day of
the 14th, of 815 boats that had collected at Nanga Delok,
but nineteen remained, with the Malay contingent; and the
Rangers, who lost eight of their comrades, and their senior non-
commissioned officer. Of the small force of Dayaks who had
so bravely stood by their leaders, only a hundred, or under one
half, were available for service. These, under their plucky
leader, the Pengulu Dalam, attempted to effect something,
but the rebels had retreated farther than they dared follow,
and after burning a few houses in the vicinity they were
compelled to retreat to their boats. Then the small remnant
of the expedition returned, passing on their way down many
empty boats, and other gruesome testimony of the sad havoc
caused by the cholera, to which it was subsequently ascertained
at least one thousand had fallen victims.

Bantin was soon on the war-path again, harassing the
lower Dayaks on a larger scale than before. Mr. Bailey
twice attacked him, on the first occasion burning twenty-
four villages, and forty on the second, in co-operation with a
bala from the Rejang under Pengulu Dalam, when many of
the rebels were killed, but these punishments failed to bring
Bantin and his band to their senses.

An expedition led by the Rajah in March, 1903, the last
one he has led in person, resulted in submission ; it, however,
proved but hollow, having been made by the rebels to gain
time to recover from their losses. In February the following
year, during the Rajah’s absence in England, the Rajah Muda
was compelled to attack these rebels again ; and, though
this expedition was successful, another had to be despatched
against them in June. On this occasion a column led by
Mr. J. Baring-Gould 2 was attacked by the rebels, who were
driven off with a heavy loss. Nearly fifty long-houses were
destroyed.

1 They could not bury their dead in an enemy’s country — the bodies would have
been dug up and the heads taken.

2 Then Resident 2nd Class 2nd Division. Now Resident of the Rejang. He
joined the service in 1897.

390 A HISTORY OF SARAWAK

Then a large party of these wild Ulu Ai Dayaks of the
Rejang and Batang Lupar .settled upon Entimau hill near
the head of the Katibas, and there built a strong stockade,
but by a frontal attack delivered by the Pengulu Dalam,
quickly followed up by an attack from their rear under Pen-
gulu Merum, these rebels were driven out with a heavy loss.
They then retired to the head of the Kanowit, where they
were again severely handled by the Pengulu Dalam.

It is sometime now since Bantin with many others finally
submitted to the Rajah at Kapit Fort ; and though the peace
that followed lasted for some little time, other outbreaks have
occurred, though these have been less frequent and serious.

SOURCE: http://www.archive.org/stream/historyofsarawak00bari/historyofsarawak00bari_djvu.txt

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