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TRADITIONAL GOVERNMENT OF BALI

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The island of Bali was under the control of monarchy administration for 1000 years from 882 to 1945. During those period had been at least 3 different clues of rulers have been identified. From 882 to 998 AD was a period that was not clear, yet the indication of Hindu inspired monarchy is certain. Between 998 to 1343 AD was the flourishing ancient Bali kingdom under the dynasty of Warmadewa. From 1343 to 1882 for North Bali and 1908 for south Bali was the pride when Bali was ruled by the dynasty of Kepakisan originated from Majapahit kingdom of east Java. It would be important to know how the style and structure of administration, or bureaucracy of Bali during that period, before Bali entering modern system influenced by European style. An expert of mid-Bali history A.A. Putra Agung, S.U. has published his research on bureaucratic system of Bali on Widya Pustaka, a monthly issue of Faculty of Letters Udayana University.

During the period of kingdoms in Bali, the center of administration was the king himself. The personal of the king was the source and proprietor of power on the society. The structure of administration reflected in a patrimonial political system, which activities were all centralized at the palace. All administration staff at a small number were given the job description, salary level, and recruitment which were decided solely by the king. The scope of administration and its organization was too simple. The king himself for day to day operation was assisted by an assistant like a prime minister called " patih " who also assigned as the chief of the army. To protect his power the king posted his family members at every function such as dignitaries of central level and regency level. The position of patih and regency head or the punggawa were recruited from kings family or from feudal family or called " para gusti", so the king hope the highest loyalty from them. Beside that the king personally could be in control to those key position, such as to appreciate or to discharge them from his position.

In controlling the political condition, the king appointed an adviser from brahmana group, a religious functionaries called " bhagawanta". These bhagawanta originated from Shiwaism and Budhism. Special from brahmana there was a tradition that the choice also based on family and capability. The brahmana can be from family of Kemenuh, Keniten, or Manuaba, depending on his earlier tradition of the palace. The family of brahmana is based their place or village as the name of their family. For example brahmana Kemenuh, is a family of brahmana who's first generation was living at Kemenuh, and although for generations they are now can be found at any place in Bali, but they still identify themselves as brahmana Kemenuh. Other requirement is historically the family of brahmana is loyal and respect to the king. Interesting to find that until mid Bali period that the brahmana as priest had wide knowledge beside their main task on religion. An adviser to a king wouldn't be possible unless they have almost all knowledge's at the moment, so they acted as a philosopher. It is totally different from what we know about the brahmana priests in Bali today. In the thought of a king that brahmana could increase the power, and respect of the people. For brahmana it is also an advantage that his status was uplifted at the eyes of the society. The tradition of the palace to protect the brahmana also giving advantage to this condition, especially those who got an honor to be a bhagawanta. It had been common that bhagawanta who had merit to the palace were given gift such as land and some time including its residents. The place for the brahmana where he built his house called " geria". The relation between political elites and religious elite was a relation of patron-clients. The position of king as patron, and brahmana as clients. This is the first social relation in Balinese society. The position of king and brahmana are a two in unity mentioned on an ancient writing of Ramayana which was most probably edited during the 9th century in Java. While the relation between brahmana and the people is called " sisya - guru" meaning like a student with their teacher. The basis of this relation was love and care. It was a tradition of brahmana to visit and meet face to face with their sisya or student or followers which is basically can be referred as his people. The brahmana sometimes visit from house to house giving advises or assisted the people in making ceremony or relating to various matters of the society. Relation between king and brahmana is beside looked like a patron-client it was also a manuscript mentioned that the relation was like a two-unity, reflected by a famous statement on Ramayana and strongly observed in Bali that is " prabu tanpa wiku sirna, wiku tanpa brabu rug" means that king without the participation of brahmana will fall, and the brahmana without the existence of the king will be a chaos. The third relation is between the king and the people, in Balinese called " gusti - kaula ". This relation is a vertical form of patron - client where it was also added with the power of richness in worldly materials, beside his status as the power and higheststatus in the society. This is a perfect basis to form the relation of patron - clients.

A basic different between the concept of sisya - guru and gusti - kaula is the intensity of the relation. Sisya - guru is just like a student with the teacher, that is face to face contact is happened, while gusti - kaula is not happened, as this is a hierarchical relation. The bureaucratic structure during the ancient Balinese kingdom is on the top of king, the patih, the punggawas, the perbekels, and the Klian. If we see the structure of current Bali bureaucracy which is related to the ancient kingdom of Bali can be summed as the governor is the king, and the bupatis are the punggawas, and the perbekels is now kepala desa. While, the klian is still exist today. But this comparison does not give position to the current "camats" administration. Since this level of government has been added after the influence of western bureaucracy. If we see the smaller kingdoms which can not be said a full vassals, the level of camat today is comparable with the punggawa of Balinese kingdom. Starting 17th century many smaller kingdoms of Bali were fully developed and only lightly controlled by the kingdom of Bali which center has been in Klungkung or Semarapura. The kingdom such as Karangasem and Mengwi were two kingdoms that extended their coverage of emporium to beyond Bali. There were two kingdoms had almost the same structure of bureaucracy as the central kingdoms. Although the two kingdoms had developed their power, but they still consider the king of Klungkung as their " sesuhunan " meaning respected person, and had never wanted to take over the power of it.

The punggawas were appointed and discharged by the king, his recruitment is based on family relation and loyalty, and given full authority to settle the conflict on tradition and religion. So almost all of the positions were filled by the family of the royal palace member and the brahmana. Control was with the system called " memedek " meaning scheduled inspection, where punggawas and the king meet face to face. The punggawas usually given an attribute called " lencana " in the form of a kris as the symbol of legitimate power from the king. The punggawas was assisted by some perbekels. A perbekel was given the authority of administrating a region which was consist of some desas. A desa has a strong affinity among their residents to cope with their tradition and religion. Each desa has their own written rules that binds their society members. According to the characteristic of the desa, they can be divided into 2 groups. One is the older group such as what we know as Bali Aga and the newer group, mostly on lowland of Bali, which have been influenced by Majapahit kingdoms. The desas can be identified from their properties such as land belong to the desa called " karang desa ", 3 temples called " tri-kahyangan ", meeting hall, and the "prajuru adat" or the people speaker whom were voted democratically among the member of the desa. This type of administration was not efective in developing the society, and it looked that all kingdoms in Indonesia were the same. The king never take serious care of their people such as increasing their knowledge, welfare, nationalism and the very heart of the kingdom the relation on mutual benefit. That's why the people continually illiterate in a large part of them if not almost all common people. This bad attitude of the king had made other nations have been too easy to attack or colonize in a true meaning or in the abstract meaning.

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Angklung Music
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Barong Landung
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POPULAR TOURS

Among various tour packages and tour options in Bali there are some tours which can be said always on the publications and interest a large part of travellers to Bali. Kintamani mountain tour sits at the first number as the most popular sightseeing tour, second is Taman Ayun and Tanah Lot tour, third is Uluwatu temple tour.