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Sunday, July 24, 2011

History, Origin And Structure Of Batak Script

The Batak script, called locally surat Batak, is an abugida used to write the Austronesian Batak languages spoken by several million people on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.


In most Batak communities, only the priests, or datu were able to use the Batak script, and used it mainly for magical texts and calendars. After the arrival of Europeans in the Batak lands, first German missionaries and, from 1878 onwards, the Dutch, the Batak script was, alongside the Roman script, taught in the schools, and teaching and religious materials were printed in the Batak script.

Soon after the first World War the missionaries decided to discontinue printing books in the Batak script, not only for financial reasons but also because generally the Batak preferred using the Roman script[citation needed]. The script soon fell out of use and is now only used for ornamental purposes.


The Batak script was probably derived from Pallava and Old Kawi alphabets, which ultimately were derived from the Brahmi alphabet, the root of almost all the Indic and Southeast Asian abugidas.


Batak is written from up to down within one line, and left to right for lines. Like most abugidas, each consonant has an inherent vowel of /a/, unless there is a diacritic (in Toba Batak called pangolat) to indicate the lack of a vowel. Other vowels, final ŋ, and final velar fricative [x] are indicated by diacritics, which appear above, below, or after the letter. For example, ba is written ba (one letter); bi is written ba.i (i follows the consonant); bang is written baŋ (ŋ is above the consonant); and bing is baŋ.i. Final consonants are written with the pangolat (here represented by "#"): bam is ba.ma.#.

However, bim is written ba.ma.i.#: the first diacritic belongs to the first consonant, and the second belongs to the second consonant, but both are written at the end of the entire syllable. Unlike most Brahmi-based scripts, Batak does not form consonant conjuncts.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

List of Batak Tribe That Has Success


Pantur Silaban, physicists
Williater Sitorus, Geologist
Taruna Sinaga, Chemist
Parulian Silaen PhD, Accounting Lecturer in Australia.


Arsitek Silaban, Architect
Jimmy Purba, Architect


Radja Nainggolan, football player
Saktiawan Sinaga, football player
Mahyadi Panggabean, football player


Ruhut Sitompul
Hotman Paris Hutapea
Tommy Sihotang
Luhut Pakpahan
Mochtar Pakpahan
Todung Mulya Lubis
Adnan Buyung Nasution
Junifer Girsang
Ruhut Sitompul
Hotma Sitompul


Sitor Situmorang
Bonggas L. Tobing


Miranda Goeltom, Deputy Senior Bank of Indonesia (BI)
Darmin Nasution, Deputy Senior Bank of Indonesia
Arifin Siregar, Deputy Bank of Indonesia
Aulia Pohan, Deputy Bank of Indonesia
Pande Radja Silalahi, executive from CSIS

Chocky Sitohang

Bill Saragih, jazz musician
Choky Sitohang, host
Joy Destiny Tobing, singer
Nadya Hutagalung, actress
Zivanna Letisha Siregar, model
Daan Lansink/Siregar, Local Drummer


Abdul Haris Nasution, former commander of Indonesian army forces
Donald Izacus Panjaitan, Indonesian revolutionary hero
Maraden Panggabean, former Indonesian government minister

TB Silalahi

Adam Malik, former Indonesian vice president
Akbar Tanjung, former head of Golkar party
Amir Sjarifuddin, former Indonesian prime minister
Burhanuddin Harahap, former Indonesian prime minister
Malam Sambat Kaban, Indonesian government minister
Raja Inal Siregar, former North Sumatera Province Governor
T.B. Silalahi, former Indonesian Military General

Putra Nababan

Mochtar Lubis, founder of Horizon magazine
Sondang Sirait, Voice of America Reporter
Rosiana Silalahi, famous Indonesian Reporter, Chief of Liputan 6
Putra Nababan, famous Indonesian Reporter, Chief of Seputar Indonesia

Business People

DL Sitorus
Hiras Purba, founder of Purba Ticketing
D. L. Sitorus, Founder of Torganda
Taha Tobing, Founder of SEREWare
David Simamora, Founder of Belebas

Islam And Other influences In Land Of Batak


Abdul Haris Nasution, General of the Indonesian Army
The Mandailing and Angkola people, occupying the southern Batak lands, came under the influence of the neighbouring Islamic Minangkabau people as a result of the Padri War (1821–1837).[42] Tens of thousands of Mandailing were forcibly converted to Islam, repudiating their traditional Batak faith.

Some Mandailing had previously converted to Islam, but the Padri war was a watershed event, with the Padri Wahabbis suppressing traditional adat and promoting 'pure' Islamic faith.

Over time Mandailing Islam, has been brought closer to the predominant Southeastern Shafi`i school of Islam as a result of Mandailing discourse with other Islamic practitioners and the practice of hajj, although traditional elements remain, such as dividing inheritance among all children, a Mandailing rather than Islamic practice.

Islam caused the decline in importance of marga, with many Mandailing abandoning their marga in favour of Muslim names, much less so among the Angkola to their North.
Abdul Haris Nasution, General of the Indonesian Army

The advent of Islam also caused the relegation of the datuk to a medicine man, with traditional rice-planting ceremonies and other such remnants of traditional culture deemed incompatbile with Islam.

The 'pasusur begu', a ceremony invoking ancestors to aid the community, was also suppressed. Other aspects of adat were however tolerated, with the Mandailing Islamic ideology placing adat on the same level as Islamic law, as in contrast with the Minang practice of placing Islamic law above adat. In more recent times, learned Islamic scholars (ulama) studying abroad, have suggested that many traditional Mandailing practices, such as the 'Raja' hereditary leaders, were in conflict with Islam, being indicative of 'pele begu'.

The Islamist ulama were in conflict for authority with the Namora-Natora, the traditional village legal practitioners, who were influenced by adat as much as Islam.

Christian missionaries had been active among the northern Mandailing from 1834 onwards, but their progress was restricted by the Dutch government, who feared conflict between newly converted Christians and Muslims. In addition, the lingua franca of the government was Malay, associated with Muslims, as were government civil servants, creating the perception that Islam was the religion of modernity and progress.

Missionaries determined that resistance among the Muslim Mandailing to Christianity was strong, and the missionaries abandoned them as 'unreachable people', moving north to evangelize the Toba.

At the turn of the 20th century, nearly all Mandailing and Angkola were Muslims. Despite this, the Dutch administration them as part of the Bataklanden, and therefore heathen or Christian. This perception was an inaccurate one, and many Mandailing strongly rejected the 'Batak' label.

Abdullah Lubis, writing in the 1920s, claimed that while the Mandailing followed Batak marga practice, they had never followed the Batak religion, and that the Mandailing people pre-dated the Toba, having acquired marga directly from 'Hindu' visitors. In the Dutch census, the Mandailing objected strongly to being listed in the census as 'Batak Mandailing'.

Mandailing in Malaysia (who migrated in the years following the Padri war), had no such objection to their being deemed 'Malays', and indeed Malaysian Mandailing retain little of their distinct identity, partly due to a British colonial policy of rice-land ownership restrictions for all but Malay-speaking Muslims, and the disapproval of 'Batak' Muslim practices by the existing Malay Muslim population.

Other influences

Modern Batak people are subject to religious influences through marriage and migration. Formerly Christian villages may, through migration of Muslim outsiders, lose their explicitly Christian identity, with pork excluded from wedding feasts in favour of meats acceptable to Islam.

Abrahamic religions

At the time of Marco Polo's visit in 1292 the people were described as "wild idolaters" who had not been influenced by outside religions, however by Ibn Battuta's visit in 1345 Arab traders had established river-ports along the northern coasts of Sumatra and Sultan Al-Malik Al-Dhahir had recently converted to Islam.

Sir Stamford Raffles perceived the Batak lands as a buffer between the Islamic Aceh and Minang kingdoms, and encouraged Christian missionary work to preserve this. This policy was continued by the Dutch, who deemed the non-Muslim lands the 'Bataklanden'.

In 1824 two British Baptist missionaries, Richard Burton and Nathaniel Ward, set off on foot from Sibolga and traveled through the Batak lands. After three days' journey they reached the high valley of Silindung and spent about two weeks in the Batak region. Considering the shortness of their stay their account reveals very intensive first-hand observation.

This was followed in 1834 by Henry Lyman and Samuel Munson from the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions who met with a more hostile reception. According to Ida Pfeiffer:

"Some time before the arrival of the missionaries some Mohammedan priests had made their appearance in the country, accompanied by a band of armed men, and had forced them by fire and sword to accept their religion...When, therefore, the unfortunate Americans presented themselves as religious teachers, the Battakers imagined they were going to have a repetition of the same scenes, and resolving to be beforehand with their tormentors, they killed them and ate them up."

Herman Neubronner van der Tuuk was employed by the Nederlands Bijbel Genootschap (Netherlands Bible Society) in the 1850s to produce a Batak-Dutch grammar-book and a dictionary, which enabled future Dutch and German missionaries to undertake the conversion of the Toba and Simalungan Batak.

The first German missionaries to the Lake Toba region arrived in 1861, and a mission was established in 1881 by Dr. Ludwig Ingwer Nommensen of the German Rhenish Missionary Society. The New Testament was first translated into Toba Batak by Dr. Nommensen in 1869 and a translation of the Old Testament was completed by P. H. Johannsen in 1891.

The complete text was printed in Latin script in Medan in 1893, although H. O. Voorma describes the translation as “not easy to read, it is rigid and not fluent, and sounds strange to the Batak…[with] a number of errors in the translation.” 

The Toba and Karo Bataks accepted Christianity rapidly and by the early 20th century it had become part of their cultural identity.

This period was characterized by the arrival of Dutch colonists and while most Bataks did not oppose the Dutch, the Toba Batak fought a guerrilla war that lasted into the early 20th century and ended only with the death in 1907 of their charismatic priest-warrior-king Si Singamangaraja XII, who had battled the Dutch during the First Toba War with both magic and weaponry.

Batak churches
HKBP Church in Balige, North Sumatra, built ca. 1917/WIKIPEDIA
The Huria Kristen Batak Protestan (HKBP) Church was established in Balige in September, 1917. By the late 1920s a nursing school was training nurse midwives there. In 1941, the Gereja Batak Karo Protestan (GBKP) was established. Although missionaries ceded much power to Batak converts in the first decades of the 20th century, Bataks never pressured the missionaries to leave and only took control of church activities as a result of thousands of foreign missionaries being interned or forced to leave after the 1942 invasion of Sumatra by the Japanese.

The Gereja Kristen Protestan Simalungun, originally part of the HKBP and preaching in Batak Toba language, eventually became a distinctively Simalungun church, adopting Simalungun customs and language, before finally incorporating as GKPS in 1963.

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