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Gajah Mada

Gajah Mada
Gajah Mada
Prime Minister of the Majapahit Empire

Suspected terracotta of Gajah Mada


1329 - 1364c.





Gajah Mada (translated as Elephant General) (circa 1290 circa 1364) was, according to Javanese old
manuscripts, poems and mythology, a powerful military leader and mahapatih or prime minister of the Majapahit
Empire, credited with bringing the empire to its peak of glory. He delivered an oath called Sumpah Palapa, in which
he vowed not to eat any food containing spices until he had conquered all of the Southeast Asian archipelago of
Nusantara for Majapahit.[1] In modern Indonesia, he serves as an important national hero[2] and a symbol of

Rise to Power
Not much is known about Gajah Mada's early life. Some of the first accounts mention his career as commander of
the Bhayangkara, an elite guard for Majapahit kings and their family. When Rakrian Kuti, one of the officials in
Majapahit, rebelled against the Majapahit king Jayanegara (ruled 13091328) in 1321, Gajah Mada and the
then-mahapatih Arya Tadah helped the king and his family to escape the capital city of Trowulan. Later Gajah Mada
aided the king to return to the capital and crush the rebellion. Seven years later, Jayanegara was murdered by Rakrian
Tanca, the court physician, one of Rakrian Kuti's aides.
In another version, according to the Nagarakretagama (a Javanese language epic poem dating from the 14th century),
and supported by inscriptions dating from the late 13th and early 14th century, Jayanagara was assassinated by Gajah
Mada in 1328. It is saidWikipedia:Avoid weasel words that Jayanagara was overprotective towards his two half
sisters, born from Kertarajasa's youngest queen, Dyah Dewi Gayatri. Complaints by the two young princesses led to
the intervention of Gajah Mada. His drastic solution was to arrange for a surgeon to murder the king while
pretending to perform an operation.
Jayanegara was immediately succeeded by his sister Tribhuwana Wijayatunggadewi (ruled 13281350). It was
under her leadership that Gajah Mada was appointed mahapatih (Prime Minister) in 1329, after the retirement of

Gajah Mada
Arya Tadah.
As mahapatih under Thribuwana Tunggadewi Gajah Mada went on to crush another rebellion by Sadeng and Keta in
It was during Gajah Mada's reign as mahapatih, around the year 1345, that the famous Muslim traveller, Ibn Battuta
visited Sumatera.

The Palapa Oath and Invasion

It is said that it was during his appointment as mahapatih under queen Tribhuwanatunggadewi that Gajah Mada took
his famous oath, Palapa Oath or Sumpah Palapa. The telling of the oath is described in the Pararaton (Book of
Kings), an account on Javanese history that dates from the 15th or 16th century:
Sira Gajah Mada pepatih amungkubumi tan ayun amukita palapa, sira Gajah Mada : Lamun huwus kalah
nusantara Ingsun amukti palapa, lamun kalah ring Gurun, ring Seram, Tanjungpura, ring Haru, ring Pahang,
Dompo, ring Bali, Sunda, Palembang, Temasek, samana ingsun amukti palapa
"Gajah Mada, the prime minister, said he will not taste any spice. Said Gajah Mada : If Nusantara (Nusantara=
Nusa antara= external territories) are lost, I will not taste "palapa" ("fruits and or spices"). I will not if the domain
of Gurun, domain of Seram, domain of Tanjungpura, domain of Haru, Pahang, Dompo, domain of Bali, Sunda,
Palembang, Tumasik, in which case I will never taste any spice."
While often interpreted literally to mean that Gajah Mada would not allow his food to be spiced (palapa is the prose
combination of pala apa= any fruits/spices) the oath is sometimes interpreted to mean that Gajah Mada would abstain
from all earthly pleasures until he conquered the entire known archipelago for Majapahit.
Even his closest friends were at first doubtful of his oath, but Gajah Mada kept pursuing his dream to unify
Nusantara under the glory of Majapahit. Soon he conquered the surrounding territory of Bedahulu (Bali) and
Lombok (1343). He then sent the navy westward to attack the remnants of the thallassocrathic kingdom of Sriwijaya
in Palembang. There he installed Adityawarman, a Majapahit prince as vassal rulerWikipedia:Disputed statement of
the Minangkabau in West Sumatra.
He then conquered the first Islamic sultanate in Southeast Asia, Samudra Pasai, and another state in Svarnadvipa
(Sumatra). Gajah Mada also conquered Bintan, Tumasik (Singapore), Melayu (now known as Jambi), and
At the resignation of the queen, Tribuwanatunggadewi, her son, Hayam Wuruk (ruled 13501389) became king.
Gajah Mada retained his position as mahapatih (Prime Minister) under the new king and continued his military
campaign by expanding eastward into Logajah, Gurun, Seram, Hutankadali, Sasak, Buton, Banggai, Kunir, Galiyan,
Salayar, Sumba, Muar (Saparua), Solor, Bima, Wandan (Banda), Ambon, Timor, and Dompo.
He thus effectively brought the modern Indonesian archipelago under Majapahits's control, which spanned not only
the territory of today's Indonesia, but also that of Temasek (old name of Singapore), the states comprising
modern-day Malaysia, Brunei, the southern Philippines and East Timor.

The Battle Of Bubat

Main article: Battle of Bubat
In 1357, the only remaining state refusing to acknowledge Majapahit's hegemony was Sunda, in West Java,
bordering the Majapahit Empire. King Hayam Wuruk intended to marry Dyah Pitaloka Citraresmi, a princess of
Sunda and the daughter of Sunda's king. Gajah Mada was given the task to go to the Bubat square on northern part of
Trowulan to welcome the princess as she arrived with her father and escort to Majapahit palace.
Gajah Mada took this opportunity to demand Sunda submission under Majapahit rule. While the Sunda King thought
that the royal marriage was a sign of a new alliance between Sunda and Majapahit, Gajah Mada thought otherwise.

Gajah Mada
He stated that the Princess of Sunda is not to be hailed as the new queen consort of Majapahit, but merely as a
concubine, as a sign of submission of Sunda to Majapahit. This misunderstanding led to embarrassment and hostility,
which quickly rose into a skirmish and the full scale Battle of Bubat. The Sunda King with all of his guards and royal
party were overwhelmed by Majapahit troops and subsequently killed in the field of Bubat. Tradition mentioned that
the heartbroken princess, Dyah Pitaloka Citraresmi, committed suicide.
Hayam Wuruk was deeply shocked about the tragedy. Majapahit courtiers, ministers and nobles blamed Gajah Mada
for his recklesness, and the brutal consequences were not to the taste of the Majapahit royal family. Gajah Mada was
promptly demoted and spent the rest of his days at the estate of Madakaripura in Probolinggo in East Java.
Gajah Mada died in obscurity in 1364. King Hayam Wuruk considered that the power Gajah Mada had accumulated
during his time as mahapatih was too much to handle for a single person. Therefore the king split the responsibilities
that had been Gajah Mada's, between four separate new mahamantri (equal to ministries), thereby probably
increasing his own power. King Hayam Wuruk, who is said to have been a wise leader, was able to maintain the
hegemony of Majapahit in the region, gained during Gajah Mada's service. However Majapahit slowly fell into
decline after the death of Hayam Wuruk.

Gajah Mada's legacy is important for Indonesian Nationalism, and invoked by Indonesian Nationalist movement in
early 20th century. The Nationalists prior to the Japanese invasion, notably Sukarno, often cited Gajah Mada and his
oath as an inspiration and a historical proof of Indonesian past greatness. That Indonesians could unite, despite vast
territory and various cultures. Thus, Gajah Mada was a great inspiration during the Indonesian National Revolution
for independence from Dutch colonization.
In 1942, only 230 Indonesian natives held a tertiary education. The Republicans sought to mend the Dutch apathy
and established the first state university, which freely admitted native pribumi Indonesians Universitas Gadjah
Mada, in Yogyakarta is named in honour of Gajah Mada and completed in 1945, and had the honour of the first
Medicine Faculty freely open to natives.[3][4][5] Indonesia's first telecommunication satellite was called Satelit
Palapa signifying its role in uniting the country. Many cities in Indonesia but West Java have streets named after
Gajah Mada. There is a brand of badminton shuttlecock named after him as well.

[1] http:/ / digilib. pnri. go. id/ uploaded_files/ k003/ normal/ Sumpah_Palapa. pdf
[2] Majapahit Story : The History of Gajah Mada (http:/ / www. eastjava. com/ books/ majapahit/ html/ gajah. html)
[3] Stephen Lock, John M. Last, George Dunea. The Oxford illustrated companion to medicine Oxford Companions Series-Oxford reference
online. Oxford University Press US: 2001. ISBN 0-19-262950-6. 891 pages: pp. 765
[4] James J. F. Forest, Philip G. Altbach. Volume 18 of Springer international handbooks of education: International handbook of higher
education, Volume 1. Springer: 2006. ISBN 1-4020-4011-3. 1102 pages. pp772
[5] R. B. Cribb, Audrey Kahin. Volume 51 of Historical dictionaries of Asia, Oceania, and the Middle East: Historical dictionary of Indonesia.
Scarecrow Press: 2004. ISBN 978-0-8108-4935-8. 583 pages. 133

External links
Gajah Mada article (http://www.eastjava.com/books/majapahit/html/gajah.html)

Article Sources and Contributors

Article Sources and Contributors

Gajah Mada Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?oldid=609470840 Contributors: *drew, AdityaLesmana, Alex Ruddick, Arifhidayat, AtticusX, Aymankamelwiki, BD2412,
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Ukozok, Varlaam, Woohookitty, Yamamoto Ichiro, 83 anonymous edits

Image Sources, Licenses and Contributors

File:Gajah-Mada.jpg Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Gajah-Mada.jpg License: Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0 Contributors: Gunkarta (talk) / Gunawan

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