THE SASAK OF LOMBOK

Built by Karangsem kingThe island of Lombok has almost the same size as the island of Bali and only 25 minutes by air, and 6 hours by ferry boat from Bali. The island was formed by volcanic activity which peak is still can be seen today, the peak of Rinjani. It is not much have been disclosed about the existence of which is called original population of Lombok, the Sasak. Physically the people have almost the same trait with Balinese or other people of Indonesia. The language is different from Balinese or Javanese although some important words that are closed to their very traditional life are the same or can be linguistically traced as dialect of West Malay. Archaeological research has not been as extensive as Bali or other parts of Indonesia, so the clear origin of the Sasak can not be determined in more satisfying way.

Before 1677 it seemed that the influence of Makassar had vaguely reaching Lombok through it's vassal kingdom of Sumbawa. These vague clues can be heard from the folktale that a mission of Islam came from Sumbawa to Lombok introducing Allah. This is the fact that during Balinese control on the island it was found the people already practice Islam mixed with local beliefs. During the control of Karangasem kingdom of Bali the influence became mixed with Hindu arising what is called Islam Waktu Telu. It is recorded that during the era the life of the people in Lombok was so harmonious, never at all any conflict due to different beliefs or different way of life. A pity that during this hundreds of era of modernization we can see conflict using religion as the reason some where which probably degradation of moral and civilization at one hand and too advanced culture at the other hand. The population of Lombok including those living on some small islands called Gilis consist of small part Balinese or those alreadyliving as Balinese and the Sasak as the majority of almost 90% from the whole number of population.

Hindu Temple The expedition of Makassar troop from Sumbawa in 1677 to 1678 was spelled out by Balinese and the Sasak and the while island up to Sumbawa island under the control of Karangasem kingdom, but the intensive culturization of Bali only on West Lombok, especially on the area of present Mataram and Cakranegara as the center of capital of the kingdom. It was strong indication that the center of the kingdom relocated from Amplapura ( Bali ) to Mataram lombok. This is indicated by the order of the king to send his 2 nephews to Karangasem Bali to take over the rule. Under the kingdom of Karangasem Lombok entered the new stage of fluent communication with other parts of Indonesia. Social and culture changes happened quiet rapidly. The system of irrigation known as Subak in Bali was introduced in Lombok, which increased the amount of harvest tremendously.

Until 1740 Lombok was under full control of Karangasem kingdom which capital city was still in Amplapura, Bali, Their emporium is said to include Sumbawa island. The control of Sumbawa by Karangasem now the kingdom facing directly with the kingdom of Makassar on south Sulawesi which already controlled the southern shore such as Bone, one of the strongest kingdom on the southern shore.

Sasak House By 1849 the center of Karangasem kingdom was moved to Mataram, Lombok. The establishment of Lombok kingdom by Karangasem dynasty brought social system which was developing in Bali. The title of the king still using their royal family of I Gusti, by the people Ida Anake Agung ( people addressing or speaking of his majesty ). The last name of the king still used Karangasem. It was not only traditional social system that was brought to Lombok, also the belief of Hindu, besides that seemed a number of Balinese were brought by the king to lombok. The system of bureaucracy applied the same as what have been current in Bali. This social system also penetrated the foundation of Sasak people, the said original people of Lombok. The heritages of Karangasem kingdom in social system still can be found until today that among Sasak people the social strata that parallel with Balinese such as :
Raden/Des/Duide - king ( Kesatria )
Balog/Lalu/Lale - Royal family ( Kesatria )
Pe/Bapak ------------------- person that have position in society ( like Wesia )
Loq/La/Amaq -------- Common people ( like Sudra in Bali )
Sepangan ------- slave
The word Raden is typically Javanese, just it was in Bali the word was not uncommon to refer the persons that have high position in the political field. Bureaucratic system was also introduced to the people of Lombok where the king was assisted by district head called Punggawa, which covers some areas headed by Perbekel, and lowest political unit is headed by Kliang ( Bali : Klian ).

The end of 20th century the growing effort of Dutch to colonize Lombok the first ethnic was provocated was the Sasak to revolt against Balinese, and Makassar also provocated to revenge against Bali as their vassal of Sumbawa was annexed hundred years ago. This provocation was doing well and Bali facing 3 coalitions the Sasak, The Makassar and Dutch. Makassar at that time was practically already under the control of Dutch. Karangasem kingdom was unable to face this coalition and felt under the colonization of Dutch which continued until 1945 and intermittence by the great famine around 1930.

Although local tradition has been communicated with outsiders since the Karangasem kingdom, and their effort to preserve their original heritages against Islam and Hindu, they seemed much influenced by Islam. On the eastern part of the island where the tradition of Bali was not inserted intensively can still be seen the real tradition of Sasak people with Islam. It was probably the function of king immediate assistant such as the Punggawas on the area only collecting taxes. This is why East part of lombok to much legged behind West and Central Lombok worsen again with the high birth rates making the area never can start to keep pace with other parts of Lombok. Mass marriage that also influences central Lombok lately is one of the difficulties in upgrading the welfare of the people. This mass marriage is seasonal, especially during rice harvest, when foods are over supply. This bad tradition is not occurring on West Lombok especially the area already influenced by Bali.