A New Collection, 15,000 Manuscript Pages by Pangeran Madrais Kuningan Digitised

DREAMSEA Launches the Database of Southeast Asian Digitised Manuscripts
October 28, 2021

DREAMSEA, Kuningan – From 15 October until 13 November 2021, more manuscripts of the collection of Pangeran Madrais in Paseban Tri Panca Tunggal in Kuningan, West Java, Indonesia were digitised by DREAMSEA. This was the second stage in the preservation efforts to safe the manuscripts in Paseban as they are threatened of becoming damaged.

Dr Tedi Permadi from the Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia acted as Academic Expert and team leader during this mission. He was assisted by Emmy Ratna Gumilang Damiasih from Paseban Tri Panca Tunggal Tim as Assistant Academic Expert, and by Surya who acted as photographer and Kurniawan as his assistant.

No less than 15.000 pages from 75 manuscripts were digitised. Most of the manuscripts were written on paper in Roman and Javanese scripts and in the Sundanese, Javanese and Malay languages.

Talking about the significance of the manuscripts, Dr Tedi Permadi said that the collection is important because the manuscripts in Paseban Tri Panca Tunggal record historical developments in Indonesia.

“It is important that the digitising mission is continued because the Paseban Tri Panca Tunggal collection contains the historical developments in Indonesia as written by Pangeran Madrais. The manuscripts record the people’s perception during colonial times and in his writings, Pangeran Madrais speaks to all Indonesians – and not just the Sundanese and Javanese people. Almost all of the texts contain a nationalistic and independent spirit urging the people to liberate themselves from colonial rule,” he explained.

His statement accords with that of Emmy Ratna Gumilang Damiasih, Pangeran Djatikusumah second child who acts in Paseban Tri Panca Tunggal as the manuscripts’ caretaker. Her readings of the manuscripts so far reveal that most of Pangeran Madrais’s manuscripts deal with humanity and nationhood.

“We think that about 85-90% of the texts deal with nationhood and human consciousness so they urge people to be aware of their humanity. Pangeran Madrais strongly emphasised that people should respect each other so that they could take better care of their country in all sorts of ways. They should also be independent and try not to depend on others. They can reach this when the economy is strong and when they take proper care of the environment and the culture they possess”, said Emmy.

Emmy Ratna Gumilang Damiasih showed a set of new collection of manuscripts

The start of the second stage in the digitisation of the manuscripts in Paseban Tri Panca Tunggal coincided with the ceremony for the festivities of the 89th birthday of Pangeran Djatikusuma, the owner of the manuscripts and who acts as the leader of Paseban Tri Panca Tunggal.

Ilham Nurwansah, DREAMSEA’s expert, speaking for the entire digitisation team, thanked the Paseban Tri Panca Tunggal community for having given the opportunity to organize this second stage in the preservation of their manuscripts.

“This is the second step in our commitment to attend to the Paseban manuscripts and to preserve the intellectual wealth of the past. We wholeheartedly thank Paseban Tri Panca Tunggal for having offered us the opportunity to visit again to digitise the manuscripts that were written by Pangeran Madrais”, he said in his address.

On another occasion, DREAMSEA’s Data Manager, Muhammad Nida Fadlan, also addressed the mission and stated that it was important that the Paseban Tri Panca Tunggal collection is studied:

“The manuscripts from the Paseban collection that were digitised during the first stage are now available on the DREAMSEA repository. During the first mission no less than 15.010 digital images were made from 235 manuscripts and they can now be accessed online for free. The next, and in no way less important step, is to study the texts and to open their historical and cultural contexts to the public, especially for Kuningan”, he stated.

An Islamic manuscript in the collection of Paseban Tri Panca Tunggal

During this second mission it became clear that the collection does not only contain manuscripts written by Pangeran Madrais but that it also contains manuscripts with an Islamic content, such as a copy of the a book on Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) written in pegon that used to be part of the collection of a pesantren (Islamic boarding school) in Kuningan.

“Of course, this means that the Paseban collection is connected to other collections in the region and that this should be explored in more detail”, added Nida.

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