TAWARIKH: International Journal for Historical Studies,
Volume 7(1) October 2015.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Haji Awang Asbol bin Haji Mail
Guest Editor of the TAWARIKH Journal in Bandung, Indonesia, for issue of October 2015; and Senior Lecturer at the History Program and International Studies, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences UBD (University of Brunei Darussalam) in Bandar Seri Begawan, Negara Brunei Darussalam.
In making history of a nation, the role and contribution of every leader, who rules a nation, must never be forgotten. They (the leaders) have their own contribution in different situations and events. In this context, it is relevance to stress here that every generation, including the leaders in that time, have had his/her own challenges and responses. The leaders in the traditional communities, for example, were different with the leaders in the modern societies, not only in area of problems but also in the form of authorities and leaderships. Also between the leaders in nation-states, compared with the leaders in constitutional monarch-states, it is different in style and source of authorities. So, what is important here that the leaders, in historical perspectives, have had a significance roles to change the social realities.
For Brunei Darussalam, being a Sultanate, it is important that the contribution of every ruler must be remembered in the history of the country. From the foundation of a nation, to a territorial expansion leading to the road of independence, the history was already written. History has shown that no one country reached the apex of development without having to see gloomy days and experiencing hardships. Brunei Darussalam has shared the same experience. From there, motivation has been born to assuring the continual existence of the country, which stands on the philosophy of MIB (“Melayu – Islam – Beraja” or Malay – Islamic – Monarchy). About the philosophy of every nation-state, it is also different based on the historical journey and political real of the nation-state. The Republic of Indonesia, for example, has had the “Pancasila” (five basic principles) as the philosophy of nation-state.
The role of history teaching, accordingly, is of importance here. The tranquility and prosperity prevalent today is the contribution of sacrifices made by the previous generations. One of the most important things in the history of Brunei Darussalam, for example, is the declaration of independence. Based on the recorded history of Brunei Darussalam, the country has achieved independence thrice from the foreign powers. The earliest was in the 14th century, when Brunei successfully broke free from the Majapahit rule of Jawa, Indonesia. Later, in the 16th century, the Spanish armada was defeated after the 72 day conquest of Brunei. Finally in 1984, when Brunei was no longer regarded as a British protectorate, and it became an independence state. The third independence, in 1984, is significant as it was painstaking achievement.
The previous two achievements had claimed lives and belongings, while the third had not, but it required prudence in diplomacy and political strategies. The strategy adopted to achieve the third independence was of an abstract one, propelled by psychological and emotional pressures that required tenacity and perseverance. It was through the discernment of the late Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, the 28th Sultan of Brunei (1950-1967); and His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, Sultan and “Yang Dipertuan” (Head of State) Brunei Darussalam, the magnum opus, i.e. Brunei’s sovereignty was restored without losing lives.
Therefore, continual researches on Brunei Darussalam and other nation-states’ history are very crucial, not only for educational purposes but also for the people in general. This effort will benefit nation building in terms of intellectual development of writers and researchers. It can be done not exclusive in the field of history, but also to other realms and holistically benefits the country. History is one of the sources for searching and empowering the national identity.
The articles in this TAWARIKH journal, issue of October 2015, clearly do not specialize in the study of Brunei Darussalam history. Only article from Nani Suryani Abubakar, a lecturer at the UBD (University of Brunei Darussalam), examines the history of Brunei Darussalam in 1970s. While the other articles, which come from various countries, such as Indonesia, India, Nigeria, and Ondo State in Africa, a lot of study about the history outside the mainstream political elite, for example: the past of Africa associated with the issue of globalization; typology of chronicle discourse as a work of traditional historiography; Arabs role in education; relationship between religious organization with the nation-state; take a lesson from the past glory of an empire; historical and cultural performances such as traditional dance in Sulawesi; study the history of a city; the concept of “jihad” in Islam; and the values of leadership in traditional and modern societies.
It is often asserted that the study of modern historiography, or the history of historical writing in cutting-edge, is not only studying the political problems, the state, the army, and the “great men” leaders. The study on the ordinary people, such as the history of the workers, peasants, women, indigenous people, and many more, which have received less attention and tend to be ignored, it is a special place to complete and gain a comprehensive understanding that in the reverse role played by the “great men” leaders were often supported, or even not supported, by a group of “little people” at the grassroots level.
Thus, we will gain a comprehensive perspective, not just “history from above” but also “history from below”. Even in assessing the pattern of struggle movement, we can understand the history that is driven by “the left”, “right people”, and “the middle class”. The study of history that will describe the whole aspects, it is often referred to as “total history”, which for the developing countries like Brunei Darussalam and Indonesia, who are carrying out development in all fields, the study of total and comprehensive history is obviously very relevant and functional. Unfortunately, the discourse of history and historical study in developing countries, in general, are still political history and the history of “great men”. While history in the context of non-political and ordinary people studies is generally seen as unattractive and less relevant.
It is also important to stress here about the comparative study in history. By doing a comparative study, we are not only able to understand the similarities and differences, but also a lot of things that can be a lesson. In studying the field of education, for example, why the nation-state is successful, while other nation-states are less successful. What factors led to the success and/or failure. Taking lessons from history is our usability in studying the history. “Historia magistra vitae”, which means that history is the teacher of life. The past can provide lessons today, and the future can be shaped towards its development today. That is the essence and the main benefit we learn history. Do enjoy to reading the articles presented in the TAWARIKH journal, may be useful.
Bandar Seri Begawan, Negara Brunei Darussalam: October 28, 2015.
TAWARIKH: International Journal for Historical Studies,
Volume 7(1) October 2015.
PAUL ILESANMI AKANMIDU,
African Historical Past: A Paradox of Global Reality in the Twenty-First Century.
The Typology of Babad Zaman (Chronicle of Times) Discourse in the Perspective of Mikhail Mikhailovic Bakhtin.
NANI SURYANI ABU BAKAR,
Brunei and the British Reversal of Policy 1971.
Nahdlatul Ulama, the Fiqh Paradigm, and the Republic of Indonesia.
ISMAIL SUARDI WEKKE,
Arabian Society in Kaili Lands, Central Sulawesi: Arabic Education and its Movement.
Mughal Gujarat: An Acme of Learning.
BASRIN MELAMBA, LA ODE NGGAWU & LA NIAMPE,
The Lulo Dance from Traditional to MURI Record: Historical Analysis of Tolakinese Culture in Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia.
KATHERINA ALLO & YASRAF AMIR PILIANG,
Historizing the City of Pekalongan.
KAMALDEEN OLAWALE SULAIMAN,
The Concept of Jihad in Islam: An Historical Perspective.
Leadership Values in the Life of Traditional and Modern Society: An Historical Study.