Tun Sri Lanang

Tun Muhammad bin Tun Ahmad, better known as Tun Sri Lanang, is the Bendahara (Grand Vizier) of the royal Court of Johor Sultanate who lived between the 16th and 17th centuries.[1] He served under two Sultans of Johore namely; Sultan Ali Jalla Abdul Jalil Shah II (1570–1597) and Sultan Alauddin Riayat Shah III (1597–1615) and also advisers to 3 Acheh sultans namely; Sultan Iskandar Muda (until 1636), Sultan Iskandar Thani (1636–1641) and Sultana Tajul Alam Safiatuddin Shah (1641–1675). He had two honorific titles throughout his lifetime; as the Bendahara of Johor, Bendahara Paduka Raja Tun Mohamad, while he was given the title of Orang Kaya Dato' Bendahara Seri Paduka Tun Seberang after settling in Aceh.

Early life and events in Johore

Tun Sri Lanang was born in 1565 in Seluyut, Johore, and was descended from Tun Tahir, a brother of Bendahara Tun Mutahir of Malacca. There are not many records about his period as Bendahara in Johore. However during the rule of Sultan Alauddin Riayat Shah III, he shouldered a heavier burden on the affairs of the state as the Sultan is a weak ruler. He shared the responsibility with the Sultan's brother Raja Abdullah (later to become Sultan Abdullah Maayah Shah which reigns between 1615 to 1623).

During the period the Dutch were attacking the Portuguese for the port of Malacca. The Dutch signed a friendship treaty with the Johore Sultanate (in 1606) with Tun Sri Lanang as a representative. Tun Sri Lanang refused the Dutch request of helping the Dutch to blockade the port of Malacca preferring the Dutch do it themselves.

In 1612, at the request of Raja Abdullah to pen the Malay Annals to ensure " ... all the adat, the rules and the ceremonies of the Malay Sultans and Rajas to be heard by our descendants and is made known all utterances so that it may benefit them". At this time, under the orders of Sultan Alauddin Riaayat Shah, Tun Sri Lanang oversaw the editorial and compilation process of the Malay Annals, better known as Sejarah Melayu in Malay.

In 1613, Acheh attacked Johore and in the battle of Batu Sawar. Johore was defeated and the Royal Family and Tun Sri Lanang was captured and brought to Acheh. The Bendaharaship was continued by his descendants. His notable descendants include Bendehara Tun Habib Abdul Majid and the Raja Temenggung of Muar.

Later life in Acheh

In Aceh a brief "reeducation" the Johor Royal Family was returned to Johore. Tun Sri Lanang elected to stay in Acheh. He became advisor to the third Sultan of Acheh and was bestowed an Acheh honorific title. He was awarded a personal fief in Samalanga, Aceh in 1613 and held the title Uleebalang of Samalanga. He died in 1659 in Samalanga.


Some of Tun Sri Lanang's descendants rule as the Uleebalang of Samalanga until 1949, when Indonesia was formed in the same year. Many of his descendants are fervent nationalists including the female warrior Pocut Meuligo, Teuku Muhammad Daud, Teuku Abdul Hamid Azwar and Teuku Hamzah Bendehara. Some of his descendants carry the "Bendahara" suffix to their names indicating their ancestry.

His legacy is not only the magnum opus "Sejarah Melayu" but also includes the strongly Islamic flavor of Samalanga. Samalanga is also known as "Kota Santri", or "Town of Medrassas" is the centre of Islamic propagation in Acheh until today. Samalanga was also among the last town to fall to the Dutch during the time of the last Sultan of Acheh, Sultan Muhammad Daud Shah and also one of his strongholds.

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John Leyden
(September 8, 1775 – August 28, 1811) was a British orientalist.


Leyden was born at Denholm on the River Teviot, not far from Hawick. His father, a shepherd, had contrived to send him to Edinburgh University to study for the ministry. Leyden was a diligent but somewhat haphazard student, apparently reading everything except theology, for which he seems to have had no taste. Though he completed his divinity course, and in 1798 was licensed to preach from the presbytery of St Andrews, it soon became clear that the pulpit was not his vocation.

In 1794, Leyden formed an acquaintance with Dr Robert Anderson, editor of The British Poets, and of The Literary Magazine. It was Anderson who introduced him to Dr Alexander Murray, and Murray, probably, who led him to the study of Eastern languages. They became warm friends and generous rivals, though Leyden excelled, perhaps, in the rapid acquisition of new tongues and acquaintance with their literature, while Murray was the more scientific philologist.

Through Anderson also he came to know Richard Heber, by whom he came to the notice of Sir Walter Scott, who was then collecting materials for his Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border (1802). Leyden was admirably fitted for helping in this kind of work, for he was a borderer himself, and an enthusiastic lover of old ballads and folklore. Scott tells how, on one occasion, Leyden walked 40 miles to get the last two verses of a ballad, and returned at midnight, singing it all the way with his loud, harsh voice, to the wonder and consternation of the poet and his household.

Other work on Scottish customs includes the editing of the 16th-century tract The Complaynt of Scotland, adding an essay exploring Scottish folk music and customs, printing a volume of Scottish descriptive poems, and nearly finishing his Scenes of Infancy, a diffuse poem based on border scenes and traditions. Leyden meanwhile compiled a work on the Discoveries and Settlements of Europeans in Northern and Western Africa, suggested by Mungo Park's travels, He also made some translations from Persian and Arabic poetry.

At last his friends got him an appointment in India on the medical staff, for which he qualified by a year's hard work. In 1803, he sailed for Madras, and took his place in the general hospital there. He was promoted to be naturalist to the commissioners going to survey Mysore, and in 1807, his knowledge of the languages of India procured him an appointment as professor of Hindustani at Calcutta; this he soon after resigned for a judgeship, and that again to be a commissioner in the court of requests in 1805, a post which required a familiarity with several Eastern languages.

In 1811, Leyden joined Lord Minto in the expedition to Java. Having entered a library which was said to contain many Eastern manuscripts, without having the place aired, he was seized with Batavian fever (possibly malaria or dengue) and died, after three days' illness, on 28 August 1811. He was buried on the island, underneath a small firefly colony, which remains as his tombstone to this day.

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