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Batavia in the memoirs of an eye-witness: autobiographical notes from the chronicle Tuhfat an-Nafis

Denisova, Tatiana A. (2019) Batavia in the memoirs of an eye-witness: autobiographical notes from the chronicle Tuhfat an-Nafis. Etnografia, NA (1(3)). pp. 99-129. ISSN 2618-8600

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.31250/2618-8600-2019-1(3)-99-...


The chronicle Tuhfat an-Nafis (“The Precious Gift”) is one of the most significant sources for the history of Johor, a very important independent Muslim state in the Malay Archipelago which existed between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries. Tuhfat an-Nafis was written around 1866 by Raja Ali Haji (1809–1872), one of the most profound intellectuals of his time. It was written in Malay language with Jawi script and sheds light on many aspects of Malay-Indonesian history. Besides the main storylines, the text contains different additional materials, including autobiographical passages. Among them is a report of the official visit to Batavia of a group of representatives of Johor’s vice-king Raja Jafar (1773– 1831) in early 1238 (1822), which the author took part in. In this passage, Batavia appears in the description of a fourteen-year-old Malay/Bugis boy who would soon become one of the most famous writers of his time. By comparing his simple story with the realities of Batavia’s life in 1822, which were reflected in archival documents, memoirs and academic publications, we clarify some personalities, toponyms and dates described in the text. It should be also emphasized that this is a new type of source for the study of the colonial Batavia, the history of which is used to be written only on the basis of European works, primarily Dutch ones.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Malay Muslim historiography, Batavia, Raja Ali Haji, memoirs
Subjects:B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BP Islam. Bahaism. Theosophy, etc
Divisions:Islamic Civilisation
ID Code:97126
Deposited By: Yanti Mohd Shah
Deposited On:13 Sep 2022 16:23
Last Modified:13 Sep 2022 16:23

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