About Raden Mas Said

Raden Mas Said was born in the Kartasura Palace on 17 April 1725.  His father was Kangjeng Pangeran Arya Mangkoenagoro and his mother was Raden Ayu Wulan, daughter of Pangeran Balitar.  His father was known to be a learned man due to his extensive knowledge in literature and Javanese tradition.  It was because of this that he was considered most fit to take the throne after his father Amangkurat IV.  The political situation within the palace however was less than ideal for the prince.  When the younger brother was crowned as Pakubuwana II, Raden Mas Said’s father was considered a thorn in the flesh by the king’s mother, Gusti Kangjeng Ratu Ageng dan Patih Danureja.  He was slandered and exiled to Ceylon, and finally to Kaapstad in the southern tip of Africa.

After his father’s exile, Raden Mas Said and his brothers Raden Mas Ambia and Raden Mas Sabar lived a miserable life.  They were also without a mother.  The three lived in poverty and were excluded from court life.  There were no traces of their relation to the throne.  On the other hand, through his life of poverty, Raden Mas Said became close to the people.  Raden Sutawijaya and Raden Suradiwangsa became his closest friends.

At the age of 14, Raden Mas Said was appointed as Manteri Gandek holding the title Raden Mas Ngabehi Suryakusuma and was granted land of about 50 households.  When the exodus of the Chinese from Batavia reached Kartasura in 1740, there was a battle between the masses against the VOC in Kartasura.  In the chaos, Raden Mas Said sympathized with the people’s resistance.  The mutiny led by Mas Garendi succeeded in occupying the palace.

Conditions in the palace were unsafe and his concern for his brother’s safety pushed Raden Mas Said to leave the palace, accompanied by his friends, Sutawijaya and Suradiwangsa.  Suradiwangsa advised Raden Mas Said to go to Nglaroh, Suradiwangsa’s area in 1741.  During their stay at Nglaroh, Raden Mas Said together with his brothers and followers trained in combat to prepare for battle against the Dutch.  It was in Nglaroh where Raden Mas Said’s charisma began to shine and he grew up to lead the battles against the Dutch.  As leader, he appointed Raden Sutawijaya as his commander in chief and gave him the title Raden Ngabehi Rangga Panambang.  Suradiwangsa was appointed vice regent and his title was Kyai Kudanawarsa.

From 1741, Raden Mas Said formed a resistance to the Netherlands that lasted 16 years: during the first period (1741 – 1742), they were joined by the SunanKuning in RanduLawang; the second period lasted nine years (1743-1752), a battle fought together with PangeranMangkubumi; and finally, the third period continued for five years (1752-1757).  In that period, Raden Mas Said battled against the VOC, Sultan Hamengkubuwana I and Pakubuwana III.  Through the struggles, different battlefields, and tiring journeys, Raden Mas Said was always accompanied by his grandmother Raden Ajeng Sumanarsa, his two wives (Kangjeng Ratu Bendara dan Mas Ayu Matah Ati) and children.  As loyal followers, they were all trained to ride a horse and climb mountains and valleys, and were united under the TIJI-TIBEH vow.  Raden Mas Said’s persistence in fighting finally pushed Pakubuwana II to forge an agreement through the Salatiga Treaty which became the foundation of the Mangkunegaran governance.

Historical facts were written by:
– Sudharmono S.U, professor at the Faculty of Literature and Fine Arts University Sebelas Maret Surakarta
– Drs. Susanto, M. Hum, History Department, Faculty of History University Sebelas Maret