Breaking News: Dual leadership in Surakarta palace ends

After seven years of dual leadership in the Surakarta Kasunanan Keraton palace, Pakubuwono XIII Hangabehi and Pakubuwono XIII Tedjowulan have finally agreed to reconcile. The treaty was signed at Grand Mahakam Hotel in Jakarta on May 16, witnessed by Surakarta Mayor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.

Tedjowulan eventually is ready to relinquish the title of Pakubuwono XIII, which he has held for the past seven years, and changed it to Kanjeng Gusti Pangeran Haryo Panembahan Agung, which is a special title credited to the Surakarta Kasunanan Keraton. The title has been mutually agreed upon by Hangabehi and Tedjowulan. “The Panembahan Agung title is part of a compromise,” Tedjowulan spokesman KRH Bambang Pradotonagoro said on Monday.

The conflict of the dual leadership ensued seven years ago following the demise of Pakubuwono XII.
Hangabehi was then being groomed to be the next ruler as the eldest son of Pakubuwono’s eldest concubine, while Tedjowulan rose as the throne to the title due to the belief that every Pakubuwono prince is entitled to become king, given that Pakubuwono did not have a queen, thus the absence of an heir apparent or crown prince.

The dual leadership had triggered an internal conflict within the palace. Tedjowulan’s followers were not allowed to enter the palace and were held at the Kori Kamandungan (main palace entrance). At its height in August 2005, Tedjowulan’s supporters attempted to force their way inside, which resulted in the damage to the Regol Kamandangan (main entrance to Hangabehi’s residence).

The conflict has continued ever since then. Hangabehi’s camp was not allowed by Tedjowulan to enter the palace, thus the perception that Hangabehi held power within the palace, while Tedjowulan held reign outside.

Various parties have made efforts to reconcile both camps, especially from the Surakarta municipality. Jokowi has tried to appease both rulers for the last eight months. “I don’t know how many times I’ve tried to reconcile them,” said Jokowi.

According to him, reconciliation between both rulers would have a very positive impact on heritage and cultural preservation, especially in terms of the keraton upkeep budget proposal. “Our interest is to preserve culture. Reconciliation of the budget could easily be set aside and the funds could be used to maintain the keraton,” said Jokowi.

Surakarta historical observer Heri Priyatmoko perceived that sole leadership would resolve the prolonged conflict. “This is the momentum residents of Surakarta have been waiting for the past eight years,” said Heri on Monday.

The conflict between both camps has diminished the role of the keraton as the preserver of Javanese culture. Their energy has seemingly been drained by the care allocated toward the conflict.

Source:  The Jakarta Post, Kusumasari Ayuningtyas, Tue, 05/22/2012


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