Monday, 4 October 2010

Tok Janggut : The Real Patriot

Tok Janggut or Haji Mohd Hassan bin Munas (1853 - June 25, 1915) was a famous Malay warrior in Kelantan during British protectorate. He was named Tok Janggut because of his long beard, almost reaching his chest ('janggut' being the Malay word for beard).
Tok Janggut received his early education in Mecca and was a master of silat, a Malaysian martial art. After the Bangkok Treaty of 1909, Britain took over the administration of Kelantan from Siam, and immediately made significant changes in the administration system. This served as the trigger for rebellion for Tok Janggut.
Tax was one reason why Tok Janggut revolted, but there two other causes:

• Jihadism - Tok Janggut was influenced by the message of Jihadism promulgated during the Daulah Othmaniyyah Turkey in the early 20th century, which advocated the fight against Western imperialism
• Forced travel - the nearest government tax office was at Kota Bharu, too far away for many residents of Pasir Puteh to travel there. Tok Janggut attempted to go to Kota Bharu to pay the tax but to no avail. Meanwhile, Britain was making it harder for everyone to pay the tax by either putting them in prison or fining them. Besides, the behaviour of the British tax officers there seemed unpleasant for the Kelantan civilians who came there to pay the tax.
On 29 April 1915, the administration of Jeram, Pasir Puteh, Kelantan subsequently fall to Britain's hands. One of the British officers, Encik Latiff took over the administration of Kelantan from the local leader, Engku Jeram. Things seem to go out of control as Encik Latiff, an out-sider and whose native state is not Kelantan, was very stern and firm about collecting tax in Kelantan.
Engku Besar Jeram, called upon Tok Janggut, Haji Said, Che Sahak Merbol and Penghulu Adam, to discuss social issues of Kelantan. They also signed a pact which prohibits any one of them to co-operate with the Britain. Not surprisingly, their independence fight gained support from most Kelantan residents, which worried Encik Latiff. He decided to end the situation before any possible revolt occurs.
On 29 April 1915, Encik Latiff sent Sergeant Sulaiman, better known as Sergeant Che Wan, to arrest Tok Janggut for failing to pay the government tax. Tok Janggut agreed but refused to walk in front of them and a fight occurred, in which Tok Janggut manages to stab the sergeant.
Following the event, Tok Janggut assembled all his men and marched towards to Pasir Pute. Encik Latiff, out of fear, quickly fled Pasir Puteh before the invasion. Here, Tok Janggut fought a battle against the British forces in which ultimately, they are successful. They remained in Pasir Puteh for three days and declared the independence of Pasir Puteh from British rule. Engku Besar Jeram was selected King of Pasir Puteh and Tok Janggut as Prime Minister. Britain immediately decreed Tok Janggut and his fellow comrades as 'traitors.' Britain also promised a reward of $500 for the person who caught Tok Janggut or his comrades, dead or alive.
As a result of Tok Janggut's refusal to surrender, British officers in Kelantan took immediate action by burning down Tok Janggut's house, as well as his followers' houses, too. Tok Janggut immediately replied by laying a siege on Pasir Puteh. This time, luck was on Britains' side, Tok Janggut was killed in the gruesome battle near Kampung Pupuh. His dead body was exhibited throughout Kota Bharu and Pasir Puteh and was hung for several days in front of the Kelantan Royal Palace. Tok Janggut's body was buried in Pasir Pekan afterwards, ending the rebellion against British rule in Kelantan.
Tok Janggut the real Patriot!


  1. ada artikel bahasa melayu tentang tok janggut?

  2. Ada, sengaja saya post yang berbahasa Inggeris kerana rasanya orang2 kita umumnya kenal siapa Tok Janggut, jadi yang ini sebagai pendedahan bangsa asing.