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About the King/Sultan/Indigenous Leader

Tengku Luckman
Tengku Luckman


A historian as well as Malay cultural observer is two identities attached to the King or Sultan of Serdang Sultanate, Tengku Luckman Sinar, S.H. entitled Luckman Sinar Basarshah II. Those two identities are clearly seen in his various writings, thoughts, and activities. He is really appropriate of these achievements and various awards filling his life story.

On July 27, 1933, Sultan was born in Palace located at Galuh Perbaungan City, Bedagai Serdang Regency, North Sumatra province. His childhood and formal education were in Medan. He graduated from Hestel Lagere School in 1950, R.K. Middlebare Uitgebreid Lager Onderwijs (MULO) in 1953, Senior High School in 1955, Faculty of Law, University of North Sumatra in Medan in 1962, and Military Education LPKW in 1963.

After studying in Medan, Tengku Luckman Sinar’s knowledge is more complete when he moved to Jakarta to take study at Jayabaya University, Faculty of Law and Public Science (Bachelor of Law in 1969). Beside those educations, in 1964 he run Plantation Management course in Bandung. In 1976, he conducted research into Dutch over the cooperation between the Government of Republic of Indonesia and Netherlands (1976-1980).

The husband of Tengku Hj. Daratul Qamar who has title of Tengku Serdang Suri is indeed worthy ordained as "Consistent Historian Assess Malay Cultural History". This title received when he was awarded on MelayuOnline Award in 2009 over the category of Historians Assess Malay Cultural History, held on the House Concert Hall, Yogyakarta Cultural Park on January 20, 2009.

The ordination does not seem excessive considering his gait is very unusual in maintaining, fostering, and even developing Malay culture. No fewer than 35 scientific writings of books or magazines, 108 experiences in arts and cultures of Malay, 215 seminars have been followed by him both as participant or speaker, and 294 articles and scientific works have been dedicated so far.

As the son of Tuanku Sulaiman Syariful Alamsyah (Sultan of Serdang), since June 12, 2002, he was appointed as Chief of indigenous Serdang Sultanate entitled Tuanku Luckman Sinar Basarshah II. Although has an important role as the guardian of customary Serdang, he still showed the populist side of nature inherited from his father's teachings. Tengku Luckman Sinar assignment replacing his father as Sultan did not mean replacing his personal character which remains close to people, the true Malay cultural observer, and his habit to keep writing is unchanged, both on culture and history of Malay.

His competence is keeping indigenous Malay to be always maintained although his other jobs are required his attention. The jobs include President Commissioner of PT Banteuka (Exporters and Pertamina Expedition on North Sumatra); Outstanding Lecturer of Malay ethnomusicology, History of North Sumatra and History of Kingdoms of East Sumatra at the Faculty of Arts, North Sumatra University in Medan, and also columnist of Newspaper “Harian Waspada” since 1987.

The former Chairman of Indonesian Malay Ceremony & Cultural Assembly (MABMI) in 2001-2004 is well aware that Malay culture must be established, maintained and developed.  His introduction of Malay culture is not only done through various seminars, but further than that, he did on writing its culture and history. Begin some history in eastern Sumatra, history of Medan, ethnomusicology and Malay dance, traditional and bridal wedding of Malay, even the book of Remembering civics customary leaders and Indigenous Communities in North Sumatra against Dutch Colonialism.

The process of history and culture excavation of Malay will never be finished. Its reason is not merely his capacity as Chief of indigenous Serdang Sultanate solely, but further than that, it is his love of Malay cultural identity. Malay culture should not weaken and it was part of his duty to preserve and provide information to young generation about their Malay identity. So it is not surprisingly, when someone asks about the history of North Sumatra (Medan in particular) as well as Malay culture, the first reference must be a living witness, he is Tuanku Luckman Sinar Basarshah II.

Simultaneously Cultural Historian

Cultural observer and Historian are appropriate "title" given to Tuanku Luckman Sinar Basarshah II. His existence to keep digging, keeping and developing culture and history of Malay is realized through various activities through writing, giving lecture, and actively in various seminars. Concrete manifestation of this existence is what contained on several works, i.e. book of The Awakening and Decay of Malay Kingdom in East Sumatra (2002), and Traditional Malay Culture: Identity and Personality (2005).

"History needs to be clarified", (Tuanku Luckman Sinar Basarshah II).

He is one of the Sultans in Indonesian archipelago who never tired to care about history. Sultan is always trying hard to write about history of his own country, Malay in particular. He digs and introduces a wide range of historical figures who barely unknown. Clarifying history of Sultan Alam Bagagarsyah is one for example.

Tuanku Luckman Sinar Basarshah II’s ideas of Malay History have been mostly realized on his works and speeches. Most of his works literary highlights the history of Sumatra, from East Sumatra (formerly), North Sumatra (Medan in particular), to Aceh. The Awakening and Decay of Malay Kingdom in East Sumatra (2002) is a book parses the history of a region called the Government of Netherlands East Indies as the "Residency of East Sumatra”.  The residency consists the territory of Langkat Kingdom (adjacent to Residency of Aceh), Deli Kingdom, Serdang Sultanate (now it’s territory in Deli-Serdang Regency and Bedagai District), Asahan Kingdom, Kedatukan in Batubara, Panai Kingdom, Bilah Kingdom, Royal Pinang City and Royal Leidong-Kualuh in Asahan District and Labuhan Batu Regency, Simalungun Kingdom and some Kingdoms in Karo.

The book reviews history since ancient time until post-independence August 17, 1945. In addition, it also examines issues related to Kingdoms in East Sumatra. Starting from "Political Contract," "Korte Verklaring" (Short Notice), "Zelfbestuurregeling 1919" (Rules of Royal Government), "Extraterialiteitcommissie 1926" which aims to eliminate the autonomous region when the King's power is getting weak (even disappear), so its democracy will flourish, the case of State (contrived by van Mook), until "Social Revolution" in which Kings and Kingdoms derived repossessed on March 3, 1946.

Besides writing about history of East Sumatra, he wrote specific history of Medan in past time “Sejarah Medan Tempoe Doeloe”, 2007. The book which was originally written in English under the title of “The History of Medan in the Olden Time (2008)” has become one of references of original history of Medan as presented in the preface of the book.

"This book starts from the overview of the ancient era, then the Islamic Kingdom of Haru in the Deli, the migration of the Karo Land etnic from The High to the region of Deli, The Sultanate of Deli and its relationship to the Dutch Indies government. .. also covers the growth of Medan as the administrative center of town, the Municipality authority, its problems of Archeological and architecture buildings".

Still in the study of history, Tuanku Luckman Sinar Basarshah II also wrote a history of civics fighters in the land of Malay, a viewpoint that is rarely to be raised in historical map. His works contained on the book titled Remembering civics customary leaders and Indigenous Communities in North Sumatra against Dutch Colonialism (2007). In this book, he wrote how the customary leaders and indigenous communities of North Sumatra fight against Dutch colonialists. Started from the resistance of Central Tapanuli, the heroism King Orahili in Nias, until Tengku Usman Husin “Hero of Malay: Anti-Colonialism/Conceptualizer of “The Confederation of Malay States".

However, Tuanku Luckman Sinar Basarshah II also actively participated in various seminars, both as participants and speakers. In "National Seminar of Sultan Alam Bagagarsyah" held by the Provincial Government of West Sumatra and the Government of Tanah Datar in Hotel Bumiminang, on March 17, 2008, Tuanku Luckman specifically supported the conferment of national heroes to Sultan Alam Bagagarsyah.

Tuanku Luckman argued that, "Though outwardly he is the apparatus of government, but inwardly he is still regarded as King Alam Minangkabau. So he always thought about the safety of people, and tried to expel Dutch occupiers". This has been proven by the occurrence of massive resistance in Minangkabau region on January 11, 1833, initiated with letter from Sultan Alam Bagagarsyah sent to some leaders in Minangkabau. But the resistance was eventually delivered him to jail until he was exiled to Batavia to death on February 12, 1849. At that time, there are three resistance forces, namely Padri forces under the leadership of Tuanku Imam Bonjol, Raja Alam Minangkabau forces under the leadership of Sultan Alam Bagagarsyah, as well as Diponegoro forces under the leadership of Sentot Ali Basya.

Tuanku Luckman’s attention to appoint Sultan Alam Bagagarsyah became one of national heroes, is his movement to make history to be classified. Tuanku Luckman’s speech on the rectification of history about Sultan Alam Bagagarsyah was based on some evidence obtained from Dutch’s documents.

Besides "From National Seminar of Sultan Alam Bagagarsyah, Deserve to Be National Hero", Tuanku Luckman’s speech was also in several seminars with other historical themes. The seminars include: Lectures in Dialogue Class ‘45 - Young Karo Generations and Heroes nomination in Kabanjahe, with the title of "The Sunggal War", on October 30, 1988; "History Course of Medan in Olden Time", lecture for all Senior High School’s history teachers of Sumatra in Medan on March 4, 1991, and "Old Chanel between Deli River Estuary and Sei Belawan", in a seminar held by “Perhimpunan Pecinta Bandar Lama Pusaka Bangsa (PPBLPB)” on February 27, 2006 at the Tiara Convention Hall, Medan.

Those seminars are just a few examples of hundred seminars that have been followed by him, both as participant and speaker. Speaking at various seminars and interviews on media is the way to keep digging and proclaim Malay history of Indonesian Archipelago. Outside seminars and interviews, he also a Lecturer of Malay ethnomusicology, History of North Sumatra, and History of Kingdoms in eastern Sumatra at Faculty of Arts, North Sumatra University in Medan. Through face to face with the young successor of Malay culture, he spread a variety of science and knowledge of Malay. The introduction directly to the successor of the tradition of Malay, is potential way to precede the continuity of history, culture, and tradition of Malay in Indonesian Archipelago.

A Humble Cultural Observer

He is well known as Malay cultural observer. A "title" is really carried by upholding Emperor's nature as well as a cultural guardian. Nature is what gave him this consequence of the "title" as humanists. At least, there are two things as concrete manifestations of such consequences. First, Tuanku Luckman Sinar Basarshah II sits as the King of the Sultanate of Indigenous Serdang, Chairman of Indonesian Malay Ceremony & Cultural Assembly (MABMI) in 2001-2004, as well as Executive Board Indigenous Inter-Agency Communications Daily Forum (FORKALA) of North Sumatra Province according Governor Decree No. 189.1/486.K April 12, 2006. The second concrete manifestation is through various writings, either in books, articles, or hundred scientific works.

Art which is a branch of culture also participated in one of Tuanku Luckman Sinar Basarshah II’s attentions. Blood of arts inside Tuanku Luckman Sinar Basarshah II apparently obtained from his father, Tuanku Sulaiman Syariful Alamsyah. As quoted from media online “Waspada”, told that Tuanku Sulaiman Syariful Alamsyah is the protector of art in Serdang. One of its indications is the creation of theatrical nobility "Indera Ratu" who perform their performances in east coast of Sumatra and West Kalimantan by their own expense. At the beginning of 20th century, "Indera Ratu" performed over various areas in Java, Malaya, and Singapore, brought Malay’s stories, one of which titled "Cempaka Biru". This story performed by Tuanku Sulaiman’ son, Tengku Rajih Anwar who held the title as Prince of Serdang Sultanate and Tengku Luckman Sinar who was still 9 years old.

When Tuanku Luckman Sinar Basarshah II appointed as the Chief of Indeginous Serdang Sultanate, concerns and thoughts about Malay arts were still on his attentions. Moreover, part of his attentions in the field of Malay arts was developed into a broader level. Customary institutions eventually become a medium to keep the existence of Malay culture to always be maintained. This is where Tuanku Luckman Sinar Basarshah II plays a role as Malay cultural preserver from the influences of foreign cultures.

Through these capacities, he showed a very serious concern about the influences of foreign cultures which might threaten Malay culture existence. One of them is shown when he was attending the "Coffee Morning" in order to absorb aspiration to crawl the members of Indonesian Regional Broadcasting Commission (KPID) North Sumatra in 2008-2011. In event held in the Hall Information and Communication Agency in Medan, North Sumatra, on Thursday, November 8, 2008, expressly stated that the broadcasting national electronic media, especially private television in Jakarta, which broadcast materials are indicated in conflict with traditional values and regional cultures into North Sumatra, even some of them feared to have mislead the public. North Sumatra crawl KPID members, who are concerned with the indigenous Malay, are expected to filter in maintain the existence of Malay culture from the invasion of foreign cultures.

On the other side, Tuanku Luckman Sinar Basarshah II is also well aware maintaining custom and culture is not like cheap stuff. It takes maximum effort to make it worth, at least worth selling at the level of tourism to be known and get backing material which is the base of reason for cessation attempts of maintenance culture. For Tuanku Luckman Sinar Basarshah II, even through thousand ways, he would remain firm on his principle trying to maintain Malay culture existence. It is at least reflected when he attended second anniversary of MelayuOnline organized by the Center of Research and Development of Malay Culture (BKPBM) in Yogyakarta. The meeting was attended by four Kings, Sultan of Landak, Drs. Gusti Suryansyah, M.Sc.; King of Sanggau, Drs. Gusti Arman, M.Sc.; Sultan of Palembang Darussalam, Sultan Iskandar Mahmud Badaruddin; and Sultan of Serdang, Tuanku Luckman Sinar Basarshah II. In meeting held on Tuesday, January 20, 2009, there were issues related on the role of Kings as one of Malay cultural stakeholders in revitalization of culture.

Responding to the issues about King's role in cultural revitalization, Gusti Suryansyah said that the greatest difficulty for the King to participate in cultural revitalization is lack of economic power. "Such as happened in Landak Palace, to perform the ceremony of Adat Tumpang Negeri, which is a thanksgiving ceremony of harvest, the Palace has to beg to the government, in order to obtain funds to carry out the ceremony", he said. Responding to this statement, Tuanku Luckman Sinar Basarshah II explained that the King's role in cultural revitalization can only occur as long as there is an adjustment with the times. "One strategy that might be used is through tourism industry. Palace that has cultural heritages can serve as an attraction for tourists”, he added.

The creativity in keeping the ideals to uphold its determination in prosperity of Malay culture is such most important thing. Even on his state who might be able to do anything, Tuanku Luckman Sinar Basarshah II is still on his true character, remain humble, populist, and enthusiasm. At least, these are reflected from his daily life at present.

"He was a very humble man though his mind is full of knowledge. In a beautiful house in Medan, he easily found tapping away in a room without air conditioning. In fact, he is able to buy air conditioning that has been an everyday item in the big city".

He successfully created hundred of writings that have been put up on newspapers, magazines, journals, and recorded through the values of simplicity. His thoughts were not only shown from his speech in various seminars, but also manifested through the writings of more lasting than speech. “Scripta manent Volant verbs” (what is written will remain last, what is spoken will fly with the wind). This phrase is quite appropriate to describe his activities. Various books of custom, culture, and history, have become the standard handbook for anyone who intends to learn about Malay. Begin with the history of Medan City, the history of Kingdoms in eastern Sumatra, until civics traditional leaders and customary communities in North Sumatra against Dutch colonialism, opened the eyes of every man, what an incredible Malay culture. 

The Sultan Who Never Stop to Produce Scientific Works

Tuanku Luckman Sinar Basarshah II’s dedication as "Consistent Historian Assess Malay Cultural History" is not obtained through a short process. The title was obtained through various scientific works related to the history and culture of Malay. He wrote no fewer than 35 scientific writings in the form of books or magazines. Those books or magazines are “Sari Sejarah Serdang” or the essence of Serdang history (Volume I and II in Medan, 1971 and reprinted by the Department of P and K in Jakarta, 1986); “Bangun dan Runtuhnya Kerajaan Melayu di Sumatera Timur” or Rise and fall of Malay Kingdom in East Sumatra, Medan: North Sumatra University Press (2002); and “Adat Budaya Melayu: Jati Diri dan Kepribadian” or Traditional Malay Culture: Identity and Personality, North Sumatra: FORKALA (2005).

In addition of those books which we mentioned above, the other result is his experience on struggling to spread Malay culture and history through some campaign. At least, 108 experiences in the field of art and culture, he has done so far. Of that number, some of which is the Founder of Sinar Budaya Group in 1989, Head of Cultural ICM I - ORWIL North Sumatra since 1991: Appointed as Chairman of Indonesian Malay Ceremony & Cultural (MABMI) on October 12, 2004; Founder of Serdang Sultanate Institute in 2006, and contributing on the conflict issue " Between Estates and Local Communities from Latent to Manifest" organized by Regional Research Council of North Sumatra in Medan, on July 18, 2006.

Another contribution of introducing, maintaining, and developing Malay Culture is actively speaking at various seminars in regional level, national, even international. No fewer than 215 seminars have followed as speakers are: " Riau, the Basis Malay Empire in 16th Century", Seminar on the History of Riau in Pekanbaru, 1975: "The Progress History of Music and Dance of Malay and its Preservation", in Seminar on Malay Cultural Feast of North Sumatra in Stabat, Langkat Regency in 1987, and "The Case of Pontianak Sultanate of Maintaining Malay Customary Law (Adat Melayu Bersendi Syarak, Syarak Bersendi Kitabullah)", in Seminar held on Cultural Malay of West Kalimantan in Ketapang on February 6, 2006.

In addition to actively participate those seminars, he also wrote no less than 294 articles and scientific works. Some of them are: "Mencari Hari Jadi Kota Medan", Daily Star of Indonesia, Medan April 1971; "Adat Pemimpin dalam Etnosentris Melayu", Daily Alert, issue of April 3, 2005, and "Memperingati 140 Tahun Kewiraan Datuk Laksemana Putera Raja Wakil Sultan Serdang di Batubara", Daily Analysis, issue of June 10, 2006.

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Tengku Surya October 27, 2011 16:16

Assalamualaikum ... Ampun beribu ampun sembah patik mohon diampun .... mohon izin tag atas artikel ini ya ....


Admin KerajaanNusantara.com October 27, 2011 16:16

Wa'alaikumsalam. Silakan saja.

joko Nopember 10, 2011 23:30

Catatan: Setelah vakum sejak tahun 1946, maka pada tahun 1996 atas desakan masyarakat adat Serdang serta datuk-datuk, maka diangkatlah salah seorang putera dari Tuanku Sulaiman Sjariful Alamsjah yaitu Tuanku Abunawar Sinar Sjariful Alam yang kala itu menjabat sebagai ketua DPRD Kab. Deli Serdang. Setelah Tuanku Abunawar Sjariful Alam mangkat pada bulan Januari tahun 2002 posisinya digantikan oleh adiknya yakni Tuanku Luckman Sinar Basharshah.

rudy Nopember 12, 2011 00:52

Tuanku Luckman tidak serta merta ditabalkan setelah ayahnya meninggal, akan tetapi sejak 1946 Kesultanan Serdang vakum. Maka pada tahun 1996 hasil musyawarah Orang-Orang Besar maka dipilihlah dari salah seorang putra Sultan Sulaiman dgn kriteria: dikenal dan mengenal daerah serta mendapat dukungan pemerintah. Maka dari beberapa putra sultan yg masih hidup dipilihlah Tengku Abunawar Sinar Al-Haj yang saat itu menjabat sebagai Ketua DPRD Deli Serdang menjadi Kepala Adat. Setelah mangkat pada tahun 2002 posisinya digantikan oleh adiknya Tengku Luckman.

Tengku Mira Sinar March 16, 2012 15:43

Yth. Bapak Joko dan Bapak Rudy Sila baca / klik bagian Sejarah Kesultanan

RUDHY. S Nopember 13, 2012 14:07

Ass. wr. wb. Mohon maaf beribu maaf Sultan Serdang, walaupun saya bukan asli etnis melayu, namun saya lahir dan besar di tanah, Deli. Saya senang membaca tentang sejarah, apalagi sejarah tentang kota tempat saya lahir dan besar, Deli dan Medan, yg tidak dapat dipisah dengan Kesultanan Serdang. Selain itu, leluhur kami juga ada pertalian saudara atau kekerabatan dengan salah satu Panglima Kerajaan Deli/atau Serdang yang bernama Datuk Tuanku FAO yang lebih dikenal dengan tuan Fao ( atau MATAPAO dengan kuda saktinya bernama Martubung). Saat ini saya sedang mencari sejarah tentang beliau, namun belum saya dapati, kalopun ada, hanya tentang keramat kudanya dan Tuanku Datuk Matafao mempunyai kekerabatan dengan eyang kami, yaitu Mbah Gambreng (seorang putri dari Jawa yang terdampar dan menetap di Perbaungan, tepatnya di Desa Melati/makamnya terkenal dengan sebutan Makam Mbah Gambreng) yang dulu konon sempat jadi penasehat di Kesultanan Serdang, pada jaman Sultan Sulaiman. Saat ini kami sedang mencari makam Tuanku Matapao, namun sampai saat ini belum kami temukan. Mungkin Tuanku Sultan atau kerabat istana ada yg mengetahui hal tersebut, itu sangat mmbantu sekali bagi kami untuk mencari makam para leluhur kami, dan informasi untuk mengetahui sejarah almarhum leluhur kami tersebut. Atas bantuan dan kesempatan yg diberikan kepada kami untuk mempelajari sejarah di Kesultanan Deli dan Serdang ini, kami ucapkan terima kasih, dan kami mendukung " Sejarah Melayu jangan sampai punah dan hilang" agar generasi muda kita tidak kehilangan sejarah Kesultanan Deli dan Serdang yang pernah ada di Sumatera Timur, tepatnya Sumatera Utara saat ini. Ass. wr wb.

bobby heryawan tarigan February 27, 2013 21:45

Assalamualaikum,mohon maaf,saya salah satu pemuda asli Serdang Bedagai.Saya ingin bertanya tentang cerita rakyat keramat kuda yang terletak di Desa Matapao. adapun cerita itu untuk saya jadikan judul skripsi saya,yang bertujuan untuk lebih melestarikan budaya Melayu Serdang Bedagai. Saya saat ini sedang menimba ilmu di Universitas Sumatera Utara Jurusan Sastra Melayu. Mohon petunjuk nya,karena sangat sulit mendapatkan cerita tentang Raja Pao dan kudanya tersebut. Terimakasih.