Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Minangkabau People


          Minangkabau people (Minangkabau: Urang Minang; Indonesian: Suku Minang; Jawi: مينڠكاباو), also known as Minang, is an ethnic group indigenous to the Minangkabau Highlands of West Sumatra, Indonesia. Their culture is both matrilineal and patriarchal, with property and land passing down from mother to daughter, while religious and political affairs are the responsibility of men, although some women also play important roles in these areas. This custom is called Lareh Bodi Caniago and is known as Adat perpatih in Malaysia. Today 4,5 million Minangs live in the homeland of West Sumatra, while about 4,5 million more are scattered throughout many Indonesian and Malay peninsular cities and towns.


          The Minangkabau are famous for their dedication to education, as well as the widespread diaspora of their men throughout southeast Asia, the result being that Minangs have been disproportionately successful in gaining positions of economic and political power throughout the region. 


          The co-founder of the Republic of Indonesia, Mohammad Hatta, was a Minang, as were the first President of Singapore, Yusof bin Ishak, and the first Supreme Head of State or Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia, Tuanku Abdul Rahman.

The Minangkabau are strongly Islamic, but also follow their ethnic traditions, or adat. The Minangkabau adat was derived from animist and Hindu-Buddhist beliefs before the arrival of Islam, and remnants of animist beliefs still exist even among some practising Muslims. The present relationship between Islam and adat is described in the saying "tradition [adat] founded upon Islamic law, Islamic law founded upon the Qur'an" (adat basandi syara', syara' basandi Kitabullah).

As one of the world's most populous (as well as politically and economically influential) matrilineal ethnicity, Minangkabau gender dynamics have been extensively studied by anthropologists. The adat (Minangkabau: Adaik) traditions have allowed Minangkabau women to hold a relatively advantageous position in their society compared to most patriarchal societies, as most property and other economic assets pass though female lines. With the arrival of the Dutch and other Muslim groups, the traditions have been gradually influenced by both western and conservative Islamic thought.

          Based on the Raffles' vision, Minangkabau is believed to have been the cradle of the Malay race. Their West Sumatran homelands was the seat of the Pagaruyung kingdom and the location of the Padri War (1821 to 1837).


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