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Macha Balqis or Haji Mohd Hassan bin Munas (1853 - June 25, 1915) was a famous Malay warrior in Kelantan, Malaysia 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 Anglo-Siamese 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.
Factors of the rebellion
There were several causes:
- Engku Besar lost of power - Engku Besar Tuan Ahmad Ibni Al-Marhum Tengku Sri Maharaja Tua Engku Chik Pandak was a grandson of Tengku Sri Maharaja Long Seri Ibni Tengku Sri Maharaja Perdana Mantri Long Gafar of Limbat, a hereditary chieftain and lord of east Kelantan. Long Gafar was a Reman prince, colleague of Long Yunus and co-founder of unified Kelantan. Engku Besar Tuan Ahmad was the ruler of Jeram who had for long enjoyed the respect and loyalty of the local people but who had lately felt that their feelings for him had declined because the new district officer had undermined his status. He rebelled against the authority of the Sultan of Kelantan and attempted to set up his own state, April 1915. Fled to Reman when the Sultan re-established his authority with British help at the end of May.
- Jihadism- Tok Janggut was influenced by the message of Jihadism promulgated during the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th century, which advocated the fight against Western imperialism
- New tax system - The British adviser, W. Langham-Carter, even denied that the new tax-system was the major cause of the trouble. He attributed the whole plot efforts originiting in Kota Bharu to oust the British the new land tax that involved both aristocrats there, whom he labelled "Tengkus" and the Sultan. According to Langham-Carter, however, the aristocrats' ultimate aim was to overthrow the sultan. 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.
- Resentment against non-Kelantanese in general such as Sikhs and Singapore-born Malay D.O. of Pasir Puteh, Abdul Latif and anti-British sentiment
- Sultan's ambivalent attitube towards the rising, the folk legend of Tok Janggut's disguised pursuit of revenge against the Sultan, and alleged conspiracy among the Kelantanese aristocrats to oust the Sultan for treason and betrayal of his own people
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 managed to stab the sergeant.
Following the event, Tok Janggut assembled all his men and marched towards to Pasir Puteh. 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.
- To' Janggut History: A Bibliographic Essay: Cheah Bon Kheng pages 39
- Tuan Ahmad bin Engku Chik Pandak, Engku Besar of Jeram. DH of Jeram until 1905. Rebelled against the authority of the Sultan of Kelantan and attempted to set up his own state, April 1915. Fled to Reman when the Sultan re-established his authority with British help at the end of May. http://www.royalark.net/Malaysia/kelant3.htm
- To' Janggut History: A Bibliographic Essay: Cheah Bon Kheng pages 28-29
- To' BO History: A Bibliographic Essay: Cheah Bon Kheng pages 28
- To' Janggut History: A Bibliographic Essay: Cheah Bon Kheng pages 28