Academics push for inclusion of 'Aceh Hikayat' to UNESCO list

Academics push for inclusion of 'Aceh Hikayat' to UNESCO list

A screenshot of speakers participating in the 'Hikayat Aceh: Road to Memory of the World' webinar hosted by the National Library from Jakarta on Wednesday (October 13, 2021). (ANTARA/HO-Humas Perpusnas)

The committee reopened the registrations in 2021, and we are determined to propose Aceh Hikayat for inclusion in the MoW list because the Hikayat's exceptionality in describing the sultan's glory instead of only the sultan's life
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Academics from several institutions have voiced support for the inclusion of Aceh Hikayat -- an epic literary work about Aceh Sultan Iskandar Muda -- to the UNESCO's Memory of the World (MoW) list.

 

"Besides chronicling the glorious life of Iskandar Muda, the Aceh Hikayat also contains tradition and tolerance values revolving in the annals' main character, Iskandar Muda," a researcher on Malay-Aceh religious and culture with the Religious Affairs Ministry, Fakriati, stated here on Thursday.

 

The Aceh Hikayat prescribes tolerance among officials, religious leaders, and in the society, as well as sheds light on Sultan-people relations and tolerance for non-native residents, the researcher explained.


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Malay-Aceh philologist Hermansyah said the Hikayat describes life in Aceh Sultanate from 1590 until 1636, i.e., before and during the rule of Iskandar Muda.

 

The epic is a comprehensive historical narrative -- with complete primary sources, historical events, and characters -- and is eligible for inclusion on the Memory of the World list, he added.

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"The importance of Aceh Hikayat necessitated its reproduction in modern forms for education and ancient scripts learning purposes," Hermansyah remarked.

 

The philologist also confirmed there are only three surviving copies of the Aceh Hikayat -- written in the Malay language in Jawi script -- that are currently stored in Leiden University Library, the Netherlands, and Indonesia's National Library, with the first and the last part of the manuscript remaining missing.

 

Meanwhile, education and history expert Wardiman Djojonegoro said the National Library planned to propose the inclusion of Aceh Hikayat to the MoW list in 2018, but failed after the MoW committee suspended registrations that year.


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"The committee reopened the registrations in 2021, and we are determined to propose Aceh Hikayat for inclusion in the MoW list because the Hikayat's exceptionality in describing the sultan's glory instead of only the sultan's life," Djojonegoro remarked.

 

Earlier, the government had appointed the National Archives of Indonesia to serve as Indonesia's national committee for the Memory of the World in September 2021 in place of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences.

 

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