The Installation of Penghulu in Guguak Tabek Sarojo, IV Koto Agam

The Installation of Penghulu in Guguak Tabek Sarojo, IV Koto Agam

Recently in small village (or nagari in the language of Minangkabaunese) was conducted a ceremony of Batagak Penghulu (the installation of penghulu). In this ceremony was installed 47 datuak or the chief of clan in this village. Some clans have more than one datuak. I am one of the penghulu that was installed in the clan of Guci at Guguak Tinggi.

In the pass time, this kind of ceremony involved long and expensive ceremonies, including mass feasts for the lineage members and villagers, lavish popular entertainments and gifts. Every datuak has to prepare a buffalo for the food in the ceremony. That is why, this ceremony is relatively rare to be conducted.

In the ceremony on February 27, there was only one buffalo for all datuak. However, this ceremony was the biggest ever in Guguak Tabek Sarojo and maybe in West Sumatra. Therefore, Guguak Tabek Sarojo was not only famous for its goldsmiths, merchants, tailors/embroidery, but now this village is also famous for its record in conducting the biggest traditional ceremony “the installation of penghulu.”

The installation of penghulu (datuak) last month  included one minister (the Minister of Communication and Information Ir. H. Tifatul S. Dt. Tumangguang), the Chairman of the DPD RI (legislator) H. Irman Gusman, SE, MBA Dt. Rajo Nan Labiah  and a former member of Parliament Drs. Guspardi Gaus, MBA., M.Si. Dt Batuah. who are now candidate for Agam Regent 2010/2015. Besides, there are also lecturers from Andalas University (Dr. Busyra Azheri, SH.MH., Dt. Bungsu) and State University of Padang (Havid Ardi, S.Pd. Dt Rangkayo Mulia), teachers (Fakhriyanto, S.Pd Dt. Bajangguik Ameh who teaches at Lebong Regency, Bengkulu), entrepreneurs such H. Yelvis, S.E. Dt. Tan Bagindo and so on as the new penghulu in their clan.

The 47 datuak those were installed, came from the tribe Sikumbang, Guci, Pisang, Caniago, Koto, Jambak, Malayu, Tanjuang, Pili, Salayan, and Payobada. Actually, there are 56 pangulu in the Nagari of Guguak Tabek Sarojo, with 47 of new there are already 54 pangulu, because there are currently seven active pangulu. The two others are not installed. The datuak are spread out in Jorong Guguak Tinggi and Guguak Randah.

In all matters, panghulu plays an important role, as well as in solving problems. Especially problems that arise in his clan, ranging from problems of land, family, inheritance, andl the matters related to the law. Therefore, the role of penghulu is very large. Proverb, “anak dipangku kamanakan dibimbiang” with the literal meaning “while lapping children, and nephews are guided.”

Livelihoods Guguak Tabek Sarojo citizens are only about 15 percent of them are farmers. The rest are merchants, civil servants, private sector, and various other professions. This condition causes by lack of land or rice field in nagari (about 290 ha). These conditions make this village residents prefer to live in a foreign country (merantau) looking for than at home. That is precisely why the approximately 12,000 residents in the GTS are now overseas. They are not only in various cities in Indonesia but also in foreign countries, like Australia, Malaysia, Germany, Poland and others.
Amazingly, this village has also great history in the revolution era. According Sjamsir Sjarif an assistant of a research conducted by Nancy Tanner in 1963-1966 this nagari become the safest hiding place for revolutionary leaders, such as Syafruddin Perwiranegara, Burhanuddin Harahap, M. Natsir, and Ir. Soekarno.

The distance Bukittinggi GTS with no more than 200 meters, but it is separated by a fairly steep canyon, which is a series of Samulo canyon and Sianok canyon. “The revolutionary leaders lived and hid in Guguak Tabek Sarojo in the time of Japanese Occupation Period” said Sjamsir Sjarif in RantauNet a mailinglist group of Minang people.



  1. We wish all off pangulu able to give the best one for improvitation our village guguak tinggi tabek sarojo and able to aplicate our great phylosofy adat base on syara’, syara’ base on kitabullah..
    Special thanks for my neighbor Dr. Busyra Azheri for your adversiting our big even “the instalation of pangulu ( batagak pangulu)” and discribed our village. I hope it’s will be good motivation for us to improve our capability to built our nagari be the best.. right now and future.. God willing (insya allah..)^_^

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