Tok Janggut

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Tok Janggut (1853 - 25 June 1915) was a famous Malay warrior in Kelantan which was then a British protectorate. The nickname of Haji Mohd Hassan bin Munas, he was named "Tok Janggut" (Malay: "janggut" meaning "beard") because of his long beard, almost reaching his chest.


2.  Brief biography: Tok Janggut received his early education in Mecca and was a master of silat, a Malay martial art. After the Bangkok Treaty of 1909, Britain took over the administration of Kelantan from Siam on 29 April 1915. The privilege of levying taxes was transferred from the traditional chiefs to the British. This served as the main cause of the rebellion. 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.

On 29 April 1915, the day the administration of Kelantan finally fell into the hands of the British, Encik Latiff, a non-Kelantanese, was appointed by the British to take over the administration from the local leader, Engku Besar Jeram. Engku Besar Jeram met with Tok Janggut, Haji Said, Che Sahak Merbol, and Penghulu Adam and they signed a pact, prohibiting anyone from cooperating with the British. Not surprisingly, their cause found support among most Kelantan residents. On the very same day itself (29 April), Encik Latiff sent Sergeant Sulaiman, better known as Sergeant Che Wan, to arrest Tok Janggut for failing to pay government tax. Tok Janggut did not resist arrest but refused to walk in front of the sergeant. A fight then ensued, in which the sergeant was stabbed by Tok Janggut.

Following this event, Tok Janggut assembled all his men and marched towards Pasir Puteh. They also burned down the buildings and houses of several European planters. Out of fear, Encik Latiff fled Pasir Puteh immediately. Tok Janggut fought with the British and after defeating them, he remained in Pasir Puteh for 3 days, declaring Pasir Puteh's independence from British rule. Engku Besar Jeram was made King of Pasir Puteh, while Tok Janggut became his Bendahara (Prime Minister). Britain immediately labeled Tok Janggut and his fellow comrades as 'traitors', promising a reward of $500 for the capture of Tok Janggut or his comrades, dead or alive.

200 British soldiers were sent in from Singapore.[1] As a result of Tok Janggut's refusal to surrender, the British burned down his house and those of his followers. Tok Janggut responded immediately by laying a siege on Pasir Puteh but was killed in the 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, after which his body was buried in Pasir Pekan. The death of Tok Janggut ended the rebellion against British rule in Kelantan.

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