Join Our Newsletter


Biography of Last Rajah to be launched inn August 24

17 August 2014

The biography co-authered by AAA Dewi Grindrawardani,Adrian Vickers and Rodney Holt will launched at Taman Ujunng on August 24,2014 at 11am.


In this book we look at the life and times of one of the last absolute rajas of Bali, I Gusti Bagus Jelantik, also known as A.A.A. Anglurah Ketut Karangasem, or Gusti Agung Jelantik. He was king at a time when being a royal meant absolute power over his subjects, who prostrated themselves at his feet. Being royal at thatking at a time when being a royal meant absolute power over his subjects, who prostrated themselves at his feet. Being royal at that time had real significance in the everyday lives of the subjects, it was not simply a bit of creative copy on a tourist brochure. 

I Gusti Bagus Jelantik’s life spanned from his birth in the province of Karangasem under the Rajah of the autonomous country of Lombok, to his adoption as heir by his uncle in the reborn state of Karangasem, to his coronation under the Dutch Colonial state. From a sort of semi-independent kingdom under the Dutch, his home was thrown into a more brutal colonial rule under Japanese occupation. Karangasem became independent again in the immediate post war era, then again under Dutch indirect rule via the new state of East Indonesia, and through to a time when Bali became a state within the federal United States of Indonesia. Finally Karangasem became a remote corner in the present day Republic of Indonesia. Remarkably, all of these changes took place within one generation.

The last Rajah was obviously a smooth operator to have been able to survive through all those political upheavals whilst maintaining the wealth and power of the Royal House of Karangasem. He has at times been called vain, a schemer, and a collaborator, but he was also known as a creative architect, a key player in Balinese colonial politics, a defender of Balinese culture and an enlightened self-taught visionary. This view is presented by I Gusti Bagus Jelantik’s grand daughter Anak Agung Ayu Dewi Girindrawardani in her biography, chapters II and IV

In Part I Adrian Vickers, noted scholar, author and professor of South East Asian History at the University of Sydney, Australia, provides a history of the Noble House of Karangasem. It is important here for the reader to understand the relationship between Karangasem and Lombok, for there are many references to events in Lombok in this book.

 And finally, in his capacity as the founder of the Puri Karangasem Historical Society (PKHS) Rodney Holt brings a fresh exploration of the final 25 years of I Gusti Bagus Jelantik in Part III, along with anecdotal descriptions to certain key photos from the archives. 

Rodney Holt