Asal-Usul, Tradisi, dan Perubahan Suku Bajau

Anak Bajo (Instagram/geo.rock888).

Pernahkan Kawan-kawan mendengar Suku Bajo atau Bajau? Bagi Kawan-kawan yang suka pelesiran, pasti mengenal dengan suku yang biasa hidup dan tinggal di laut ini. Suku Bajo dulunya suka berpindah-pindah tempat, karena hal itulah mereka disebut sebagai Gipsi-nya laut.

Suku yang terkenal dengan para penyelamnya yang handal ini, tersebar di berbagai wilayah di Asia tenggara. Ada beberapa tempat tinggal yang sudah menjadi perkampungan masyarakat Bajo di Nusantara, seperti di Pulau Nain (Taman Nasional Bunaken), Pulau Rajuni (TN Takanonerate), hingga tersebar ke Nusa Tenggara Barat (NTB) dan Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT).

Suku ini banyak menarik perhatian para ilmuwan untuk mengungkap asal-usul, tradisi, dan perubahannya. Dahulu, masyarakat Bajo terkenal dengan tradisi melautnya yang disebut mamia Kadilao/kadilauk.

“Tradisi mamia Kadilao/kadilauk berupa pengelompokan orang ketika ikut melaut jangka waktu tertentu dan perahu yang digunakan. Ada tiga kelompok tradisi ini: palilibu, bapongka, dan sasakai,” tulis peneliti Profesor Ramli Utina dari Universitas Negeri Gorontalo dikutip dari Mongabay Indonesia.

Menurut Ramli, tiga kelompok tersebut memiliki arti masing-masing. Palilibu merupakan kebiasaan melaut menggunakan perahu soppe yang digerakkan dayung. Melaut hanya dalam satu atau dua hari dan kembali ke permukiman menjual hasil tangkapan dan sebagian dinikmati bersama keluarga.

Bapongka (babangi) adalah kegiatan melaut selama beberapa minggu bahkan bulanan menggunakan perahu besar berukuran kurang lebih 4×2 meter disebut leppa atau sopek. Kegiatan ini sering mengikutsertakan keluarga, seperti istri dan anak-anak, bahkan ada yang melahirkan di atas perahu.

Sedangkan, sasakai ialah kebiasaan melaut menggunakan beberapa perahu selama beberapa bulan dengan wilayah jelajah antar pulau. Selama kelompok menjalani mamia kadialo (melaut), ada pantangan bagi keluarga yang ditinggal maupun mereka yang melaut.

Pantangan yang mereka harus hindari antara lain dilarang membuang sesuatu ke perairan laut, seperti air cucian teripang, arang kayu atau abu dapur, puntung dan abu rokok, air cabai, jahe dan air perasan jeruk, dan larangan mencuci alat memasak (wajan) di perairan laut.

Air cucian maupun bahan-bahan ini hendaknya ditampung dan dibuang di daratan. Ada pula pantangan memakan daging penyu. Jika dilanggar bisa mendatangkan malapetaka, bencana badai, gangguan roh jahat bahkan tidak mendapatkan hasil apa-apa di laut. Penyu dipercaya banyak menolong manusia yang mengalami musibah, karena itu satwa ini tidak boleh dibunuh.

Masyarakat Bajo, khususnya generasi tua, masih mempercayai gugusan karang tertentu sebagai tempat bersemayam arwah para leluhur. Orang tua melarang anggota keluarga menangkap ikan dan biota laut di sekitar gugusan karang, kecuali terlebih dahulu melakukan ritual tertentu dengan menyiapkan sajian bagi leluhur.

“Berbagai pantangan itu mengandung nilai pelestarian ekosistem perairan laut dan pesisir,” ujar Profesor Ramli.

Asal-Usul dan Perubahan

Menurut Steven Sumolang dalam bukunya berjudul Tradisi Melaut dan Perubahannya, Suku Bajo mempunyai hubungan dengan Kerajaan Johor dan Kerajaan Bone, menjadi cerita pengikat kesatuan etnik Bajo yang menyebar di kepulauan nusantara.

“Tradisi Palilibu, Bapongka, Babangi, dan Lamma/Lamak yang menangkap ikan sampai jauh dan berlama-lama akhirnya menetap, telah menyebabkan persebaran atau diaspora orang Bajo,” tulisnya.

Tradisi penangkapan ikan orang Bajo termasuk di Nain (Pulau di Bunaken, Sulawesi Utara) telah mengalami perubahan. Kalau dahulu mereka menangkap ikan sampai sejauh mungkin dan menetap di daerah yang dituju (Palilibu, Bapongka, Babangi, Lamma/Lamak), kini nelayan Bajo Nain telah menetap di kampungnya.

“Menangkap ikan beberapa hari saja di daerah operasi penangkapan, setelah itu pulang ke kampung Nain,” tulis Steven.

Bukan hanya di Indonesia, Suku Bajo telah tersebar di lautan Malaysia, Filipina, dan Thailand. Di Indonesia, mereka tersebar di Kalimantan Timur, Kalimantan Selatan, kalimantan barat, Sulawesi Selatan, Sulawesi Tenggara, Nusa Tenggara Barat, Nusa Tenggara Timur, Jawa timur, Riau/Kepri dan wilayah Indonesia lainnya.

Sejarah mengatakan, suku ini berasal dari Kepulauan Sulu di Filipina Selatan yang hidup di lautan lepas, hingga membawa mereka masuk ke Indonesia.

Dalam seminar tentang keragaman genetik bertema “Austronesia Diaspora” yang diadakan di Lembaga Eijkman Jakarta, Rabu (11/3/15) lalu, Tony Rudyansjah, antropolog dari Universitas Indonesia, mengungkapkan asal-usul suku Bajo masih jadi perdebatan.

“Bisa saja orang Bajo memang berasal dari Barito dan bermigrasi untuk berdagang ke wilayah utara Indonesia (Kepulauan Sulu, Filipina) hingga tersebar ke seluruh Nusantara, ujar Tony dilansir dari National geographic Indonesia.

Sebab, masa keemasan perniagaan di Nusantara itu sebenarnya abad ke-8, bukan abad ke-15 seperti yang sering diduga, karena masa keemasan perdagangan itu. Maka masuk akal bila orang Bajo pindah ke utara. Perdagangan yang maju memang ada di utara.

Berpindahnya Suku Bajo ke berbagai tempat menyebar ke Nusantara membuat bingung ahli Linguistik Phillipe Grange dari Prancis.

Di acara yang sama, ilmuwan yang fasih berbahasa Indonesia ini, mengungkapkan semua itu tetap masih hipotesis.

“Saya juga agak bingung, bagaimana bisa satu suku awalnya tinggal di satu daerah bisa tiba-tiba pindah semua membawa anak istri hanya untuk berdagang?” ujar Grange.*

Editor : Prabu Siliwangi Sumber : Mongabay Indonesia dan Natgeo Indonesia.

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