Edisi cover film Sang Penari Semangat Dukuh Paruk kembali menggeliat sejak Srintil dinobatkan menjadi ronggeng baru, menggantikan ronggeng terakhir yang mati dua belas tahun yang lalu Bagi pendukuhan yang kecil, miskin, terpencil, dan bersahaja itu, ronggeng adalah perlambang Tanpanya, dukuh itu merasa kehilangan jati diri Dengan segera Srintil menjadi tokoh yang amat terkenal dan digandrungi Cantik dan menggoda Semua ingin pernah bersama ronggeng itu Dari kaula biasa hingga pejabat pejabat desa maupun kabupaten Namun malapetaka politik tahun 1965 membuat dukuh tersebut hancur, baik secara fisik maupun mental Karena kebodohannya, mereka terbawa arus dan divonis sebagai manusia manusia yang telah mengguncangkan negara ini Pedukuhan itu dibakar Ronggeng beserta para penabuh calungnya ditahan Hanya karena kecantikannyalah Srintil tidak diperlakukan semena mena oleh para penguasa di penjara itu Namun pengalaman pahit sebagai tahanan politik membuat Srintil sadar akan harkatnya sebagai manusia Karena itu setelah bebas, ia berniat memperbaiki citra dirinya Ia tak ingin lagi melayani lelaki mana pun Ia ingin menjadi wanita somahan Dan ketika Bajus muncul dalam hidupnya, sepercik harapan timbul, harapan yang makin lama makin membuncah Tapi, ternyata Srintil kembali terempas, kali ini bahkan membuat jiwanya hancur berantakan, tanpa harkat secuil pun Cover by Mendiola Design Photo by Eriek Juragan

10 thoughts on “Ronggeng Dukuh Paruk

  1. Pewe Pewe says:

    To me personally, Indonesia doesn t have many literary books that can make me bit my lips in excitement and finish 150 pages towards the end I finish the remaining 50 pages the next day in 2 hours A very deep Javanese philosophy of life reflected from a life of a traditional sensual dancer Ronggeng that we all can learn from from the eyes of the writer Reading can be slow as the style follows Javanese culture slow, polite, but it doesn t mean it can t incite desire The dancer s life touched upon sexuality of both men and women that is far from our imagination, where we also tend to forget that sexuality plays a very big role in politics and a country s economy Something that I have been always telling everyone about Something that people don t talk about here in Indonesia, especially, but which can turn a table upside down On 1965 tragedy, a tragedy that most Indonesian are hesitant to talk about, Ahmad Tohari provided a different angle than Pramoedya did A rather subtle angle, yet, representing a number I am not sure about this amount, perhaps can be big of people, whom with their innocence and faithfulness towards their culture, were dragged into the darkness of life one would never want to experience nor remember I can elaborate and , but I d like to keep it for something else Please read it Recommended for Indonesian, or those wanting to learn about Indonesia from a different perspective.

  2. Sarita Sarita says:

    Ronggeng Dukuh Paruk The Dancer by Ahmad Tohari recounts the tumultuous days of mid 1960s Indonesia through a love story between Srintil and Rasus in Paruk, a village that struggles to keep up with the changing world.The village of Paruk is rather isolated, could only be reached by traversing the network of dikes bordering the wet rice fields It was because of this isolation that its inhabitants had developed a unique way of life Twenty three homes made up this tiny community, inhabited by people with a common genealogy It was believed that all the villagers were descended from a man named Ki Sacamenggala, a shaman and mystic of ages past who, it was said had sought out this very isolated area as a place to retire from his villainous career To this place, the village of Paruk, Ki Sacamenggala had entrusted his descendants, his flesh and blood After a bongkrek tragedy that killed a lot of people in Paruk, many kids became orphans, including Srintil and Rasus They were taken care of by their grandparents and the two grew up together sharing the same destiny.At the age of eleven, Srintil found her love for ronggeng dance and her grandparents sent her to a trainer who can help her become a professional dancer It doesn t require a profound knowledge to understand that ronggeng dancing were nothing than spontaneous movements tending only toward the erotic It is a crude imitation of gambyong, a dance which was performed to arouse desire in people from aristocratic circles.In order to become a ronggeng, she must complete certain rituals such as bathing and bukak klambu opening of the mosquito net This is a competition open to all men to win the virginity of the candidate wishing to become a ronggeng dancer The man who can pay the amount of money determined by the dancer s trainer will win Winning the bukak klambu contest did not only involve passion, nor was it simply about the celebratory rite of passage of a young girl It was a matter of pride for the winner Reluctantly, she completed all these rituals and became a successful and famous ronggeng dancer Later, Srintil told me that she was awakened by Dower, huffing like a horny bull She didn t say anything about the rape that followed, only commenting that requirements for becoming the ronggeng of Paruk Village were truly harsh Feeling disgusted by her lifestyle, Rasus decided to join the army, left Paruk and embraces Islam I wouldn t ever marry you because you re a ronggeng You belong to Paruk At eighteen years old, Srintil was a woman who had already experienced the pain that came with bukak klambu, bitterness of being rejected by the man she loved, also experienced relations with about two dozen men But her fame, naivety, and sexuality got her involved with the region s leftist propaganda and she was arrested following the 1965 tragedy.This book gives a deep insight of the political turmoil leading up to the coup in 1965 which the government New Order era tried hard to cover It shows the lives of people whom with their innocence and faithfulness towards their culture, were dragged into the darkness politics and power These people could never be satisfied with the idea that two years of Srintil s life could simply be erased from all record, to remain an historical unknown The past is the past, and the role of history as teacher to humanity should never be disregarded Wisdom and knowledge in life is tempered by histories that are constituted by deeds of heroism and human decency as well as acts of betrayals and human depravity.

  3. Gianni Reiza Maulania Gianni Reiza Maulania says:

    Let us try to understand the essence of deathEvery creature must dieThe soul is like a soaring bird That has escaped from its cage Where will the future take us Let us not lose our wayAs with all the humanity in this world Our time is so brief And we shall return To rest in eternity page 292In the foreword of this edition I just learned that Dukuh Paruk was actually inspired by a secluded village near Ahmad Tohari s home called Pakuncen and the characters were drawn from real people as well as the village condition, events and practices He himself witnessed a man being executed there by soldiers for being a communist These were things that inspired him to write openly about the social conditions in rural Java poverty, ignorance and immorality that actually can be improved, thus expressed his dissatisfaction towards Indonesian government He also point out this one thing that I think summed up the whole book that the concept of sin does not easily apply to those who have no understanding of it.I really love this translated edition, in the foreword the translator told a story how she was picked the book up for the first time and instantly fell in love and how she developed a friendship with Tohari Not sure why but I feel her fondness toward this book expressed by the smooth language she used, simple yet didn t diminished Tohari s writing style itself.

  4. Mochammad Yusni Mochammad Yusni says:

    Best Indonesian novel i ve ever read Yes, even comparing to Bumi Manusia, Cantik itu Luka or Lelaki Harimau If you have recommendation about any Indonesian book that is better than this, hit me up Tohari tells a story about a traditional dancer who became a victim of a patriarchal society where men often seeing her only as object and the political turmoil of 1965 Srintil, the dancer, is a very innocent and pure young girl who have to continue the Ronggeng tradition in which she must not only become a dancer, but also a woman who is able to satisfy men who expect her private service After a while, she understands that it is not the way of life that she wants it but it is a bit too late Society already see her as that girl, and that is added with the fact she has to bear the political prisoner label when she does not even know what communism is she is illiterate The love of her life also run from the village to escape his dark past and his affection to Srintil, and later come back only to find out that things already went out of control The whole story is a real heart wrenching tragedy.Tohari is amazing, amazing, amazing I am a big fan after reading this book His description of the scene is very meticulous and details, using nature as the background His knowledge on animals, plants and their behaviours is remarkable, showing his deep research and understanding on his context he lives in a village btw His characters and story are so believeable But most importantly, the wisdom that he puts within this world is very noble and humble at the same time Tohari beautifully portray that simple people the villagers of Dukuh Paruk are the real victims between the battle of two ideologies capitalism vs communism Reading this book is really a journey that I will never forget Trully a masterpiece

  5. ABO ABO says:


  6. Avery Avery says:

    I devoured this novel in a day, then spent the evening pondering over why I hated it so much I have to give it than one star, because the author writes from precious, irreplacable experience If you want to read a novel about what it means to grow up in a traditional pagan village surrounded by magic and spirits, this is the book for you it was written by someone who really experienced that life growing up, and he offers insider insights that an anthropologist would never be able to grasp Further, it appears that the author still does believe in witchcraft, as many Javanese do.This book has an interesting overall message Take the short story The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas, the single snottiest work by the noted snotnose Ursula K Le Guin, but now imagine that that instead of being an insipid thought experiment, the singled out victim is a real person in a real village and imagine, based on a real rural author s intense experience, how real villagers would treat such a person It is a powerful exploration of the human spirit, insofar as the novel is permitted to develop this idea.I think the main reason I disliked the book is because the author is just educated enough to do serious damage to this rich material The first third of the book is given an unlikely, artificial Freudian gloss The next third offers an unpleasant equivocating take on Indonesian politics, where the million civilian victims of the 1965 genocide are portrayed as being equally as duped or guilty as their murderers The final third propounds the author s thesis about humanity generally, a mixture of preachy, condescending humanism and feminism.Naturally, the story arc is written in a way to push each of these theses, but the story is not entirely didactic It is not quite a straightforward morality play In fact, the overall way history is illustrated through narrative development is interesting Rather than assisting my enjoyment of the book, though, this actually increased my irritation quite a bit The author has talent, and if he hadn t been so intent at waving his intellectual dick around for the Jakarta elites, this could have been a classic on the level of Pramoedya.The Freudian bits I can laugh off as almost ridiculous in their irrelevance to the period, but the cheap expression of pity for clueless villagers duped by manipulative Communists, and the shallow moralizing about the inadequacies of tradition and religion for the complex needs of modernity, are especially bothersome to me The author has also made the narrator, who is also the protagonist, omniscient for some reason, creating a bizarre power dynamic between him and the other characters This is a painfully bad choice, and it is a useful thought experiment when the omniscient paragraphs appear to imagine how much better the story would read if the author had not done this Especially in the green hat section my God, this story could have been so much better As the decades pass, this book will seem increasingly damaged by its author, while Pramoedya s genius will live on 2.5 stars.

  7. Ajeng Ajeng says:

    I first heard about the book from my high school teacher than 10 years ago Only last year I started reading world literature in the Netherlands and thought that I would start reading Indonesian literature From the first few pages I already realized how shocking it must be for Indonesians in the 80 s to read this book It s one of the most important Indonesian book to read in my opinion.The way I see it, this book portrays clearly how women and young girls are exploited and objectified by authority figures around them If you look under the layers a little bit, perhaps you will also be disturbed by how Tohari in the end clearly showed that the female ronggeng is the victim, but how the male soldier Rasus is clearly the male hero and rescuing the female victim albeit too late Maleness and femaleness is only explained in the context of sexual and hierarchical relationship.I don t think I can ever write a proper book review, but here are some things jotted down in my book journal when I read this book Narrated in combination of 3rd person and 1st person as Rasus, the male protagonist, the book is somewhat imbalanced in its views.Sexuality and eroticism is the only empowering essence and identity of Srintil because it s the only thing she s ever known She had been convinced by others that she s meant to live the life of a ronggeng, an entertainer who dances and prostitute herself to some extent to the extent that certain men with certain wealth could afford her , when she was only 11 In my opinion, the character of Srintil in the book is still a female character portrayed by a male writer in the Indonesian 80 s Up to page 230, Tohari did not explain how the stupidity and poverty of the villagers were due to the fact that they re uneducated Repeatedly, also in 3rd person, they described their belief and attitude without adequate portrayal of their uneducated state This all knowing and insightful narrator seems to think that everything is the result of their valid belief system Later in the book, at the end in fact, that the uneducated state of the villagers was acknowledged by our tragic hero Rasus.Repeatedly there are words like anak kandung keluguan alam What I m confused about is that this is the way he wrote it in 3rd person If he insisted continuously being sentimental and portraying the nature of the villagers and their ignorance as innocent and all good, nothing can be criticized about it I am disturbed by some sentences, for example in page 231, ronggeng adalah keperempuanan yang menari, menyanyi, serta kerelaan melayani kelelakian So many things can be criticized in the sentence 1 Which femaleness Keperempuanan yang mana The one that is repeatedly enforced to be taken upon by receiving threats, violence and abuse The one that is not based on free will due to the lack of knowledge on it 2 Kerelaan Free willingness It wasn t free will, it s forced and imposed upon with violence by her own family and support system.3 Kelelakian Maleness even here maleness is only explicitly depicted as sexual maleness.To throw in this sentence as if it represent femaleness is wrong.The question of what is femaleness, what it s supposed to be, was never explored in the book besides that it only involves weakness, state of being exploited, servitude of the sexual needs of men described as maleness , and only by this sexual services that one femaleness affirms the other maleness , vice versa.Perhaps this is femaleness as understood and seen by the writer.Semarang, 19 November 2011

  8. Dina Dina says:

    Tragic stories are not my favorite, because for me it is an injustice deliberately made by the author for their own sick satisfaction.When a story ends in a sad way, I think that is just what the author wants us to see that there is nothing left for the character to live on While in the real life, it is not like that if it is not hope that would sooner emerge, the change of time would eventually makes someone stronger to continue.I know that the author has to stop somewhere, lest the pages became too much for the readers to read I just wish that the choice of ending could be when life of the characters became dull and boring, where feelings are not happy or sad That s when Boring Period.The novel by Ahmad Tohari is a tragic story too The female character loses her sanity, and the male character becomes this pathetic man who forever carries regrets and questioning what if as the final period given But Mr Tohari gives me than just a sad ending.When the first time I read the novel Ronggeng Dukuh Paruk in Bahasa Indonesia version, I did not taste merely the devastation of two humans in fact their feelings were given a smaller portion compared to the frame of the novel It was the complete description of what life was like in the 60 s, in impoverishment where mostly the politics upheaval couldn t reach that far, and the honest explanation of how society treated the innocent victims of time during that era, that gives rich aftertaste of the novel The characters are there for simply because they are there, so insignificant and at the same time important for the sake of having a focus for the flow of the story.This novel is one of many Indonesian books I consider as my favorite Its bluntness on inappropriate matters is presented in ways that only Bahasa Indonesia could deliver Before I found the English version, I was already sure that unless the reader could read Bahasa Indonesia, there is no other way to communicate the greatness of this novel.And so far, I am still certain of that.The English version translated by Rene T a Lysloff could only send half of the real flavor It was not bland, as the translation of the Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky published by Random House brought although I cannot read Russian but I m sure what Mr Dostoyevsky wrote was not as tasteless as the book I read , but it doesn t carry the sense of inappropriateness that could make me cringe while reading But I should add that in languages, there is limitation for translations one has to admit that it could never completely copy the original taste and that it would cut out certain percent of the flavor along.I should not say any, until I find another English translation of this book that is far less representing of the original one.

  9. Zahra Zahra says:

    I gotta say, I had VERY high hopes upon starting this book My mom and dad said it was spectacular, and many of my Indonesian friends mostly from the internet have said that it is one of the most influental and mesmerising classic from Indonesian literature So naturally, I gave myself a read And to be honest, I was not dissapointed, no, and I do understand why people liked it and why the book is still famous til this day, but according to me, nothing from the book reflects positive energy that makes it memorable At all So many aspects from this book is slightly weird and nasty, and since the author uses so many Javanese I think slangs that people might not understand, I was taken aback by all the cursing and really vague descriptions of intimate scenes and all yes, I didn t know that apparently, the term ronggeng basically refers to a prostitute or gigolo at that time I didn t have enough research I had really high expectations of it since the story encovers a plit that I ve never read about before But, alas, I wasn t impressed The story didn t affect me in anyway, ans honestly, the plot and how it thickens is messy, and the sub plots that were supposed to be somewhat important, is really not AT ALL All characters are jerks yes , no one can actually tell who the main character is I thought it was Srintil, but then there are chapters from Rasus s point of view, then the narrator s point of view, I don t know really Now, character review oof Okay, I can now finally safely say, that hated Srintil and Rasus the most Yes, I know, they re the MAIN CHARACTERS Yes But what I m getting is that, um, their characters are too far from what I can tell, protagonists of the story Their story starts of when Srintil was only 13 ish and Rasus was 3 years older than her She had already aspired to become a Ronggeng ever since she was young, because a spirit of Ronggeng that was inside her called indang, was inside of her, making her destined to become a Ronggeng or a woman that dances to traditional music day and night if asked and become a pleasure woman to all men in Dukuh Puruk She and Rasus were childhood friends, and well, their relationship really was the most inconclusive one I ve seen from literature Srintil was a pompous woman from the start, doesn t want to be anything but a Ronggeng , I guess it s because she doesn t know what she is yet, and just because Rasus was the one that took her virginity yes, I read that scene than once, because I wasn t convinced that that happened whatsoever she suddenly becomes terribly attached and even almost proposing to Rasus because she wants him to be with her forever Rasus, is just ine of the boys she was close with when they were little Her grandfather was actually Srintil s and he was just taken care of by him because his parents passed away because of a stupid reason, but I won t go any further and he didn t have ANY role of contribution to the story, other that taking one s virginity, being allegedly in love with Srintil in the most absurd way I ve seen, the first man to actually rejects Srintil and left her for a long time, before returning back and ended up marrying her on spite, when Srintil had already turned into a crippling and mad mess They don t have chemistry so to say even whrn the book says otherwise , their inly interaction was only innocent and platonic, and their story about one another was in anyway not compelling at all Srintil, however, probably is one of the most boring heroine ever She is a confident, smart, beautiful woman, that apparently, by the help of the plot, becomes worse as the story goes, and doesn t have anybcharacter development I kegit expected Srintil to overcome her darkness after a while and actually lived a happy life and forgetting her bad past and enter a new one, but NO, it wasn t like that AT ALL all she does is weep, procastinate, isolating herself after she got back from prison, and after getting betrayed by Bajus at almost the end of the book, even though it s convinient as a climax but no, apparently , she became mad, and married Rasus in that state, and lived like that for the rest of her life What I just don t get it.But, if u like classics like these, just give it a read Who knows, maybe your prespectives can be a lot different than mine

  10. KevinMR KevinMR says:

    This book probably holds a dear place in my heart, only next to Bumi Manusia, as it picks out similar themes regarding the conflicts faced by young adults in the era conflict and colonization, which, in this respect, the Netherlands colonization in Indonesia as its setting.The story follows two perspective, one is Srintil as the traditional dancer in the pagan Javanese village, and Rasus, the boy who turned to like Srintil, but was forced and distanced away due to his journey away from his village The development goes on as Srintil is faced with many tragic incidents involving the invasion of Netherlands and the colonization in Indonesia, while Rasus in dealing with the internal conflicts of loving his childhood crush in spite of the rough times she had been dealing.The story captures the tragedy of these young adults as a result of their decision and the enforcement of the tradition as well as other external factors like war, and with the dark conclusion that the author decided it to be, it left an impression for me.