The Seri Nara DiRaja is the chief herald of the royal household whose role had been extensively described in Sejarah Melayu since the days of the Melaka sultanate. According to John Leyden’s appraisal of Sejarah Melayu, it was the Seri Nara DiRaja who had a pivotal role in assisting Raja Kassim, the son of Almarhum Sultan Muhammed Shah (Sri Maharaja), to become the Sultan of Melaka, after the ill-fated death of Sultan Abu Shahid (Sri Paramaeswara Dewa Shah). Raja Kassim was then known as Sultan Muzaffar Shah, who ruled Melaka wisely and had ordered the compilation of Kitab Undang-Undang, so that “the laws might not be perverted by his chief officers, or mantris“.
The post of Seri Nara DiRaja is held by orang kalur of a ‘higher/purer’ pedigree than those who hold positions as royal musicians playing the nobat. Orang kalur are said to be descendants of orang muntah lembu. According to Sejarah Melayu, a descendant of Iskandar Dzukarnain (Alexander the Great) by the name of Bichitram Shah (or Nila Utama, or Sang Sapurba), descended on the mountain of Sagantang Mahameru on a bull. As described in Leyden’s translation of Sejarah Melayu:
“The name of the prince (Bichitram Shah) they changed into Sangsapurba. The bull which was his conveyance, vomited foam, from which emerged a man named Bat’h, with an immense turban, who immediately stood up, and began to recite the praises of Sangsapurba.”
An extensive description of the orang kalur can be found in a paper written by YM Raja Iskandar Raja Halid, which have been posted in SembangKuala in June 2009.
The post of Seri Nara Diraja still exists, and he is referred to as Toh Seri Nara Di-Raja in the court of DYMM Paduka Seri Sultan of Perak. During the installation of a Paduka Seri Sultan, the Toh Seri has an important ceremonial role during the Tabal Adat and Tabal Pusaka. The Toh Seri would walk into the Balai Rong Seri after the Paduka Seri Sultan is handed the sword Cura Si-Manja Kini. The Toh Seri steps up to the singgahsana and presents the Mastika Embun and inserts the Cap Halilintar behind the right ear of Paduka Seri Sultan, following which the Rahsia Nisab Sultani is whispered. The Toh Seri Nara Di-Raja then performs a salutation (menyembah) and retreats respectfully. The Toh Seri Nara Di-Raja is also involved in the Mengambil Air Bersiram Tabal.
The next SembangKuala post by YM Raja Kobat Sallehuddin Raja Muda Musa will touch on the origin of the term nara, and its significance in early Indo-Malay civilisation.
1. John Leyden. John Leyden’s Malay Annals. MBRAS Reprint 20.
2. Sabri Zain. The coming of Islam: The ship from Juddah. Sejarah Melayu.
3. Tabal Adat. Laman Rasmi Pejabat DYMM Sultan Perak.
4. Tabal Pusaka. Laman Rasmi Pejabat DYMM Sultan Perak.