For the ﬁrst time, the story of the legendary Megat Terawis has been assembled in a single volume – Megat Terawis: Journey to Our Roots. The writer, Putri Zanina bt Megat Zainuddin, from Megat Terawis’s bloodline, Perak, is a thirteenth-generation descendant. An award-winning writer, Putri Zanina shares her experiences in the search for her ancestral roots. Driven by a deep need to ﬁnd out where she came from and to know more about her family background, she travelled to Pagar Ruyung in Sumatera, the seat of Minangkabau rule, and followed the Footsteps of Megat Terawis and his early descendants in Perak.
For 230 years, from the establishment of the Perak Sultanate in 1528, the Megats were the Sultans’ Bendaharas – royal custodians, kingmakers and trusted generals, who shed blood for their country. Her stories reveal the impact of the powerful Bendahara Megats on the history of Perak and also the Malay Nusantara of old. The book combines the authors travelogue, historical accounts and genealogies of the Megat family as well as folk tales and legends that lend intrigue to one of Perak’s most prominent aristocratic families.
Why do we have this urge to ﬁnd our ancestral roots, this need to discover something that has long been gone? Are we doing it so that our parents, uncles, aunts, cousins, siblings, children, grandchildren and other more distant relatives get to know their ancestors and where they came from? Yes, that is one of the reasons but it is not the main one. And if you are one of those who carry through life the ancestral title of Megat, Puteri/Putri/Petri or Tun, wouldn’t you be curious as to why this is so?
For many of us, we trace our roots mainly to satisfy our own curiosity. We are doing this for us, for our own preservation, so that we may understand the why and what of who we are. As several of the more curious of our family members set out to look for our roots, we discovered a common meeting point. One name stood out, that of Megat Terawis. Who was he? Where did he come from? What was he like? What was his legacy? How did he and his contemporaries change the history of Perak?
The more we researched, the more intrigued we became with Megat Terawis. There were many conﬂicting narratives about him. It became necessary to separate fact from ﬁction though it is not possible to ascertain every myth and erroneous story that has been bound so tightly with history over the ages. However, Malay folklore cannot be taken literally for it contains yang tersurat dan tersirat (in letter and in spirit). Dismiss all the spiritual contexts of folklore as mere ﬁction and we may miss some hidden truths. That is why I have not completely omitted the folklore. With the help of several family members, I have tried to inject some logic into the stories concerning our ancestors. Sharing these stories through this book has given me much pleasure. – Putri Zanina bt Megat Zainuddin
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