Mbojo

Mbojo

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The Mbojo script is related to the Buginese Lontara script, and thus closely related to other old scripts of the Philippines and the islands of Flores, Sumbawa, and Sumatra. This script has been used since the 14th century, and was used to write books and royal records in the Bima Kingdom.

During the 17th century, when the Bima people became Muslim, Sultan Bima II ordered all writing activities to switch to Malay using the Arabic script to facilitate communication with the Bima Sultanate’s relations with other kingdoms in the archipelago. The Bimanese script fell into such disuse that some researchers claimed it had never existed.

Recently, a newly-formed team aimed to do a study of this script, consisting of Munawar Iwan, Syukri Abubakar and led by the late Maryam R Salahuddin (a descendant of Sultan Bima). With the support of the Aksara di Nusantara community, they have been trying to revive the traditional Bima script found on the royal manuscripts, and they recently developed a Bima font and a Facebook page Tanao Aksara Mbojo Page (in Bimanese this means: “Learn Bima Script”) to pass on information about the script, its history, and photos of old manuscripts that, among other things, demonstrate that the ancient Bimanese script did, in fact, exist.

Abubakar hopes that in 2019 the Mbojo script will be introduced in local high schools, and the following year in primary and secondary schools.

“We continue to strive and struggle so that the new Bima script is really taught in all schools in Bima and the results have begun to appear.”

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