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A. A. Panji Tisna

Anak Agung Pandji Tisna (11 February 1908 – 2 June 1978), also known as Anak Agung Nyoman Pandji Tisna, I Gusti Nyoman Pandji Tisna, or just Pandji Tisna, was of the 11th generation of the Padji Sakti dynasty of Buleleng, Singaraja, in the northern part of Bali, Indonesia. He succeeded his father, Anak Agung Putu Djelantik, in 1944.

On the last page of Pandji Tisna’s book “I Made Widiadi”, written in 1955, he wrote his life-story chronologically, that he was a writer and novelist. He refused to be king of Buleleng, but being the eldest son, the Japanese occupancy troops forced him to be “syucho” after the death of his father in 1944.

During his reign, he became the leader of the Council of Kings of Bali from 1946-1947 (Paruman Agung) and became the Regent of Buleleng. He was also unique because he became a member of the Christian faith on a predominantly Hindu island.

Being a Christian, Pandji Tisna felt he could not continue being king of the predominantly Hindu Buleleng. In 1947 he surrendered the throne to his younger brother, Anak Agung Ngurah Ketut Djelantik or I Gusti Ketut Djelantik, also popular as Meester Djelantik, until 1949.

Pandji Tisna is best known as a novelist. His novels, which all took place in Bali, especially in Singaraja, his place of birth, were published by Balai Pustaka. Many of his short stories were placed in Terang Bulan magazine which was published in Surabaya. He also took time to write poems, such as Ni Poetri, which was published by Sutan Takdir Alisyahbana in Poedjangga Baroe magazine in Jakarta. Pandji Tisna had a varied career as a merchant, secretary to his father, Headmaster of Elementary School, Editor of Jatayu magazine, and farmer, before succeeding to the throne on the death of his father on 25 July 1944. He was Chair of the Balinese Council of Kings from 1946 – 1947, but abdicated in favour of his brother, Meester Djelantik, in 1947.

He was a member of the Provisional Parliament of the State of East Indonesia from 1946-1948.

Pandji Tisna is also remembered as a pioneer of Balinese tourism, especially in the northern beach district. In 1953, he chose Desa Tukad Cebol (now Desa Kaliasem (Kaliasem Village) as his holiday home. There, he wrote and received both local and foreign guests. He named his holiday home “Lovina”, which is an abbreviation of words “Love Indonesia”. He then also built several guest houses in the western coast in Buleleng. The whole area then became known as Pantai Lovina or Lovina Beach in English. Because of that, he is accredited as “The Father of Balinese Tourism”. In 2003, the Balinese government posthumously awarded him the “Karya Karana Award” in recognition of his services to the development of Balinese tourism.

Pandji Tisna converted to Christianity during the Japanese Occupation of Indonesia, as a result of imprisonment by the Japanese in Singaraja. The arrest occurred in response to the actions of his wife, Jero Mekele Seroja, in drying a Dutch flag which raised suspicions that Pandji Tisna was a Dutch loyalist. These suspicions were aggravated by the fact that a Bible in Dutch language, which was a gift from his younger brother, Djelantik, was found in his room. Pandji Tisna was arrested and imprisoned in Singaraja. He was released with the help of Miora, a Christian spy. After his release, Pandji Tisna vowed to study the Bible and become a Christian with the help of a Christian priest, A.F. Ambesa. In the following year, Pandji Tisna was baptised as a Christian.

His major works: I Made Widiadi (Kembali kepada Tuhan) (1955), I Swasta Setahun di Bedahulu (1938), Sukreni Gadis Bali (1936) (first published in Balinese). It has subsequently been translated into other languages with the following titles:  Bali Taruniyan Dedenekuge Kathawa, a Sinhala language edition, translated by Dr. P. G. Punchihewa.

The Rape of Sukreni, an English edition, translated by George Quinn, Ni Rawit Ceti Penjual Orang (1935), Panglajar Djadi Tjoelik a Sundanese 1940 edition, translated by Soerjana.

Anak Agung Pandji Tisna died 2 June 1978 and is buried in the graveyard on the Eastside of his land near the chapel he built years before.


Books by A. A. Panji Tisna
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