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Recounting the Memories of the Past
Hashim Jalilul or Pengiran Anak Hashim as he was known (not to be confused with his nemesis, Pengiran Muda Hashim, who was the chief minister under Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin II), was perhaps one of the most important yet contentious figures in Brunei History.
Pengiran Anak Hashim Jalilul was born to Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin II (d. 1852). However, his mother was not the royal consort. Opinions differ regarding his actual date of birth. It has been placed from a date between the years 1811 to 1835. However, A.V.M. Horton’s estimate of 1824 seems to be more plausible.
When he was the Sultan it was believed that he was already reached 60 years old. In fact, he was an old and feeble Sultan when he was met by McArthur in 1904, who thought his age to be 70 while the Sultan himself told he had reached his 80s.
Pengiran Anak Hashim was no ordinary chief; confrontational at times and diplomatic at other times. Contemporary British accounts portray him as a crafty and determined personality who harboured no love for foreign imperial personages. Intensely nationalistic, deep in his heart he loathed everything about Britain, largely because of the activities of the Brookes. But there was little he could achieve by a direct conflict with imperialists. Yet, in 1840s while still a young man, he fought a proxy war by eliminating another branch of Brunei royalty supported by Britain and James Brooke.
The young Pengiran Anak Hashim earned the wrath of the British after the event which led to direct British Government involvement in Brunei affairs in 1846. Admiral Thomas Cochrane, the British Navy Commander in the East called the Pengiran a “man of worthless character.” Besides the Pengiran’s name was implicated in piratical activities in the region which the British were determined to stamp out. On the other hand, one British official rated the young Pengiran Anak Hashim quite high. He was described by some as an able and intelligent chief and enjoyed the friendship of Sir Spencer St. John, the British Consul in Labuan.
Text taken from Brunei Revival of 1906: A Popular History by B.A. Hussainmiya.