an Indonesian people living in northern Sumatra and numbering about 2.5 million (1967 estimate).

On the basis of linguistic and ethnographic characteristics, the Bataks can be divided into six groups: the Toba, the Karo, the Timur, the Pakpak, the Ankola, and the Mandai-ling. Their languages are Batak. The Bataks are primarily Muslim, although some of the Toba are Christian and the Karo have preserved their traditional beliefs. Strong tribal elements have survived until the present day. The Bataks are primarily farmers growing rice, corn, sweet potatoes, and other crops, although they also practice the arts of weaving, pottery-making, metalworking, building, and wood carving. Trade and commercial relations have been developing since the beginning of the 20th century, but elements of the natural farm economy have been preserved. From the very beginning of the Dutch colonization of Sumatra (in the 17th century), the Bataks have stubbornly defended their independence.


Narody Iugo-Vostochnoi Azii. Moscow, 1966.


References in periodicals archive ?
The missionary action toward non-Christians began with the Bataks, whose animist beliefs were not recognized by Indonesia's ideology of Pancasila.
On the other end of the spectrum of dialogue, Magella Coulombe became involved with the Bataks-Karos in the area of Binjei, where he was free to work openly with the Christian communities in seeking to expand their numbers, mainly because the Bataks "usually find more similarities between their values, way of life, traditions, and customs and Catholicism than with Islam.
It proved to be the best way to enter into dialogue with the non-Christians of the Diocese of Medan, both Bataks and Muslims.
The specific problem that Pakpahan addresses is severe, at least among the Bataks of the Lake Toba area in Sumatra: an ecclesiastical split which, between 1992 and 1998, produced demonstrations resulting in four deaths and grievous moral injury felt by many Batak Christians.
Maybe Pakpahan's book will assist those Bataks still tangled in the old HKBP dispute to sort themselves out, but its titular assertion, "God Remembers," sounds utterly empty with regard to the half-million dead in 1965-66 and those still re pressing memories--either of hatred for the killers or of guilt for being a murderer.
Without belittling those serious differences, I must ask how important that Batak squabble is in the larger context of all-Indonesian community torment and in the dynamics of world religions today.
And the fact that--I believe I'm right in saying this--not only the Buganese, but the Javanese, the Balinese and the Bataks had all invented their own alphabets before they had any contact with the Arabs or the Chinese or the West Europeans.
Borneo's wad men, head hunters' village, the ancient Bataks .
Two- to four-day guided itineraries (from $100) highlight the culture and history of the Bataks, descended from Malay tribes who fled the Mongol hordes before 1000 B.
At the lake's edge, you can sip tuak (palm wine) and listen to the sentimental folk songs of the Bataks, known for their strong melodic voices.
He made his home among the Batak people, who after a time accepted him as one of their own and called him Apostle to the Bataks.
In 1864 he was able to settle among the Toba Bataks in the valley of Silindung, Northern Sumatra.