Basic information
Interviewee ID: 990109
Name: Lyanh
Parent's name: Süh
Ovog: Mongol
Sex: m
Year of Birth: 1949
Ethnicity: Urianhai
Occupations: illustration teacher

Additional Information
Education: higher
Notes on education:
Belief: Buddhist
Born in: Mönhhairhan sum, Hovd aimag
Lives in: [None Given] sum (or part of UB), Ulaanbaatar aimag
Mother's profession: herder
Father's profession: herder

To read a full interview with Lyanh please click on the Interview ID below.

Summary of Interview 090201A with Lyanh by Baasanhüü

Lyanh was born in 1949 in Hovd aimag. Mönhhairhan sum was founded in 1959 and the first school was established in the same year, and she enrolled in the school when she was 10 years old. At that time herders did not like their kids to go school and got them to run away from there. But Lyanh's parents had a positive attitude in this respect; consequently, she kept going to school, studied in university, and then came back and taught in Hovd aimag after graduating from the Teacher’s University in 1973. At first, she taught in Manhan and Myangat sums for 3 years, and went to her native Mönhhairhan sum in 1976 as the first person who had a higher education. Even when she returned to her sum as a teacher, parents’ and children’s indolent attitude toward school still remained. That people who went to school and obtained a higher education were coming back and teaching in their home places influenced people’s attitude to certain extent, and they served as a kind of exemplar.

The Urianhai live in Mönhhairhan sum, Hovd aimag and it tends to have under-developed infra-structure and communication due to its distant, rocky and high mountainous range. This situation has influenced its development and any novel thing came late to the sum. For example, the first secondary school was established relatively late, 1976 in Mönhhairhan. In addition, she said that “even the teaching staff was insufficient”.

During the socialist period, teachers were responsible for not only teaching but also participating “foremost” in any organized cultural or educational endeavours in the rural areas. According to Lyanh’s reminiscences, in the summer-time she participated in the preparation fuel and voluntary unpaid work for the winter time because her sum was not wooded.

She worked as a chairman of the Party cell since the late 1980s. Although this work had a special position, salary, and welfare at the time, it became unofficial as a result of the democratic revolution, and then she returned her former position as teacher. “People were supporting the democratic system even though the democratic movement was not known in rural areas yet when it first appeared. Generally, rural people were used to being political. Wife versus husband or father versus son - such divisions due to their political views occurred within the same family” Lyanh recounted.

Summary of Interview 090201B with Lyanh by Baasanhüü

Puntsag, Lyanh's grandfather, was a native of Tonhil sum, Gobi-Altai aimag. By the beginning of 1920s he moved to Mönhhairhan sum in Hovd to live. He was a peddler who traveled from Da Hüree (today's Ulaanbaatar) to Höh hot (in Inner Mongolia) selling goods. People called him “peaceful” because he was a calm person of few words. Puntsag first came in Hovd with a box full of gold and silver and bought domestic animals and property with half of it, and took and hid the other half in the mountains. He forgot where he hid his treasure since he was affected by mental illness eventually, and passed away around 1933 or 1934 without finding it. His offspring including Lyanh and her father have not found it even now.

Lyanh’s grandmother had servants to do her household work and went to feasts because the Puntsags were wealthy. It is said that Lyanh’s father had his own ger built and attended by servants when he was a child. The confiscations started in 1940 and his family had their property confiscated and the rest of the domestic animals were collectivized into the commune; only five or six horses were left when Lyanh’s father was demobilized from the Army.

Although religion was restricted completely in the middle of the twentieth century, Lyanh’s grandmother brought her to Jamadai who was a lama before the repressions, and was jailed for 10 years. Jamadai taught her religious texts and did a religious ritual for her when she was a child. He led Lyanh’s mother to the 'Torguud Ih Hüree' in Bulgan sum when Lyanh's mother was pregnant with her, then he gave a name to the still-to-born child, that is, the name “Lyanh”. This shows that people followed their religion implicitly even though it was forbidden.

According to Lyanh, the restriction of religion during the socialist period led to the extinction and disappearance of some traditions and customs of the Urianhai.

There were 7 Urianhai hoshuu covering Hovd and Bayan-Ölgii before the Revolution. Most residents fled their country crossing the Altai mountains during the 'Great Flight' of 1923-1924. Leading lama and nobles of the time who did not support the revolution were calling for people to flee. Some of the people who fled were robbed by the Kazakhs and suffered from severe winters, and a few of them came back to their home country. It is said that Urianhai people are living in only 2 sums, namely Duut and Mönhhairhan in Hovd aimag.