Interviewee ID: 990184
Parent's name: Orshih
Year of Birth: 1956
Occupations: head of private women's hospital
Notes on education: doctor
Born in: Tes sum, Uvs 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 Tögsjargal please click on the Interview ID below.
Summary of Interview 090413A with Tögsjargal by Otgonbayar
Tögsjargal guai was born the third child of a family with ten children. They had 50 head of cattle and her dad used to make ger frames and her mom stayed at home therefore their life was hard. Her mother hand-made all the clothes and footwear for the family. A child of only six years old went to graze the sheep and made flour from barley. They had much work to do.
The classroom was very cold in the school and the dip pen froze before it reached the notebook. Her brothers and sisters attended school as well. Therefore one of three children from one family was taken into the dormitory. So, one large cattle was given to another ’ail’ and instead of their child Tögsjargal guai was taken to the dormitory.
In 1959 when the cattle were collectivized, they had over 300 cattle and they were left with only 50 head. Her parents cried wondering how to feed their children. Her father took part in the 1939 and the 1945 wars and after his death his war veteran certificate arrived. Choibalsan died on the eve of Tsagaan Sar [in 1952] therefore, since then it was forbidden to celebrate Tsagaan Sar but the ‘ails’ celebrated it secretly.
If the schoolchildren had good academic achievements, they were given green soap. She finished her secondary school in Baruun Turuu and following her older brother’s advice she chose to study at the medical school. Tögsjargal guai talked extensively about going to the city and being welcomed by her relatives. She registered at the school and she went to help with the harvest. The medical school had 300 tögrögs scholarship for advanced students so she worked hard. In her student time she sewed and knit some items and sold them.
After graduation she started to work in Hovd as a gynecologist. At that time Cesareans were rare done. She was overworked in the hospital. It was the practice to boil the syringes.
Later she followed her husband to Ulaanbaatar and shifted to the second maternity hospital to work. At that time insertion of an IUD and abortion were carried out only according to special directives. Therefore the women who wanted to have abortions came with their uterus full of alcohol and soap bubble that they had pressed into it. They had their uterus cleaned. Almost twenty women came one night with miscarriages. Since abortion became available cases of miscarriage have decreased.
In the socialist period the countryside hospitals’ provision of medications was sufficient and it was better than the city hospitals. In 2006 Tögsjargal guai established a private hospital and she operates it.
Recently she has been in her homeland and most of the territory has dried up and desertified. Most of the poor people have moved to the city.
Tögsjargal guai’s mother was put out in the open when she died, with her liver turned to the sun and covered with a white cloth.
Summary of Interview 090413B with Tögsjargal by Otgonbayar
During the cultural campaign inspection the bed sheets of the ‘ails’ were examined and they checked to see whether they had separate dish and cup towels. Until 1965 when Tögsjargal guai went to school she hadn’t been aware of bed sheets. They had a tanned sheepskin blanket. In winter time they slept with that and in summer time they slept wherever they liked. The whole summer through they ran barefooted and when the school began or when it became cold, she wore the footwear made by her mother.
She lived in the school dormitory, so her father prepared firewood. They had a bath once every two weeks in the dormitory. Two children bathed together in one tub and they washed their heads with warm water poured from the kettle. They didn’t get additional water therefore they washed their clothes in that water. Flour, drill cloth, tea and sugar were brought to the sum agent.
Close to the time of the cultural inspection the school teacher had the schoolchildren undress fully at eleven in the evening and put the clothes outside, and she came at six the next morning to beat the lice out. Then she brought them in and let the children put them on. The teachers were charged if there were lice detected in the children’s clothes or if they didn’t cut their nails. From the fifth grade the schoolchildren started to wear uniforms in their school.
Going to the city, she entered the Medical Institute and she participated in the work of the four ministries and visited the ‘ails’ for a cultural inspection. After graduation she worked in Hovd and every Wednesday and Saturday the medical workers visited the aimag center ‘ails’ to inspect their hygiene. A woodpecker and a plane were put on the fences of the ‘ails’ to evaluate their condition.
Back in the city when she worked in the second maternity hospital, patients with lice still visited the hospital. At that time the people with lice were called ‘dried dung’ at the reception and they used to pour ether on their heads and clean off the lice. The nurses shaved the pubic hair.
Tes sum of Uvs aimag gets very cold and the herders spent the winter time burning bushes, ‘kur’ and dried dung. The herders bathed in the water with kerlin they had washed their cattle with in order to get rid of their itch. Newspapers arrived almost a month late. The ‘ails’ had Mother Land -52 radios and they listened to them at naadam.
The livestock were collectivized in 1959, 1962, 1971. In 1962 there were still ‘ails’ that hadn’t joined the collectives. Mentsen ‘ail’ had many livestock and when joining the collective, he counted the lambs for the livestock and because all good livestock were collectivized he strangled all his lambs. They were a large family and they had 50 head of livestock therefore it was tough to survive. Her dad used to carry goods by caravan to Hatgal in Hövsgöl. Her dad has dug a pit and put grass there and when the livestock census came, he concealed and retained about 10 small livestock. At that time only the collective cattle used to be thin.
During the privatization process 15 head of livestock were given per person. The collective cattle were skinny. The sum club was demolished, and its timber taken away.
When you observed carefully, the main specialists in the universities were men. During her parents' time people had 5-10 children and it was usual to have four children. Many Kazakh families had 15-16 children. Everybody was busy and every evening there was some kind of a meeting.
Concerning democracy, the people have acquired the right to speak out freely. But it was in the socialism regime and in the democratic period it has become even more the case that women carry the most burden. Some women who had high qualification have become jobless and society has become uncontrolled. These women started to go to the south to manage small trade. Tögsjargal guai has given her thoughts on the gender relation in the modern society. Clothing and make up have changed and the appearance of toiletries was a revolution.
In the socialist period she was sent by the party committee together with the district police officer and the policemen to Darvi and Zeregt sums on paternity testing work. There was a case of a mother and her daughter delivering children of the same father. Most of the children of the ’ails’ were the children of the officials. There was a lack of contraceptives and IUDs could only be inserted according to special directives. From 1989 abortion was allowed and before that the women made various attempts to have a miscarriage.
Tögsjargal guai’s father Luvsan pretended to be insane in order not be arrested during the repressions and he died prematurely. Her father took part in the Halh Gol war in 1939. Once in Dornod one old man came to a storehouse with his grandson and they were unloading when Choibalsan came in. The old man got flustered and in order to unload faster he took out a knife to cut the rope when a man standing beside Choibalsan shot the old man dead. Her father saw it. In the evening there was much fuss about an attempt to kill Choibalsan. Her father took part even in the liberalization war of 1945 and the Russians broke into the ‘ails’ pillaging and taking away goods.
In the socialist period the people with secondary education got 450 tögrögs whether they did or didn’t do any job. The people with high qualification got 750 whether they did or didn’t do any job. They said this was a levelling out. The achievements of the socialist time are literacy, civilization and the improvement of health.
Today the system has collapsed. Today they cannot classify the people when recruiting for work. With the coming of democracy the people have been directed to a wrong course. Even a first grade child distributes 100 tögrögs to the people asking them to make him a class darga. People have got confused in a network of corruption.