Interviewee ID: 990244
Parent's name: Jamba
Year of Birth: 1925
Notes on education: büren dund
Born in: Bugat sum, Bulgan aimag
Lives in: Bayangol sum (or part of UB), Ulaanbaatar aimag
Mother's profession: herder, farmer
Father's profession: herder, farmer
To read a full interview with Pürevdorj please click on the Interview ID below.
Summary of Interview 090704A with Pürevdorj by Sainbileg
J.Purevdorj was born in 1925 in Bugat sum /former Tsonhlon sum/ of Bulgan aimag. He is a citizen of Bugat. At the age of 11 he went to the elementary school of Tsonhlon sum. Reaching the age of 20 in 1945 he served in the military in Ulaanbaatar for 5 years. He became a driver while serving in the military therefore after demobilization in 1950 he worked at the first auto transportation base. For sixteen years he worked for the Central Post Office there. Then he obtained a ‘cistern’ [perhaps a tanker truck?] and drove it for 20 years and retired.
We had about 200 cattle. My father used to grow vegetables privately. He sprinkled the seeds on the grass, and then he used to plow the land. The so-called ‘mudandas’, with a cast-iron point fastened to wood, was dragged by a cow, and in this way we plowed land. I drove the cow and my dad supported the plough. Thus we plowed and planted the grain and when autumn came, we mowed. The millet (it is called changaanz) was mowed by hand. The wheat was mowed with a scythe that had a curved iron part and we squatted and mowed and collected it in a bundle. The wheat that was tied into bundles we brought into a ger-sized area with the soil stripped off and piled them there. Then we brought in a sheep, a cow, and a two-year old calf and a child stood in the centre and he drove them around. When the wheat was threshed, the straw or the stem was separated by a wooden fork with two tines. The wheat separated from the straw was thrown against the wind on a spade and the clean wheat remained. Then parallel holes 2 meters by half a meter and over 1 meter deep were dug and the seed wheat was put in there and they were covered with straw and earth. In such a way the seed wheat was preserved. The wheat to be eaten was put into a leather bag made from cattle and a leather bag made from goatskin and it was brought to an ’ail’ who had a mill and it was milled there. There used to be Maarambiin Galdan who had a horse-powered mill and Dorj who had several mills. One sack of wheat was given to the ‘ails’ as a wage for milling and the wheat was milled into flour. The so-called yellow crepe flour was the finest and the white crepe flour had harsh grain.
The auto base that initially had 7 trucks was first formed as the ‘Mongol Tkh’ in Mongolia. Then Mongoltrans, the first auto base was established and it was called this name till I retired and then it disappeared. In September of 1950 I demobilized and went to the first auto base to work. I worked for the post office for 16 years. At that time the Central Post Office delivered the mail by ZIS-5 truck and, in fact, everything to the people in all 18 aimags and the units around the border. The Party Committee dargas, the Political Bureau people, even the government representatives used to travel by post. Newspapers, letters were sealed in a bundle, wrapped and shipped. The drivers used to go for the post twice a week in the winter and summer. 20-25 people sat in ZIS-5 and the ‘51’ truck contained 18 people normally. There were many Mongol Teh stations in each sum. We used to stay over at those stations. If the truck broke, we went to that station and repaired it, wrestling with it.
Summary of Interview 090704B with Pürevdorj by Sainbileg
I encountered the Secretary of the Central Committee Tömör-Ochir when I was having a holiday in Hujirt resort. He said he’d build a monument to Chinggis Khan but then he was found guilty and he was exiled to countryside. When you think about it now, it was a grave time, to be prohibited from even talking about your own history. Tsegmid guai visited the United Nations Organizations in 1961 when our nation became its member and he said, “America is a wonderful country. Its development differs, the Soviet Union is nothing compared to it.” And he was said to be very much in error. In the socialist period the human rights issue was bad. It was prohibited to get rich, it was prohibited to see many things, it was prohibited to meet and talk with the foreigners.
In 1990 I went to the Square curious about Bat-Uul and the others who lay there in a hunger strike. I would come near to them and watch. I thought they were going through an ordeal themselves and that it was a needless thing to do. Then they started to organize big demonstrations and I though they were quarrelling over a rule. I thought this democracy was a needless thing. Later I realized it wasn’t a needless thing. There are its advantages like privatization and proclaiming human rights. I don’t know at all how the property had been distributed during privatization. All of a sudden private property flourished. I retired prior to privatization. During privatization the drivers got their vehicles they had been driving. Our family had given over 200 head of livestock to the collectives. But we didn’t get back even an orphaned young goat. One of my acquaintances had collectivized a thousand head of livestock and he wanted to get his share during the privatization but he was told, “Many years have passed since you had abandoned your cattle.” And he didn’t get anything. Then I thought it was a needless thing and I didn’t go there. Through privatization I didn’t get anything. The administrative offices were given to the dargas. They sold them and vanished. I think that property never came into the state fund. In this sense the upper-level people got rich through their acquaintances.
In the olden times the dead were taken in a camel cart if there were camels and in a cow cart if there were cows. One or two people buried the dead. It was put out in the open. It was a special place called ‘a place where humans were left’. My mom was left in the Behtreg valley. In childhood I was told ‘not to go near the places where humans were put’.