Interviewee ID: 990291
Parent's name: Dondov
Year of Birth: 1945
Occupations: retired, herder
Notes on education: history teacher
Born in: Saihan sum, Bulgan aimag
Lives in: Saihan sum (or part of UB), Bulgan aimag
Mother's profession: herder
Father's profession: herder
To read a full interview with Namhai please click on the Interview ID below.
Summary of Interview 090739A with Namhai by Khishigsüren
An old man, a former horse-herder, teacher and mayor of Saihan sum of Bulgan aimag
Many relatives and children of Lamjav guai (see interview 090102; interviewee 990080) have given interviews in our project and one of them is D. Namhai. The interviews of the many family relatives of Lamjav guai is an interesting aspect of the 20th century Mongolian oral history study. IIt is very interesting to trace by one family’s developmental history the oral Mongolian history of the socialist period, its end, and the democratic period.
Namhai was born in 1945 in Saihan sum of Bulgan aimag. Having finished elementary and secondary school he tended the collective's horses for eight years. Later, in 1980-1984, he graduated from the history and geography faculty of the State Teacher’s Institute. He has worked as a head master, and a history and geography teacher of the eight and ten-year secondary schools and from 1996 to 2000 he worked as a sum mayor for four years and then retired. His wife was a herder and from 1976 she has studied in the teacher’s school in Arhangai and also studied at the State Teacher’s Institute. Having graduated the tenth grade in 1964, Namhai was appointed to the military general school. At that time he didn’t like military service and his parents were old people therefore he went to the countryside to assist his parents. In the countryside he tended livestock for ten years and he used to be a collective horse herder. He lived a decent life then but the collective's dargas used to maltreat him. It seemed to him at that time that the people who had graduated from the higher education institutions lived well and the ordinary, harmless working person had trouble getting along and coping with the dargas. It seemed a person who was a little stubborn was always mistreated. Therefore he made up his mind to get educated and first he had his wife graduate school, and in 1980 he entered school and he talked in detail about his student life.
He also talked about what he had heard and what he knew about the communes in the 1930s. The collectivization was carried out in 1959, and he recalled how the people were made to join the collectives. There was much oppression when they joined the collectives. The collective members ‘endured their fates’, and because of this he hated the collectives. The establishment of the collective was a violation of people’s property, and it was the most vulgar and the biggest deviation. The people were oppressed by the official tax and the number of livestock of the ‘ails’ didn't increase.
The work of disbanding the collectives, which supported the democratic revolution of 1990, was very consistently supported in Mongolia, and the very first meeting on disbanding the collectives was held on March 27, 1991, in Saihan sum center. Before privatization, the supreme council of the collective's union gave instructions to transfer the collective livestock to a so-called contracted lease. He didn’t support the contracted lease considering it a waste of time. He argued about the contracted lease, saying that the collective dargas would misappropriate livestock and the herders and countryside people would become poor and the most of them would become beggars. Therefore we shouldn’t let it happen. The cooperatives must be disbanded. Thus he argued. He thought that the collective's assets should be divided among the people who had collectivized their livestock and those who worked at the time in the collective.
Summary of Interview 090739B with Namhai by Khishigsüren
An old man, a former horse herder, teacher, and the mayor of Saihan sum of Bulgan aimag
In the second part of his interview he talked about quitting secondary school and going to the countryside. There he worked as a traveling teacher. The old people should think of getting educated and have serious attitude about it, but those who were to study had no other future than to tend their livestock for the collective. There was no other job there. They thought that literacy wasn’t necessary. There used to be literacy group training and some of them had been through with it but they never learned it. They believed it wasn’t necessary for them and it was useless to teach such people therefore he submitted a petition letter to the collective administration and he changed his work to become a horse herder.
He talked about how he used to fulfill the planning norms, once he became a collective horse herder, how he sold the airag and dairy products, the first time he sold airag and milk at the market, what the relations were like between the collective management and the subordinates, as well as the herders’ life. He emphasized the work of tending the cooperative livestock was work you could be penalized for. He was a cultured herder who subscribed to newspapers. He hated the wrong doings of the bosses and he criticized them. As a result he was persecuted in various ways. When he tended the collective's livestock he didn’t work poorly. He lived and worked well but his wife had desire to study at the Institute and the fact of graduating was a very big change in his life, he said.
There had been a possibility to implement the democratic process in Mongolia correctly. He regrets that bribery and corruption was growing these days. The value of democracy is freedom, the freedom of speech. He told what a precious thing was to speak freely and he said he had sensed what a nice thing it was, the freedom to speak out.
His snuff box is a memorable thing for him. He told a very extensive story about his ‘usan siizen’ snuff bottle. His ‘usan siizen’ snuff bottle is an amazing and wonderful thing that was written about in the history of Mongolia, he said. A person named Shijee brought it in the middle of 19th century. The torn case of the snuff box has been preserved as well. There are four elephants and four lions stitched with golden thread at the four corners on both sides of it. This snuff bottle is the classical form of a snuff bottle, he said.
He praises only one thing of the socialist period and that was the education system and the case of destroying the primitive religious education and instead laying the foundation of the modern European education. He also compared the present day and former school education systems and teaching.