Basic information
Interviewee ID: 990385
Name: Damba
Parent's name: Dorj
Ovog: Arvai
Sex: m
Year of Birth: 1941
Ethnicity: Halh
Occupations: retired, Mongolian language teacher / researcher

Additional Information
Education: higher
Notes on education:
Belief: Buddhist
Born in: Taragt sum, Övörhangai aimag
Lives in: Bayangol sum (or part of UB), Ulaanbaatar aimag
Mother's profession: herder
Father's profession: herder

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

Summary of Interview 091101A with Damba by Ariun-Undrah

Dorjiin Damba was born in 1942 in Taragt sum in Övörhangai. He graduated from the historical and philosophy faculty of the University, where he trained as a Mongolian language and literature teacher. He has worked as a research worker at the Institute of Philology, the headmaster of a religious school and from 1991 has been working as a teacher at the National University of Mongolia.

During the socialist period, there was a flourishing atmosphere of world-wide peace among the socialist countries. In 1969 Hamba Gombojav guai and the Buryat Hamba Gomboyev guai went to Moscow to participate in a meeting there, and they greatly supported the call to respect the friendly co-existence of the Asian Buddhist religions. As it is noted in the books, the history of the Mongolian Buddhist religion is divided into three stages. In 1970 the Party Central Committee issued a special decree, and a young generation of successors to the old lamas began to be trained in a newly established religious school. The Buriad and Kalmyk lamas came to study. During the socialist period there used to be great atheist propaganda both in the Soviet Union and in our country. When we were small it was prohibited to openly display Buddhas in the ails, therefore we used to put them and sutras on the top of a mountain. Families used to put images of Buddha on the back of picture frames.

Damba had heard about the repressions from the old lamas. It is written in various ways in the history books. In some places it is written that religion is brutal and it fools people and that it was the state policy of that time to wipe out the monasteries. And in some places it blamed them for the fact that many lamas had been imprisoned and exterminated.

Summary of Interview 091101B with Damba by Ariun-Undrah

In the 1950s the Mongolians still had a nomadic way of life and they slept using their deel as a blanket. It was brought to an end and the people acquired blankets, mattresses, and bed sheets. They ceased making open fire in the fireplace [using stoves with a chimney instead] and they were taught to use underwear. The so-called 'red injection' vaccination was done over a two year period, and venereal diseases eliminated, it was said. The cultural campaigns helped a great deal in making people literate, banishing dirt and bad conditions and becoming healthy.

It was decided by the government that collectivization should be carried out, and everyone joined a collective. Those who didn't join were pressured to do, and it is said that the collectivization movement fully triumphed in 1961. The advantage of socialism was that it had one leadership and the people worked according to one unified policy, and there’s no other way than to think it had been of great help to the development of Mongolia.

The state and the government leaders of that time had a Soviet education, and the majority of the Central Committee and the military chiefs had Russian wives. The only answer to the question ‘what country to follow in order to develop strongly’ was Russia. Therefore we accepted the Cyrillic alphabet. Its advantage was that great numbers of the engineers who worked in the national economic and the physicians had studied in the Soviet Union and they all knew Russian. They used Russian books and consequently there was a rapid development of science and culture.