Interviewee ID: 990061
Parent's name: Erdene
Year of Birth: 1944
Notes on education:
Born in: Manhan sum, Hovd aimag
Lives in: [None Given] sum (or part of UB), Ulaanbaatar aimag
Mother's profession: herder
Father's profession: herder
Themes for this interview, suggested by the interview team, are:
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education / cultural production; cultural campaigns; childhood; life in wartime; travel;
Alternative keywords suggested by readers for this interview are: (Please click on a keyword to see more interviews, if any, on that topic)
herder's life; repression; cultural campaigns; collectivization; multi-nationality; aimag centre urbanization; urbanization; childhood; schoolchildren's life; secondary school; student life; military service; Chinese;
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Summary of Interview 080902A with Törbat
I was born in 1944 in Manhan sum of Hovd aimag. At the age of nine, I went to elementary school and graduated in 1957, and then moved to the aimag centre and attended secondary school there. At that time the countryside herder ‘ails’ had felt gers. They used to make a fire in an open fireplace therefore the ger cover and the toono were black from the smoke. On the eve of tsagaan sar the people beat out the soot and cleaned the household. At that time there were no bed sheets, no pillows or blanket covers. We slept in a sheepskin deel and blanket. We used to put the children into the two baskets balancing them on a yak ox and covered them in a sheepskin deel, and we folded the nose-ring and let it loose with the livestock being driven. In such a way we used to drive the cows with baggage. In summer we ate dairy products and slaughtering of the cattle was generally prohibited. In the 1950s the Government used to give to the ‘ails’ who acquired 1000 heads of livestock a colorful tent and a wooden bucket furnished with silver and written ‘1000 livestock’, a box with an emblem of Mongolia, silver ram, and heads of five types of livestock with a silver lid. 5, 6 ‘ails’ got ‘1000 cattle’ awards from our nutag. The livestock tax, the so-called official regulation tax like wool, horse hair, hair, meat and milk were taken from the herders. Those who didn’t pay them all were sometimes imprisoned. At that time there was a man named Yampil who said, “The school takes away those who became able to carry their deel, the army takes away those who became able to carry the roof, I squeezed out and gave what was in the horsehair, I cut and gave what had grown on the top. What should I do now?” He was taken to prison for not fulfilling the official regulations and for protesting. He tended the camels of the Hovd prison and then he came back.
My dad died in 1954 when I was in the second grade. After two months my older sister died. At that time my two older sisters lived separately having got married, therefore I together with my mom set up our ger and I used to help my mom milking the cows. From the age of sixteen as a head of a family I took part in the cooperative haymaking, building the fences and digging wells. It greatly influenced my life.
The brother of my father whose name was Vaanjil had been a lama in Tögröug monastery and he was arrested in 1938. It was said he had been executed in the centre of Hovd. At that time it was said that the Hövsgöl, Arhangai and Tariat monasteries’ lamas had been arrested, some of the local lamas became secular and went to the countryside and went to serve the army. But those lamas who remained at the monasteries were arrested by a ‘Yonzon Hamba case’ and they were brought to the aimag centre and some were executed and some were sentenced to ten years of imprisonment, it is said. The arrested lamas were brought to the aimag centre prison and they stayed there for several days. Then they were taken to the Hovd Ulaan Uul valley and some were shot dead and some were buried alive with minor injuries, it is said. The old people of our homeland used to say that for several days they could hear the sounds of groans and whimpers around that place. At that time nobody said that there was such a man and he became a counter-revolutionary, they all concealed it. Otherwise they would be talked about as relatives of the counter-revolutionaries. Some groups of people who didn’t like the government and who were going to organize a counter-revolutionary uprising were arrested. And the ordinary people thought of them as counter-revolutionaries [lit: esergüü].