Interviewee ID: 990572
Parent's name: Togoo
Year of Birth: 1924
Notes on education:
Born in: Bayanhutag sum, Hentii aimag
Lives in: Herlen sum (or part of UB), Hentii aimag
Mother's profession: herder
Father's profession: herder
Themes for this interview, suggested by the interview team, are:
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childhood; privatization; environment; belief; funerals;
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privatization; collective member; nature and environment; belief; funeral rituals; children's upbringing;
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To read a full interview with Norovsüren please click on the Interview ID below.
Summary of Interview 100532A with Norovsüren
I was born in Bayanhutag sum of Hentii aiamg and am the third daughter of 15 children. I learned to read in a temporary school [a short-term literacy course]. I have been a herder all my life. Beginning from the age of 19 I began to break and look after the horses. I had tended livestock in the “Temtsel” (‘Struggle’) cooperative of Bayanhutag and became an aimag milkmaid champion. I retired at the age of 60. I have witnessed the faces of three states. Initially, we had religion with lamas and a god. After that the commune cooperatives seized the cattle, later privatization was conducted with distribution of the livestock and obtaining private property. In such a way it varied in many different ways.
The brigade had a meeting, and the sum darga together with the representatives from the aimag had a discussion informing us that the livestock were to be privatized. Many cattle were obtained through privatization and it was nice. I raised them, and when my younger sisters and brothers, who led settled lives, retired I used to give them some livestock. But because of the zud in 2000 many livestock died. Now I don’t have cows, and I have several sheep and four horses. The people who tended livestock during the privatization chose for themselves from among the livestock. I was retired then, therefore I took what they gave me. At first when the livestock had been distributed, they gave animals from the sheep, cow and horse herds. Some people said they were given bad livestock. Later, the livestock weren’t enough for the people and they said people could take from the specially tended rams and they gave out 2-3 rams. When the livestock were privatized, the herders’ life of that place became amazingly wonderful. But the wasteful people did away with their livestock immediately. But there are many of those who raised them and became well off. The sheds for cattle weren’t privatized. Some were burnt in fire, some were broken and damaged and some were carried away by the cars. Thus they were all wasted.
Though in the beginning it was tough when the cooperative hadn’t yet acquired capital, but as it become stronger and stronger, later it gave a lot of money for the young cattle and so on during the socialist period. 300-400 cows were tended and we used to give to the cooperative the dairy products and the frozen milk in summer and winter time. In the sum, we processed the milk and beat the cream and made nice dairy products, like öröm and tsötsgii, which were packed in glazed bags and exported. The milk from the one or two private we had, we used for our own need. The cooperative gave us a salary, so we purchased what we needed. There was lack of herders, therefore the so-called ‘dispatched herders’ Kazakhs came in great numbers from the western aimags. Some of them returned home and some settled here. One ail had 1000 ewes to lamb. We worked very hard all day, and there wasn't even time to sleep (lit: we didn't take our belts off at night). During the collective period, we were well provided for. We used to throw away the fodder that cattle couldn't finish eating and took the empty bag back to the negdel.
In the old days, we brought the best of the food and tea to the lamas as an offering. My parents were religious and since childhood I used to read prayers every day. My parents handed us a pill box and the amulet with patterns and a god inside. It was such a silver amulet that my parents gave me. We had the Tsetsen Khaan’s monastery and the Sergelen monastery which were later destroyed. Some of them were burnt and the remaining ones were reestablished starting in the 1990s, mostly by the old lamas’ children and their close relatives. In the socialist time it was prohibited to have offerings to Buddha, but we worshiped secretly, and in the evenings when it was dark we used to light the oil lamps for offering. The my husband’s grandfather had very old books. They were all destroyed by three fires we had in our ger. During the tsagaan sar people went to hunt wolves, you know, in order not to let celebrate the tsagaan sar. The sum representatives came to check if we celebrated tsagaan sar or not.
Besides the above mentioned topics she talked in detail about nature and environment, funeral ceremony and children’s upbringing.