Interviewee ID: 990574
Parent's name: Luvsan
Ovog: Altan uul
Year of Birth: 1943
Notes on education:
Born in: Tümendelger sum, Dornod aimag
Lives in: Herlen sum (or part of UB), Hentii aimag
Mother's profession: housewife
Father's profession: worked in negdel
Themes for this interview, suggested by the interview team, are:
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belief; privatization; environment; funerals; democracy;
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belief; privatization; funeral rituals; democracy; children's upbringing;
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Summary of Interview 100534A with Sahiya
Sahiya was born in 1943 in Tumendelger sum of Dornod aimag. Having reached the age of seven, he became a disciple at the Barga monastery of Hölön Buir sum of Dornod aimag. At the age of nine, he went to the elementary school of Norovlin sum and having completed the fourth grade became a herder. In 1968-1971, he served in the military. Since then he had worked as an agitator, an accountant and from 1990 has been carrying out religious activity.
In those days, old people and the lamas used to say there was a certain kid at someone’s place who would become a lama if they made him a disciple, and thus he became a disciple. The 1950s were brutal years therefore few children became disciples. I became the disciple of Dugar and Genden - two good lamas. At that time they told me quite a lot of things about astrology which is very useful nowadays. The Barga monastery had specific features. At the time of the ‘counter-revolutionaries’ the monasteries had been destroyed, but the main temple of that monastery couldn’t be destroyed and it was left there. That temple building had been built by the 'bar technique', therefore it wasn’t known how it was assembled. Then, that monastery had still existed till 1957, 1958 and1959 and it had been moved to the present Gandantegchinlen monastery together with the old lamas, and the Buddhas and the idols are still exalted there. In the socialist time it was prohibited to believe in religion and to believe in Buddha. Some old men who were older than me were detained in prison with a signboard hung on them [about their crimes] and they were talked about badly, but as for me, they hadn’t repressed me for fortune-telling. There used to be a great choijin man whose name was Sambiin Luvsandarjaa and others whom they took to the sums and brigades with a square signboard hung on their chests because they had been decieving people, it was said. The lamas with the Buddhas and offerings and the old people used to worship secretly. Those who had been lamas became workers.
In the 1990s all of a sudden privatization was announced, and the society, changed from a condition of scarcity, but now it has awakened. We heard about privatization from the radio and propaganda. At that time I was jobless with a few cattle. There isn’t much thing to say about privatization. One day a cooperative council meeting was held and the livestock were distributed by the coupons. Those who had been tending the livestock got more head livestock, and those who had been working got less. Those who had been tending the livestock each got 100-300 heads. The livestock barns and the shelters were given to those who had owned them. There were people who hadn’t been working in the cooperative but they had been the first to collectivize the livestock, therefore they got their share after submitting a petition. Initially, there had been a lot of various talk of what was going to happen and what the purpose was of it all. After privatization, many people raised their livestock and there are those who are managing production cooperation. Some of them sold their livestock off. At that time there were many who wished to get some livestock and live in the countryside. Nobody was informed how the sum centre property had been privatized.
In the old days when someone passed away, all the family members and the children didn’t leave the ger till the dead was taken away. There was a special person ‘who touched the bone of the dead’ who took him out. Nobody else had the right to touch the dead. There was a tradition that the one who ‘touched the bone of the dead’ came and carried out the rituals in the midnight hours. The ‘zod’ and ‘luujin’ people did charity for the afterlife of the dead with the help of the sutras. At that time there was not like today and the dead wasn’t put in a coffin. He was folded and covered with white cloth and wrapped by a black rope and taken away. That’s why the Mongolians abstained from walking under or above a black rope. Beginning from sometime in the 1960s the custom of open funerals changed.
Besides these topics Sahiya talked about democracy, nature and environment and childhood.