Hadhüü


Basic information
Interviewee ID: 990527
Name: Hadhüü
Parent's name: Genden
Ovog: Tugchin
Sex: f
Year of Birth: 1935
Ethnicity: Halh

Additional Information
Education: tusgai dund
Notes on education:
Work: retired, teacher
Belief: Buddhist
Born in: Bayan Uul sum, Govi-Altai aimag
Lives in: Yosonbulag sum (or part of UB), Govi-Altai aimag
Mother's profession: herder
Father's profession: herder


Themes for this interview are:
(Please click on a theme to see more interviews on that topic)
childhood; education / cultural production; environment; belief; urban issues;

Alternative keywords suggested by readers for this interview are: (Please click on a keyword to see more interviews, if any, on that topic)



Click here to submit your own keywords for this interview

Please click to read an English summary of this interview

Please click to read the Mongolian transcription of this interview

Translation:



The Oral History of Twentieth Century Mongolia

Sarantsetseg -

Hello.

Hadhüü -

Hello.

Sarantsetseg -

Are you having a good autumn?

Hadhüü -

Yes, thank you, and you?

Sarantsetseg -

Yes. I’ve introduced the oral history project to you. Let’s begin the interview. First of all, will you introduce yourself? What’s your name? What year were you born? Where were you born? How did you spend your childhood? Tell us about your parents.

Hadhüü -

I was born the first child of the commoner (ard) Genden in 1935 in the land of Ih Gol of the 4th bag territory of Bayanzul sum, Gobi-Altai aimag. I was brought up by my parents until the age of ten and then I entered the sum elementary school in 1944. In 1948 I finished fourth grade and in 1948-1951 I finished seventh grade at the aimag seven-year school. From there I went to Ulaanbaatar to attend the teachers’ training school which I finished in 1951-1954 and then became the people’s teacher and came back to my homeland. Then I started my working career from the leading first school of Altai city. I worked there as an elementary teacher for two years in 1954-1955. Then suddenly my father got sick and I went to the sum to work there. I worked there for quite a long time. I worked there from 1955 till 1960. In 1971 I won the confidence of the Party for we had been promoted only by election. I had been doing the sum party cell secretary elective work for two years and then by my own request I started doing teaching work. I did teaching work until 1977 and I grew older. My husband was also a teacher and we decided to settle in a central area and we moved to the aimag centre. I worked at the secondary school there, too. In 1989 I retired and since then I live happily thanks to the good deeds of the people and my own children. Within this period I attended a two month household teacher course after which I worked as a technology teacher and then I retired.

Sarantsetseg -

Originally you graduated as an elementary teacher, right?

Hadhüü -

Yes, I’m an elementary school teacher. Later I became a technology teacher after attending the training course.

Sarantsetseg -

What kind of people were your parents?

Hadhüü -

My father’s name is Bandgai Genden. He died at the age of 85. His forefathers were herders. My mother’s name is Mendhüü Sandui. My father died at the age of 85 and my mother died at the age of 79. Before the collective movement they tended their own cattle and with the collective movement they became members of it and tended its livestock. My father used to tend mostly the collective’s red cows. Later he tended sheep and retired. Actually he became the ‘Good Herder of the Aimag’ while tending the cows and he used to come here when a conference had been organized here. My mother was an ordinary milkmaid. She was involved in the collective dairy work for many years. That’s what my parents were like, you know.

Sarantsetseg -

Will you talk about your childhood? Will you reminiscence about the time you were brought up by your parents? Where did you live? Who were your neighbors? How did small children used to assist their parents? What was countryside life like?

Hadhüü -

Since I was the first child of the family I used to do boy’s jobs. I was very skillful with the horses. My father used to milk mares and early in the morning I used to go to Havtgain Shal to gather the horses and the mares. We milked the mares and I hooked up the horse and assisted in our household work. I collected dry dung and we used to milk the sheep twice a day. In the afternoon we milked the sheep and I tied them up, then we milked the goats, and in the evening we milked the sheep again. Later after the rise of the collective movement we used to milk the cows at the plant. Then we hung the milk from the saddle to transport it to the plant. We used to ride horses for there were no vehicles or motorcycles at that time. My father’s family lived in the land called Havtgai when I was a child. It was to the south of Bayan-Uul sum and there we spent the wintertime. We spent the wintertime at the Ulaan hill of Havtgai. We didn’t have any toys or games to play then. We used to set up gers using stones. It is said those stone gers are still there, though I hadn’t been there to see them. In the summertime we lived in the land of Il. I went down from Il to Havtgain Shal to summon the horses. Every time I visit my sum, you know, Il and Havtgai look so beautiful for it’s the place I was born. I always remember that place.

Sarantsetseg -

Please tell us about the children you went to school with, the children of your neighborhood, the children of your sum and your land.

Hadhüü -

There are four or five people who studied with me in the fourth grade of school. Yes, there’s the Doctor of Medical Science Gombosüren. We finished the fourth grade together. Then there’s the ‘Bag’ magazine journalist Z. Seseer. The two of us finished the fourth grade together. Then there’s Davaa from my fourth grade who is an aged woman-herder in Bayan-Uul sum. There’s an aged woman Shargad Myadag and one more woman Ürchee, who is perhaps somewhere in Darhan. All those who studied with me have passed away and only a few of us are left. At the school anniversaries we gather together and we take pictures. I have those pictures.

Sarantsetseg -

How did you first study at the elementary school? What were the sum elementary school and the sum centre environments like? Were there dormitories at the school? What were the teachers like?

Hadhüü -

When I first came to school there were gers and there were no buildings. So the school dormitory was in the ger. The dormitory children didn’t have bed sheets and so on. They just covered themselves with their deels. They folded the mat and the deel together and sat on it doing homework. We put a small piece of plywood on our knees and wrote on it, you know. It wasn’t an ash board, but it was plywood. I suppose the teacher had to have had a table. I don’t remember it now. Then the teacher taught us. That’s how it was. Actually there were 2-3 gers as I remember it. Now I hardly remember anything, you know. I didn’t stay in the dormitory, I lived with a family. My parents tended their livestock and they didn’t come to the sum centre. I lived at Yadamtsoo’s family until I finished the fourth grade.

Sarantsetseg -

Did parents worry about their children having left them in the dormitory? Did they used to give food and fuel to the dormitory?

Hadhüü -

I don’t remember about the fuel thing in the fourth grade. But I remember well how we prepared the dormitory children’s meal and the fuel after I had become a teacher. After I had become a teacher our Bayan-Uul sum had some clay houses. The teacher on duty fired the stove. It was a big dark room stove covered with iron. The teacher on duty and the stoker both made a fire in the stove and they woke up the children. They first touched the stove to see if it was hot and when it was hot they woke up the children. The teacher on duty had a large workload. He had to wake up the children and at that time their hygiene was very poor and the teacher was in charge of their hygiene. He made the children clean their rooms and then he led them to the classroom. After the classes he had to check their homework and again clean their rooms and lead them to their meal. The teacher on duty did everything. I remember very well about the fuel. A camel caravan went loaded with sagebrush. We collected sagebrush in our homeland. We packed the sagebrush in a big table pack and loaded it on a camel and brought it to the school fuel yard. We used the sagebrush and the dried dung bricks for the fire. I used to teach at a time when we lacked wood, coal and saxaul. That was the fuel we had. And the children’s food was prepared by the herders, I think. That’s what I think. After the collective’s rise, I think, the food was purchased from the collective members. Since I wasn’t stationed in the dormitory I don’t know much about it.

Sarantsetseg -

How many times a day did the children have a meal in the dormitory?

Hadhüü -

I don’t know exactly since I didn’t stay in the dormitory. Perhaps it was three times a day.

Sarantsetseg -

Were the children hungry? Did they escape home from the school?

Hadhüü -

At my time fleeing still existed. After I became a teacher children still used to flee. The teacher on duty was actually responsible for making a favorable environment and not letting the children flee, you know. There was no dormitory teacher then. The teacher on duty was in charge of making that environment favorable for children so they would not escape.

Sarantsetseg -

Perhaps there were many children in a ger?

Hadhüü -

Well, about ten children lay encircled looking to the wall and their feet stretched out to the fire. That’s how they slept.

Sarantsetseg -

They had their meal and did their homework there?

Hadhüü -

Yes, they did. And later they acquired a kitchen, you know.

Sarantsetseg -

What were the main subjects studied in the elementary school? Were there few subjects?

Hadhüü -

Yes, there were few subjects. As I remember we had math and grammar which was the present Mongolian language, I think. We had the ’world’ and ‘nature’ subjects, and I think we had music and songs. That’s about all we had.

Sarantsetseg -

Did you go lined up in the morning and begin the class with singing a song?

Hadhüü -

We sang the ‘International’ song every morning and evening. In the evening they got the dormitory children’s report and we sang the ‘International’, reporting our wholeness, I assume.

Sarantsetseg -

Were there many teachers and directors?

Hadhüü -

There were a few of them. At my time the director used to teach the classes. There were only two or three people. My teacher’s name was Ragchaa. And the director’s name was Yadamtsoo. There was one more teacher, I forget the name. Only two or three teachers were there. There weren’t many of them in the elementary school.

Sarantsetseg -

Do you think your childhood was different to that of others?

Hadhüü -

Well, I’m a herder’s child so I think we had the same level. My family was neither rich nor poor. My grandfather was very rich with many livestock. It is said he was very rich. I was the eldest child of the family and I was a little spoilt. I didn’t go about the livestock. That’s the kind of child I was, you know. My parents were young and they did it themselves. But milking the cattle and taking the milk to the plant and preparing the dried dung and the fuel, gathering the mares were all my jobs, as I recall it now.

Sarantsetseg -

How many younger brothers and sisters do you have?

Hadhüü -

I have three younger brothers and sisters. There is one brother and two sisters. My next brother is a herder at Bayan-Uul sum. He is seventy.

Sarantsetseg -

What was the relationship like between parents and their children then? When you observe the present day children, how has the relationship between parents and children changed?

Hadhüü -

Oh, I was a girl. My parents never beat me. In fact, they never beat me for I was a very industrious child. I managed everything myself. From childhood until I grew old I have nothing what do you call it towards my parents. As the eldest child of the family I took care of them till they passed away. I think our relationship was good. The present day children don’t obey their parents and maybe that’s why they have things to fight over. That’s how it is, you know. That’s what I think.

Sarantsetseg -

It is said, the olden time’s children’s upbringing was totally different. They didn’t listen to adults’ talk. When the parent glanced at their child “go out”, they obeyed. It is said they obeyed what other seniors told them though they weren’t their parents?

Hadhüü -

Yes, they did actually. It was like that, you know. The children didn’t pass by in front of the adults and they played outside when the parents talked, for we didn’t have many rooms to stay in like today. Such was the education then. The children never took from the refreshments offered to the guests and should the parents look harshly at them, they went away. Perhaps, they meant it.

Sarantsetseg -

Well, what was the year you went to school?

Hadhüü -

1944.

Sarantsetseg -

What historic events happened in 1944? What were the specific features of that year? Was there a shortage of food and goods?

Hadhüü -

Since it was a war period we ate only red flour, actually.

Sarantsetseg -

Red flour means the second grade flour?

Hadhüü -

No. It was mashed flour, you know. That was what we ate. It’s almost like the present day animal fodder. That was what we ate. In fact, the olden time people ate dairy products in the summer time, they had milk and yoghurt and almost didn’t eat meat, you know. Yes. Even if we ate it, it was borts, dried meat. We made plenty of dried meat and we cooked it. We had curded milk, yoghurt, milk and dried curds. There was shortage of products. We didn’t have various kinds of candies, you know. When I was a child we had a pot-shaped (dombo) sugar. It was fat and not square. It had many shapes and was like salt. It was the most delicious thing then, the pot-shaped sugar. The only sweet thing we had. That’s how we grew up. Things were rare.

Sarantsetseg -

And how about the materials and cloth?

Hadhüü -

I don’t know about that. It was a war period.

Sarantsetseg -

Children had deels?

Hadhüü -

Children came to school in deels and Mongol gutals. They wore Mongol gutals not only in the elementary school but even when they attended the Teachers’ school.

Sarantsetseg -

You made your own Mongol gutal?

Hadhüü -

Yes, my mom made them, you know. Various silks and drill-cloth were rare and we had Russian ‘chischüü’ (a type of silk) deel with a blue lace. My deel was hemmed with three laces. I went to the Teacher’s school in this deel. My deel was salmon-pink. The children had cloth bags when they first went to school. I put all my things into the bag that was buttoned and had a red star sewn on it. There were hardly any books and notebooks then, you know. We used to have the so called ‘pursed-white’ pen and an ‘ant-pen’. We had two such kinds of pen. There was no ink, you know. We had the so called black ink that we mixed with water and then we added some sugar into it. It glistered like gold when we wrote with it. Then it would become even more beautiful when we took it into the sun. Thus we used ink. We tied the head of the pen with a thread to a thin wood. The thread would get dirty when we dipped the pen into the ink. We had no ink box or whatever, you know. In such a way we used to write.

Sarantsetseg -

What were the notebooks like? Were they notebooks with blotting paper?

Hadhüü -

Yes, they had blotting paper. By the time I finished fourth grade there were two similar narrow desks and benches. The desks were narrow and the benches were narrow. We put the desks in a circle and sat looking at each other. The desks were put in a U form. That was the provision we had, as I remember. I can’t remember the olden time things very well.

Sarantsetseg -

You had very few classes and you went to school in a deel. In your opinion, how did the state manage the education issue? How has the education system changed since your childhood up to this day? How has the state considered this matter?

Hadhüü -

Well, at the time from my elementary school and until 1989 the education issue was as different as chalk and cheese, you know. At our time we used to write with such a thing, and we used the blotting paper that could hardly be found, you know. We had such pens and such pencils and there were no chalks, instead we tried to write with a hard stone called ‘tserd’ on the board but it didn’t write but scratched. And nowadays everything has become as different as chalk and cheese, you know. Everything is powered by electricity and computerized. We had nothing of that kind before. For instance, I became a teacher in 1954 and the teacher of that time and the present day teacher are as different as chalk and cheese, you know. We did our things ourselves by hand. We didn’t have anything ready and we had to use our brains to make visual materials, you know. Yes, and it looks as different as chalk and cheese, you know. The olden time teachers didn’t do only their work but they also took part in community work. They took part in party and political activities and they worked out their lectures and read them. They distributed handbooks to the brigades in the countryside. They went to the countryside agitating. In the olden times it was called shii, it was a play. We produced the play and acted in it ourselves. If we organized concerts, they used totalitarian methods to make the teachers do everything otherwise they would reproach us that we hadn’t fulfilled the party assignment. Therefore, we used to do everything by ourselves. The present day teachers are enjoying their happiness. When I visit the schools I tell the teachers, “You are enjoying your happiness with ready made things. You can’t imagine how we worked”.

Sarantsetseg -

Do you remember any of the plays you watched, or movies?

Hadhüü -

Well, I remember we produced and acted in the “Commissar Tsend” play. I don’t remember who exactly produced it. I think the sum amateurs produced and acted in it. It was a script of Tsetseg Byambajav from Hovd that told the story of a collective sheep that gave birth to twin young animals at the end of the collective movement after it had been successful. I acted in that play and I remember it very well. I was young then. It was the 1960s and I acted as an old woman. I was too young to play that old woman’s role. The sum darga Tsedendamba used to scold me, “You don’t embrace the role and you don’t act old. You are too young for it. Embrace your role!” I still remember it. In such a way the teachers were involved in everything. Actually, I was the first intellectual woman of that sum, you know. Yes, I was the first woman intelligentsia and I had to fight for everything and I couldn’t sit back, you know, for I was educated by the party. Actually, I joined the party in 1960. From 1960 onwards I used to fulfill Party assignments. I was a member of the Revolutionary Party and I’m still a member of it. I was educated by it and I live this standard of life thanks to its leadership. I didn’t abandon my party, but I still support democracy.

Sarantsetseg -

Were the people reluctant to send their children to school around the 1940s? Did they prefer to leave the children at home to get their assistance in tending the cattle?

Hadhüü -

I don’t know the situation of my elementary school time. But when I was a teacher we used to visit the brigades to take the children to school. Some wouldn’t give their children and we had favor and disfavor with them you know. Some of them gave them willingly. And we had children’s planning that’s why we strived to fulfill the children’s planning and we brought them to school. Those who disliked the school escaped home and I suppose it was the teacher’s duty and his responsibility to make children study well.

Sarantsetseg -

Do you know about the faculty or the temporary school? Perhaps, it was before you, but have you heard anything about it?

Hadhüü -

My father used to study at the faculty. There’s a book entitled “The Cradle of the Bayanbogd Blessing” where my father’s name was mentioned. He used to study at that faculty. After he finished the faculty he obtained what you do you call it, you know. As for the script circles, we used to teach the script during our summer vacations, you know, after I had become a teacher. We went along the river banks and we sat there and taught the script. We taught them four methods of math and reading and writing. Then we helped them finish the circle and handed out certificates. Then we came to the party and gave a report, you know. That’s what we did. That was after I had become a teacher. I don’t remember the elementary school time. I went to the seventh grade right after finishing the fourth grade.

Sarantsetseg -

I’ve heard children who finished the fourth grade taught new script to the milk division people in summer time?

Hadhüü -

I think that’s about our going to the brigades. That’s how they taught. That’s how we we all became literate. In such a way the nation became literate. Then later we had the cultural campaign. At the beginning of the cultural campaign the Mongolian people had already become literate, I think. But we lagged behind in the cultural issues. Yes, we lagged behind. It was a great event the cultural campaign, you know. The families were shaken by the hygiene issue, in fact.

Sarantsetseg -

The cultural campaign commission people used to visit the families and the administrative organizations during the cultural campaign. What did they inspect and what were their requirements?

Hadhüü -

They inspected the general condition of the families. For instance they inspected my place and they inquired how many tea towels we had, whether we had bed sheets or not, whether we used blankets and mats. They checked if we had separate towels, how we washed the tableware and so on. I think they inspected everything. I lived in the 9th group horoo and I was given a certificate of a cultural family of Altai city, you know. I suppose, we were decent. They inspected everything, you know, the toilet and the cesspit, actually everything.

Sarantsetseg -

It is said those who fell behind on literacy were taught in groups. Was that due to the cultural campaign? What was that training in the groups due to? It is said they were taught in a groups irrespective of age.

Hadhüü -

Oh, well, it was said the riverside people got familiar with the script, you know. They didn’t say, they ‘learnt’, no, they said ‘got familiar with the script’. A certificate stating this was handed out to them. Maybe later they organized such group trainings, I don’t remember.

Sarantsetseg -

What was the sector that had the greatest changes during the cultural campaign - health sector or education?

Hadhüü -

Well, I suppose both education and health sectors. Yes, these are the main two. Both education and health sectors had appealed to the others. That’s what I think.

Sarantsetseg -

Books fellowship, becoming a good friend of a book, for each family to have a library, to read many books and write their summary – were they during the cultural campaign?

Hadhüü -

Yes, it was during the cultural campaign. Actually the revolutionary party demanded that each family had books. That was what they demanded. Each family was required to have a library and to have this many books of those authors and so on. We also had book lists. I’ve been rummaging in my things and found them. Yes.

Sarantsetseg -

How widely was the press subscription organized?

Hadhüü -

The press subscription was organized well in the socialist time, you know. We found information from the press. We had no television to watch. At that time we had the Soviet Union, the Party Great Ih Hural and the Party Conference of the nation. Then there were the Soviet Communist Party Congress. We used to read each of it and make notes, you know. Who else will make the notes if not the intelligentsia? We had bunches of notebooks and notes, you know. It was interesting to look again at them when I found them.

Sarantsetseg -

How could you manage to do so many things alongside your work?

Hadhüü -

We just did it, you know. We didn’t have electricity then. We did everything in candlelight. At the beginning we even only had oil lamps, you know. Yes. During the cultural campaign people were just active. For instance, today they talk about parties. At the times when I was a teacher or before that we organized dancing parties. We circled around dancing with candles, you know. In such a way we entertained ourselves with an accordion. In the later days we had brass music. We didn’t have any electric music, you know.

Sarantsetseg -

But that was in the sum, right?

Hadhüü -

Yes, in the sum. We had the red corner.

Sarantsetseg -

How many times a month did you have it?

Hadhüü -

Well, it was perhaps kind of organizing a social event, I think. The first yolka (New Year’s tree, from the Russian practice) was really interesting. It was the first time when I had become a teacher. I had never known yolka since my childhood. The yolka appeared quite a bit later. I remember the first yolka was very interesting. We couldn’t fit in the school red corner, and it was interesting as I remember.

Sarantsetseg -

Did people like it?

Hadhüü -

Certainly, they did as it was such a nice event. It was really a nice thing for that time, you know. Yes.

Sarantsetseg -

Children wearing animal masks is originated from the yolka, right?

Hadhüü -

Yes, I think so. I think it was originated from yolka. But I don’t think everyone had the masks.

Sarantsetseg -

You didn’t have fir tree decorations, did you? I suppose you hand made them?

Hadhüü -

There was no color paper and we used to cut white paper making various things like chains and we glued it together. Then we looped it on the tree and instead of a tree we had bushes, you know. There were no trees in the Gobi. Yes. So we used bushes, you know.

Sarantsetseg -

How did the cultural campaign influence your life? I suppose there was a requirement in the country to carry out the cultural campaign at that certain time? How did it influence the people?

Hadhüü -

Certainly it had great impact. People who used to sleep covered with the deel throwing down a mat now had blankets, they had now bed sheets. In the olden times the fur deels encouraged various creatures and it was tough, you know. Such things continued even after I had become a teacher, you know. Those creatures disappeared with the development of the country when people got rid of their dirt. I saw those creatures with my own eyes. We used to clean children’s things, the dormitory children’s things. I suppose it’s the result of the cultural campaign. That’s what made people bustle and make noise during the totalitarian regime. Thanks to this management the families became cultured and acquired bed sheets and towels and toothpaste and toothbrushes. They began to wash their tableware and at least they pressed the families to have shelves for the tableware. There was a lot of fuss, as I remember.

Sarantsetseg -

When urged to do something and in cases where some people didn’t meet the demands at all, what measure were taken against them?

Hadhüü -

Well, who knows? I suppose they met the requirements.

Sarantsetseg -

In fact, the people went for it, right?

Hadhüü -

Yes, people tried really hard, you know, to do the work organized by the party and the state. It’s not like today when people do not keep track of time. In our time we used to be sharp on time. That’s why, perhaps, it was all done by applying pressure. And later it became habitual. At the present time things have become really different. There’s nothing to say about the cultural campaign thing.

Sarantsetseg -

Is there anyone among your relatives who was repressed?

Hadhüü -

Well, there was somebody on my grandfather’s side, I don’t know. Was he my grandfather’s brother? He was repressed. We didn’t look into the matter of his rehabilitation. His name was Gotov. There used to be a man named Rentsendorj at the aimag administration. I came to see him and anyway I found out that his name was included in the white book of rehabilitation. And maybe I wasn’t greedy, who knows? I didn’t chase after this matter and also I was old enough. One of my daughters tried to look into the matter but then quit it because nothing would work out. Yes, we had my father’s brother who was repressed.

Sarantsetseg -

What did you hear about him? Was he a single man?

Hadhüü -

I was a kid then. I don’t remember how old I was. He was an armless man. Our family used to call him Avjaa. He used to live with my parents. Then one evening when it was becoming dark all of a sudden the sheep and the other livestock outside made a racket and he was arrested and taken away, as I remember. Thus he was taken away. I was a child then so I didn’t know what was happening. Now I think Avjaa was arrested and taken away. I don’t remember well what kind of people they were and what kind of clothes they were in.

Sarantsetseg -

Your family didn’t have close relations with Avjaa, did it?

Hadhüü -

Avjaa hadn’t yet been married. He was single and he was a well educated man. He had been hiding among his relatives and was captured from my father’s.

Sarantsetseg -

He was a lama?

Hadhüü -

Yes, he was a lama. He was a religious healer and he made medicine.

Sarantsetseg -

That meant he had been living in the lamasery?

Hadhüü -

Perhaps, I really don’t know about it.

Sarantsetseg -

Did your parents talk about him?

Hadhüü -

I never asked my parents. My parents never talked about him. In fact, my father never talked much, though my father’s brother was a great man who talked a lot. I wasn’t interested in lama things for I was a Party member. So he just left. That’s why I wasn’t interested. I wasn’t aware of any mantras and prayers. My husband doesn’t know anything either. Well, that’s how we lived then. Anyway I slightly remember that he was repressed among my relatives.

Sarantsetseg -

Since you were a child then you might not know, but maybe you have heard from someone. The relatives of those who were arrested, did they have any information about them? Did the state somehow inform the people about those who were arrested or did they have any explanation about the arrest? Have you heard such reminiscence?

Hadhüü -

No, I’ve never heard such a thing. I don’t know anything about it.

Sarantsetseg -

Do you know anything about the court session of the repressed?

Hadhüü -

Lately I tried with my daughter to get the rehabilitation one million tögrögs to spend for the prayers and for the good deeds of Avjaa, for we were not going to grow rich with that money, but then we just quit it. Then we checked if he was rehabilitated and he was.

Sarantsetseg -

In fact, that repression was carried out in secret and people weren’t aware of it, not to mention being informed by the press about it.

Hadhüü -

I think it was like that. Yes, it was that way.

Sarantsetseg -

The fact that someone was arrested from the family and taken away was concealed and it wasn’t talked about much, right?

Hadhüü -

Maybe it was that way. I really don’t know.

Sarantsetseg -

How did religion change? For some time it was prohibited, right?

Hadhüü -

During the totalitarian period religion was strictly prohibited, you know. If something happened, there were few lamas who knew some sutras secretly. People visited them in secret to inquire, you know. We moved to the aimag in 1977 and since 1977 those secret people were revealed. Our sum people were revealed only after 1977. Those who didn’t know any sutras before became lamas with sutras. So it was kept in deep secret. And my father’s uncle used to live in a lamasery. He knew sutras and he read them. He used to help people foretelling their hardships and favorable times. He thus helped people after everything was revealed. He died in 1987.

Sarantsetseg -

Was there a monastery in your sum?

Hadhüü -

Yes, there was. It was the Prince (Van) Baatar lamasery.

Sarantsetseg -

Were there many lamas in the Prince Baatar lamasery?

Hadhüü -

Yes, I think there were many lamas.

Sarantsetseg -

Are the remains of it there?

Hadhüü -

The remains are there. That Prince Baatar and Bazarvaani and the ex-minister of the Internal Ministry, you know. I have the book. I don’t know in detail. They tried to hide when being arrested. They hid in the bushes and in the winter camping of the ‘ails’. Thus they were captured, poor things. And he was what do you call it in Zavhan. He didn’t have his own natural children. He had two adopted children. One of them is the wife of my uncle. And the other one was the one who went after his father and disappeared. It seems everything was in great secrecy. There was one monastery in Shavriin Gol. There were two monasteries. The remains of the Prince Baatar lamasery are there.

Sarantsetseg -

People concealed and kept their sutras and the sacrifices in the chest no matter what was said about faith.

Hadhüü -

Yes, my father also had them. He had the sutras.

Sarantsetseg -

But they weren’t allowed to put them out in the open so they hid them away. Some even hid them in the mountains and rocks, it is said. If you put them out, would you get in trouble?

Hadhüü -

Yes. I think so. We’d get in trouble that we had faith in religion. Now the Prince Baatar statue has been built in Bayan-Uul sum, you know. It is a really beautiful statue. The people of Bayan-Uul sum are overjoyed. It’s a wonderful thing to build a statue of the one who’d been a great state minister.

Sarantsetseg -

What do you think about how religion influenced the state?

Hadhüü -

Well, I think they said that it would deceive the people. People would be attached to religion and they’d be deceived. They prohibited it because they thought people would oppose the party policy. But it was concealed therefore, secretly it had been going, I think. In fact, during the socialist time the party policy was consistent, you know. Because it was consistent, the people were educated by the party. Regretfully there were many religious healers and great religious people who were slaughtered, you know. They were imprisoned and killed. It is said that the party did this at a certain period of time with the push from the Soviet what do you call it. Otherwise the Revolutionary Party that’s working now has no connection with it, you know. And though this party is not guilty people still say that it was the revolutionary party’s doing. I think, it just followed the times. That’s what I think.

Sarantsetseg -

Do you have any belief?

Hadhüü -

No, I don’t. I have nothing since I was a party member. And at the present time, well, since everything is free I go to Gandan to burn fortune incense. Certainly, I visit Gandan.

Sarantsetseg -

At that time there was lots of activity in the countryside about party policy and resolutions. It was a time when religion was prohibited, identifying it as similar to a drug, you know. But then there were a few lamas in the Gandan doing some activities there. Do you know anything about it?

Hadhüü -

Really? I don’t know much about it.

Sarantsetseg -

I see. During tsagaan sar people usually go to lamas to correct their yearly life ahead. They worship hills. Such customs were strictly prohibited, right?

Hadhüü -

I think so because we never had such things in the olden times. The yearly life correction and tsagaan sar were prohibited and we used to celebrate the New Year by the Lunar calendar alongside with the Russian ‘yolka’, you know, the Mongolians. Yes, we used to celebrate the New Year together with the ‘yolka’, and only recently we had begun to celebrate it widely. The Mongolian tsagaan sar was not taken into consideration at all. I think it was only after the rise of the collective movement that tsagaan sar was celebrated. The herders’ festival was celebrated with the ‘yolka’.

Sarantsetseg -

It is said Choibalsan died in the 1950s right when tsagaan sar was about to be celebrated?

Hadhüü -

I was here around the 1960s. Well, the Mongolian tsagaan sar began to be celebrated quite late, you know. Yes, I celebrated the New Year with the ‘yolka’ and went to my father to cook and helped them celebrate the tsagaan sar. The administrative organizations used to celebrate tsagaan sar together with the ‘yolka’, you know. I remember it was the 1960s. I think so.

Sarantsetseg -

OK. Let me ask you something else. The collective movement began in Mongolia in the 1950s. What were the regulations for joining the collective? It is said people had to collectivize their livestock to join it. How about those who didn’t have cattle? How did they join a collective? Do you know about it?

Hadhüü -

I think it was 1958 when the collective movement began. The bag meetings were organized voluntarily, and those who wished to join the collective joined it. I think they joined by ‘bags’. My dad didn’t attend the first meeting, he attended the second or the third meeting, I think. Then they collectivized the livestock. I assume, there was no one who didn’t have livestock in the olden times. They joined the collective by collectivizing their own livestock. Actually when the collective movement took over, the families were restricted to having not more than 75 head of livestock, you know. So they took the 75 head and the rest of the livestock were collectivized.

Sarantsetseg -

But those 75 heads were a total of the large and small livestock, right?

Hadhüü -

Yes, that’s right. They tended the collective livestock and the private livestock were secondary, you know. They were mixed and tended together with the collective livestock.

Sarantsetseg -

Your father, for instance, after joining the collective, did he have a daily wage? It is said, at the end of the year they had an annual report meeting and they gave incentives.

Hadhüü -

Oh, yes. My father had been a leading cowherd and he had been a delegate to the 20th anniversary of the aimag. He was a delegate as a leading cowherd. He used to take a daily wage, you know. The bag statistician used to come and distribute the money. I don’t know the amount but anyhow he used to get it.

Sarantsetseg -

Do you think the collective movement managed to enhance the living standard of the herders?

Hadhüü -

Well, I think it was enhanced in the socialist time. I think it was enhanced. Then the collective vanished and democracy developed. When one acquires private property, his attitude changes towards it. At the time of the collective membership each family didn’t have a vehicle and they didn’t have electricity, you know. I suppose it’s associated with the development of the nation and one’s interest in private property. Perhaps it is so.

Sarantsetseg -

The collective collectivized the people’s cattle. There seemed to be cases when some people weren’t willing to give their beloved livestock. We saw in the movies how they concealed them. Have you heard anything about that?

Hadhüü -

I don’t know if such things happened in our land. It is called to conceal the livestock, you know. I don’t think we had anyone around my place. I think people gave away their cattle according to the estimations. I know we can see in the movies how they hid their cows.

Sarantsetseg -

How was the collective information spread among the people at the beginning of the collective movement?

Hadhüü -

Well, I don’t know. There used to be ‘Ünen’, ‘Labour’ and the ‘Youth Truth’ newspapers. The aimag newspaper ‘Altai Development’ appeared much later. We found lecture agitation materials from there, you know. There were special journals, too. There used to be a magazine ‘Educator’ aimed at the teachers. Then there was ‘Tsog’ magazine. There was a brigade postman who brought the post to the people, carrying them hung from the saddle. Thus he delivered the post. In fact, people subscribed to the press by their own will. As for the intelligentsia, they were put under pressure and some of them subscribed by their own will and they educated themselves.

Sarantsetseg -

Before joining the collective, it is said, the people from sums and bags came to the countryside to make propaganda, right?

Hadhüü -

Yes, they made propaganda, you know.

Sarantsetseg -

Mostly what kind of people were involved there?

Hadhüü -

The sum union dargas and teachers and the authoritative people were involved in propaganda work. At the brigade the brigade darga was the major agitator, you know. Not actually brigade, but they called him a bag darga, you know. There used to be a bag party * agitator. He was a special party agitator. He was the one who distributed the major materials.

Sarantsetseg -

It is said, the collectives widened and they had auxiliary facilities and carpenter workshops later with hand manufacturing. They said there were many collectives that stood firmly on their own two feet. How about your collective?

Hadhüü -

Ours had strengthened, too. Ours was called ‘Lenin’s Path’. There was the auxiliary facility with a darga. They built buildings. They mostly constructed buildings. The sum centre buildings were built by the auxiliary facility, you know. Later the school and hospital buildings were built after announcing a tender.

Sarantsetseg -

I see. What was the people’s attitude towards work in the socialist period?

Hadhüü -

The attitude was really good. We were strictly on time. Especially, the party members were punished if they didn’t keep to time, you know, at least they would begin by reprimanding them, you know. In fact the attitude was good. There was no comprehension of withdrawal. For instance, I think it was the same in the collective and the private entity. For instance, we had to summon the cattle wool. There used to be a collective and we summoned it to the collective. We gave this many kg of cashmere, that many kg of goat hair, that many kg of the large cattle hair, this many kg of long hair, that many kg of short hair. We had to give them all in on time. If we failed to do so, we would be punished for not fulfilling the industrial assignment. I know there were cases of imprisonment as a punishment. But they still pulled us back from the sum work. It was certain.

Sarantsetseg -

It is said, the so called official regulations were terrifying.

Hadhüü -

That’s the official regulations I’m talking about.

Sarantsetseg -

But it was before the collectives, right?

Hadhüü -

Yes, before the collectives. It was the time of the private economy. After joining the collective we still had to give the collective livestock’s wool. It had planning and we had to fulfill the plan. For example, when rearing the lambs they estimated how many lambs you had reared beyond the planning. To become a hero you had to estimate how many twin lambs and how many lambs you had reared, thus evaluating your labor you became a hero, you know.

Sarantsetseg -

How many unemployed people were there in the socialist time? How was the availability of the work? How were people employed?

Hadhüü -

I don’t know of people being unemployed and wandering the streets like today. I spent my youth in the countryside. Everyone was busy actually. I really don’t know of anyone being unemployed and drinking alcohol. I don’t know of anyone sitting in the streets and drinking alcohol. They have become loose nowadays. It wasn’t like that before. Everyone had a job. I suppose the children were well educated then and they were stable.

Sarantsetseg -

How did the process of employment change? How do people now get employed? How did they get employed before?

Hadhüü -

At that period of time people who had graduated were appointed to work somewhere, you know. After the graduation they would come to the education department of the field they had major in. Then he would get the appointment and go where he was appointed. If he failed to go to the appointed place he would be punished, you know. That’s how it was. And those ordinary people who didn’t graduate, perhaps they wrote petition letters and somehow they were employed in one of those organizations he had been to. There were many odd jobs like stoker and so on. They had their jobs in the sum centre, you know. And the countryside people tended their cattle. And as of today, people can’t get employed even after graduation. There’s no contract work and somehow they wander around till they get something, you know.

Sarantsetseg -

You are one of the first intelligentsia of the sum. You went to the Teacher’s school after the seventh grade. After you were finished at the Teachers’ school, were you directly appointed to the sum?

Hadhüü -

Yes, I was directly appointed to the secondary school here. Directly. I worked here for a year and my father got sick, so I had to go to the sum. There I had worked for twenty years and then I came back to the aimag centre.

Sarantsetseg -

Your first start as a teacher. How did the school collective accept you? What was the collective like? What kind of a person was the director?

Hadhüü -

Well, when I first came as a teacher our school building had been built by engineer Horloo behind the second secondary school. He was a Buriad man. Our first school was in such a building. There was Director Yadamsüren when I came there by the appointment. His daughter was a Buriad woman, Batsüh. She was the school doctor. It was the year 1954. I was still single. My husband had been working in Darvi sum. The school set up a ger for the teachers and we used to live in a ger in front of the school yard. The teachers were very friendly among each other. The school director was then Gombo. He used to live with his mother. We lived in one neighborhood. So we worked and we were young. We frequently used to go to dance parties, and concerts and festivals together. There were five of us teachers at the beginning. We were called the ‘Five Black Rooks’ of the secondary school. The five of us wore the same deel lined with lamb skin and it had a square design. Our deels were made of a black material and we all went together wherever it was. We went to dancing parties together and we went to the concerts together. That was very interesting. I think our collective was very fair. We worked as an ‘Intelligentsia Fellowship’. The senior of the ‘Intelligentsia fellowship’ used to be Badarch, now he is gone. In such a way I worked for a year and then went away. Then I came back to my secondary school and retired after having worked well there.

Sarantsetseg -

What’s the meaning of the ‘Intelligentsia Fellowship’? Did the young teachers unite and get undertakings besides their work?

Hadhüü -

Yes, it was a group of teachers beyond the work activities. We took undertakings like this - many times we’d read lectures or we’d agitate this many people or we’d perform this concert and so on. We were responsible for such cultural activities.

Sarantsetseg -

What kinds of people were in authority in the socialist period?

Hadhüü -

Well, I think the dargas and the directors were people in authority. The lower people weren’t authoritative and they were educated under the totalitarian regime. Whatever assignments they were given, it was their responsibility to fulfill them. They realized it was their responsibility. They realized they had to do it, otherwise they had no authority and there were no various kinds of bribery or corruption.

Sarantsetseg -

Could the dargas be recognized from the outer appearances? Did they differ from the ordinary people by their clothing, behavior or their consumption? Could they be recognized from outside that he or she was a darga?

Hadhüü -

I think it was different. When I came here as a teacher they didn’t let in men in Mongolian deel, you know. They had to wear Russian clothes, so we wore Russian clothes. They criticized us that we wore a Mongolian deel, you know. So, you see, it was a bit different.

Sarantsetseg -

What was the relationship like between the top-level officer and the lower ones?

Hadhüü -

In fact, it was a fair relationship. It was an orderly relationship. They had an orderly attitude and they accepted them orderly. They fulfilled their assignments. That’s how it was. I had never been under those who disagreed with you and who didn’t fulfill their responsibilities. I always led others so I don’t know anything about being pushed and required to do things, you know.

Sarantsetseg -

Will you tell me about attending the training course? Did you attend it in the city?

Hadhüü -

In 1965 I went to the home economics teacher’s training.

Sarantsetseg -

Was it a requirement to go? Was the home economics teacher …

Hadhüü -

It was instructed by the upper-levels to send me. Then I came back from the training course to teach the children, you know, besides the elementary school teaching. I used to teach home economics in the middle classes. There was a seven year education when I worked then. The kids went to the 5, 6 and 7th grades after the fourth grade. I taught home economics in the 5, 6 and the 7th grades. The elementary classes were over with the fourth grade.

Sarantsetseg -

How many higher school appointments usually came there for the children who finished secondary school? How many went to the city vocational school? How many children had the possibility to enter the Institutes? How many children remained there with the cattle?

Hadhüü -

Whenever the school appointments were available you could go and study. For instance, I came by an appointment to the aimag centre’s fifth grade, you know. And when I was about to go to the city to the Teacher’s school, our ten-year secondary school building was being built. It was the first ten-year school and the foundation was laid then for the eighth grade after finishing the seventh grade. Actually I had to enter the eighth grade but I rejected it and I went to the vocational school.

Sarantsetseg -

I assume you studied well then?

Hadhüü -

I didn’t have excellent marks, but I had good marks.

Sarantsetseg -

So you went voluntarily after the seventh grade?

Hadhüü -

Yes, I was appointed to go there.

Sarantsetseg -

In fact, were there women’s policies conducted by the state in the socialist time?

Hadhüü -

Well, such things were rare. Women dargas were rare, you know. In fact, it was scarce. Some fair ones were promoted by the elections, otherwise they were scarce, you know. The women’s organizations’ heads were women. And the collective, party and cell dargas were only men. For example, when I was a cell darga, there wasn’t a single woman darga.

Sarantsetseg -

How has the position of women changed in your lifetime?

Hadhüü -

Well, by our party what do you call it, the intelligentsia of that specific period of time was fair enough to move the people and the way they behaved in the community was decent. They had decent clothes and they kept it in mind to be an example to others. During the dance festivals they always had some fresh ideas to entertain people, like new games and competitions. The intelligentsia only showed a good example, and we were the leaders, you know. Well, I forget things of that time, firstly. Secondly, the things of that time became taken for granted.

Sarantsetseg -

Was there a women’s council working at the school?

Hadhüü -

No, there wasn’t. There was only one women’s council within the sum.

Sarantsetseg -

What was the main activity of the women’s council?

Hadhüü -

We enlightened the women, you know. Yes. We enlightened them in the field of children’s education, how to make clothes for their children and so on, you know. We didn’t have tailoring. We just instructed them orally how to educate themselves, how to read and educate their children and make them decent clothes as we didn’t have any visible education materials, you know. There was no specialist either to teach, you know. We had no specialist.

Sarantsetseg -

When you worked as a specialist were there foreign specialists working?

Hadhüü -

No, there weren’t.

Sarantsetseg -

Were there visiting foreigners in Mongolia? Were there foreign citizens living in Mongolia?

Hadhüü -

No, there weren’t. Only once when I was working at the school we had the Hungarian Ambassador and we welcomed him with flags in our hands. I have that picture. Sometimes when we had such top official guests, we organized a superb welcome with a parade and flags in our hands. And pictures were taken right on the spot. At best they took pictures but sometimes we didn’t even have that, you know. But after I came to this ten-year secondary school Soviet specialists used to work there since the 1970s. They just taught their classes and we had nothing to do with them. Sometimes we had Russian specialists.

Sarantsetseg -

Were you fond of your own major? Did you like your work?

Hadhüü -

Certainly, I did. Because I liked my work I requested leave from the party work. If I kept on doing it I wouldn’t have ceased it. There was the party committee darga whose name was Hürlee. His eldest daughter’s name was Alimaa. She was my student when I first came there as a teacher. Yes. I had become a darga all of a sudden by the party elections, you know. So it was odd. I had to do the party work and my child was in infancy and plus I was responsible for the sum work. I didn’t like it but I still did it as it was my duty. I had no right to say ‘I can’t and leave it for I was a party member. I begged, “I want to teach. Just let me out of here”. He hesitated a bit and I cried then. Then he said, “Well, Hadhüü bagsh, just wait a bit. Let me think about it.” Then in just two months he resolved my problem and let me become a teacher again, you know. I’m always thankful to Hürlee. When I was a course teacher we used to have parents’ meetings. Hürlee used to come on his own and his wife never came. There was a man named Dash. I suppose he knew a lot about my work experience and he knew I liked my teacher’s job. And perhaps, the poor thing thought I wouldn’t do the party work and so he let me go. I hadn’t made any mistakes or wrongdoings while I was a party darga. I just did what I had to do but the only thing was that I liked my job as a teacher.

Sarantsetseg -

Were there times when you felt discouraged?

Hadhüü -

Well, actually I had nothing to feel discouraged about. In fact, there was nothing discouraging and I always coped with everything.

Sarantsetseg -

Will you tell us about the two years of your party work?

Hadhüü -

Well, I did the party work. I was always on time. The deputy of the party cell was responsible for the public cultural activities, you know. We used to have a ‘red corner’ at that time. I was responsible for all the work organized there and I used to give assignments to the administrative dargas, “You organize that activity and you do this”. I gave them assignments. I combined the party cell deputy work with the people’s auditing. It was the collective period. The Auditing Committee used to audit activities and there were members of the Auditing Committee. Those members went to the brigades to do the auditing. All the wool and cashmere work, the slaughtering of the livestock. It was all imposed on the private enterprisers and the collectives. We gave them meat and livestock, you know, the collective cows and sheep and goats. I was in charge of that because I was the auditing darga. That was a little bit tough. For four or five days we distributed meat and we stayed there outside in the dust weighing the cows. But I still coped with it somehow. That was the party work and it was assigned to me. Then I had to write the report and I had to work out some details. In case the original darga was absent, a delegate from the aimag and the sum would be present. It wasn’t lax like today and we had a lot of auditing. It was really difficult to get that auditing done, you know. But I strived not to fail the sum work and perhaps it worked out.

Sarantsetseg -

It is said the party members had one year probationary period?

Hadhüü -

It was two years, two years of probation.

Sarantsetseg -

Within this period that person shouldn’t be involved in any bad deeds?

Hadhüü -

No, he shouldn’t be involved in bad deeds otherwise he can’t be a party member. He had two years to become a deputy member. Later the probation period was shortened to one year. And within this probation period, especially in the countryside he would be asked persistently about the political issues and the sum governing issues. If he was unable to answer them he wouldn’t be taken even as a deputy member. I joined the party in two years. If I failed to pass the probation period I would have been expelled. If you passed, then you joined the party. That’s how it was.

Sarantsetseg -

Did you pay a party membership toll?

Hadhüü -

We paid a tax from the salary. We paid a tax monthly. We took assignments every month. And thanks to having worked righteously and honestly for the revolutionary party in the autumn of 2007 the party had celebrated our fame. At the 80th anniversary of the Bayan-Uul school my fame of educating the people’s children for many years was celebrated. They considered my work merited deeds and thus they celebrated it. Thus the party celebrated and I felt awkward to celebrate again at the school, but they insisted and this August the school celebrated my fame. This was an unforgettable wonderful event in my life. I wasn’t discouraged during my life but I had many happy events.

Sarantsetseg -

The party work was very busy and responsible, right?

Hadhüü -

Yes, it was responsible and busy work.

Sarantsetseg -

Were there any exemptions for the party workers?

Hadhüü -

No, not at all.

Sarantsetseg -

Were there any advantages for the party worker compared to the ordinary people?

Hadhüü -

No, there weren’t. The party member had to mobilize all his strength to educate himself. And well, perhaps the intelligentsia had been promoted. At that time few intelligentsia joined the party. Primarily the herders and the workers were encouraged to join the party in the socialist time, you know.

Sarantsetseg -

Really? I thought they encouraged the intelligentsia to join the party.

Hadhüü -

No, they almost didn’t encourage them. Only one or two would be allowed to join. The workers and the herders were made to join. There were the cases of the intelligentsia deviation, you know. Perhaps, they were cautious not to let many intelligentsias to join the party lest there might be various confusions. It was the Party Central Committee’s policy, you know. Yes.

Sarantsetseg -

Did you ever get elected to the Party Congress?

Hadhüü -

No, I didn’t. I didn’t participate in any of the party congresses, though I was a member of the aimag party conference and member of the plenum.

Sarantsetseg -

When were they assembled?

Hadhüü -

The plenum members assembled once every two years, I think. I don’t remember for how many years I had been a plenum member.

Sarantsetseg -

You are now still a member of the party, aren’t you?

Hadhüü -

Yes, I am. I give 1200 tögrögs a month. I give 1200 tögrögs of donation annually. At that time we used to carry our party certificates under the armpit. We weren’t supposed to lose them. At the time I was a party member, you know. We always kept the party certificate in the bosom. I still have the torn certificate case. I reached this level thanks to the party and thus I respect the party, you know. That’s it.

Sarantsetseg -

It is said that the Mongolian Revolutionary Youth League is the young substitute of the party. So, did you join the party directly from the union?

Hadhüü -

When you joined the party from being a League member, the League cell used to certify you. The League member was certified by two people. In case the certified person got in trouble, the warrantor bore responsibility, too. He had to bring him up in the right way. He bore responsibility for educating him for the party. Within the probationary period the warrantor had to work with the person in order to get him join the party. I had been a warrantor for six people. I remember them joining the party.

Sarantsetseg -

It was very prudent. What was the difference between being the aimag centre teacher or the sum school teacher?

Hadhüü -

The aimag centre school was easier to work in, actually.

Sarantsetseg -

In what way was it easy?

Hadhüü -

In fact, we weren’t included in every activity of the sum, you know. And at the aimag centre school we took part in the public activities and did our own job. We were very punctual in the socialist time. Our school director’s name was Gomboo. He was very punctual.

Sarantsetseg -

Your school was known as the first secondary school named after B. Gombo?

Hadhüü -

Yes.

Sarantsetseg -

He was the director of the school?

Hadhüü -

Yes. This statue was established the year before last. Our school is going to celebrate its 70th anniversary, you know.

Sarantsetseg -

OK, the teachers taught the scheduled classes. What were the activities that you were active in besides the school?

Hadhüü -

You mean in my time? In my time the party member had to attend the party meeting once a week. Then at the end of the year we had to take an exam and we had to get the exam mark in the special notebook. We got party assignments. The assignments were to be checked. Every month we got new assignments. I still have those notebooks, you know. That’s concerning the public activities. All the teachers had to be present at the lectures. We had to be registered at the lectures.

Sarantsetseg -

What was the major subject of the lectures?

Hadhüü -

Well, various things from different resources were read at the lectures. They didn’t work out the lectures themselves. The lectures had already been processed and we listened to them, you know. There was a big lecture in the morning. We had to attend it for thirty minutes once every week. The party circle was also once a week. Then we had separately the union circle and the trade union circle. There isn’t anything like this nowadays. There are no circles, you know. Only once in a while the teachers of the aimag schools seem to gather together for a meeting. Generally today everything is lax, you know.

Sarantsetseg -

In the socialist regime you had the social beneficial labor like subbotnik. I remember my parents going out at the weekends for subbotnik. Perhaps, the same thing happened here?

Hadhüü -

It was called the communist subbotnik named after Lenin. We used to do subbotnik every 22nd of April, you know. The subbotniks were also organized on other days. We planted trees and the children’s park … The people of the aimag centre all built it.

Sarantsetseg -

The school children went to the state farms to take part in harvesting in the autumn. They assisted in the haymaking, and in the springtime they were called upon to help the herders with the young animals.

Hadhüü -

In the olden times we used to have a public education fund. Every class had to contribute to that public education fund. In order to fulfill it the class teachers took their children to collect cattle dung and to collect grass and they sent them to the public education fund. And the secondary school children went to assist in sloughing the collective horses, combing goats, shearing camel’s wool. Here at the aimag centre we went to harvest the vegetables and haymaking, you know. Sometimes we went to build fences. I’m not sure if there was such a thing when I worked there. That’s it.

Sarantsetseg -

When you were a teacher the children who finished the eighth and the tenth grades went to the countryside as an assignment. Did they work at any industrial sites?

Hadhüü -

Not in my time. Two classes went as the people sent on an assignment from Bayan-Uul and tended the cattle, you know. They tended it for four years. They really reared the lambs and young goats. But they didn’t go haymaking like the students do in the autumn. They went in the form of subbotniks and these aimag centre schools, too.

Sarantsetseg -

I’m going to ask you about the industrialization that took place in Mongolia. How did the industrialization process go? How did an individual become an industrial worker? Mostly what kind of people worked there?

Hadhüü -

Well, there was no industry in the countryside. I don’t know how people got employed at the factories in the centre. Perhaps some specialists came there to work. I don’t know about it at all. We had no industrialization in the countryside. We had only auxiliary industry to build small buildings. I’m not aware of it.

Sarantsetseg -

When you were a child what were the nature, water and soil like? How has the environment changed nowadays?

Hadhüü -

Well, when I was a child and when I was young nature was really healthy and it was the way it was originated, you know. Today it’s getting warm globally and the ozone depletion, in fact things have changed. Water has diminished and the winter and the summer are in discord. There is drought and there’s disaster. The green grew well before in Bayan-Uul. Wild leek grew so much and it entangled the feet so that we couldn’t walk, you know. But now it has ceased to grow. It is associated with the weather changes, you know. For the sake of the nation’s development now they plunder the land. Surely, we have to use what we have but there has to be a policy. We have to remedy it to recover the environment and we can’t just plunder it and leave it that way, you know. I watch on the TV the southern Gobi aimags how they ship the sand and the soil and the gravel. I feel sorry for it. If they don’t cease it, we don’t know what will happen to our wonderful Mongolian land. Who knows? I hope they control it. That’s what I think.

Sarantsetseg -

Are there places in your land of which the names have been changed?

Hadhüü -

I don’t know.

Sarantsetseg -

Is there a place in your land where they extract gold?

Hadhüü -

Well, in the olden times we had a lamasery to the south from the Shavriin Gol. They used to extract gold there. But this year I think they stopped it. I don’t always remain here for sometimes I go to the city. I heard they are extracting gold in Chandmani. In Tseel they said they have built what do you call it. There’s Nogoon Tolgoi not far from here in the aimag. It is said, they dug gold there. In this way the environment will be in trouble, I think. They should do this especially close to the central place. That’s what I think. But perhaps they can’t do without it.

Sarantsetseg -

You live here in Gobi-Altai and sometimes you go to the city to your children, right?

Hadhüü -

Right.

Sarantsetseg -

Do you remember the first time you visited the city? What year it was?

Hadhüü -

Do you mean when I went for a long time? I went in the year 2000.

Sarantsetseg -

The first time you were there?

Hadhüü -

I went there in 1954 when I went to study in the Teacher’s school, you know.

Sarantsetseg -

What was the city like when you first visited it? What were it’s good and bad points?

Hadhüü -

There were few buildings. For instance, there was ‘Öndör Horshoo’, you know. It was a department store. Then it was called Öndör Horshoo, though it wasn’t a tall building, right? The city was had few people, it wasn’t overcrowded. What age was I then? I think I was ten or something years old, a child. I remember I came to the city by ‘51’ truck. We spent about ten days traveling. I had Mongol gutal and a cotton lined deel. When I think of that time our city had become beautiful. It seems there’ll be no spare place in the city, you know. It’s just overcrowded now. I hope it will spread out. I hope there’s a state policy on it. Well, the nation has developed. It has become wonderful. It’s much different from the first time I was here. It’s like chalk and cheese.

Sarantsetseg -

Were there buses in 1954?

Hadhüü -

No, there were no buses. I used to go by the horse relay station when I came to the aimag centre’s seven-year school from Bayan-Uul after finishing the fourth grade, you know. It took me two days to come here by horse. My poor father perhaps was busy then. He entrusted me to a big city student and sent me here. I came on the horses.

Sarantsetseg -

The horse relay station is when you come to one sum and another person takes you further, right?

Hadhüü -

When I think of it now, Bagshiin, no, it was called the Uyert station and the Tsagaantolgoit station. The station attendant used to go with requisitioned horses in order to bring them back. I don’t know if it was a ger or what it was. And it was imposed to the private entrepreneur to bring this many horses. And the station attendant changed the horses at the Uyert station and brought them here to the Tsagaantolgoi. There were station attendants at every station. We didn’t have vehicles like today, you know. As I remember now, I went by car to the Teacher’s school. The truck wouldn’t go up the hill and it nearly stopped. That’s how it was. I suppose now we don’t even have a left-over remnant of that truck.

Sarantsetseg -

Was there anything in your life that you looked at it for the first time and wondered, ‘What an amazing thing! Could there be such a thing?’ Maybe it was a radio or TV, or it might have been a train or a new technology?

Hadhüü -

Well, maybe I wasn’t interested in anything. I don’t know of such a thing. You can scarcely say nowadays, what a wonderful thing!’ I think there wasn’t anything that I was overjoyed about. I’m not sure.

Sarantsetseg -

How good were the radios sets in the countryside?

Hadhüü -

There used to be a big ‘52’, you know. It was very big and later they became smaller. Now the countryside people ignore them for they have TV sets, you know. Every family has a TV set and they have electricity. They have two vehicles outside. As a minimum they have a motorcycle, you know. That’s how it was changed. The life of the present day people has become wonderful. Naturally, I think of the olden times to compare it with the present day. Yes.

Sarantsetseg -

In 1990 the democratic revolution won after which we had privatization. We had pink and blue coupons of the big and small privatization. How did you first hear about privatization? How was privatization carried out at your working sector? What have you acquired from privatization?

Hadhüü -

My young brothers and sisters told me the property was to be privatized and the collective members were going to divide the property. I found out even the storage goods were divided among the countryside families and the livestock were divided. I was here during privatization. I didn’t get anything from privatization. But later I got the pink and blue coupons and I gave them to a bank officer and got nothing out of it. I lost them. That person died and I never got any benefit out of it.

Sarantsetseg -

The flats were given to their owners. Was your flat privatized?

Hadhüü -

My son later bought this flat when the prices were up. I have acquired nothing from privatization. Though it’s true my parents incorporated their property.

Sarantsetseg -

Those who collectivized their livestock, it is said, they acquired something in the sum. Didn’t you get anything?

Hadhüü -

No.

Sarantsetseg -

Some people acquired big industrial sites. How did they acquire them?

Hadhüü -

Well, I don’t know. In the market places in the city I observed every place has its owner now. They built buildings and it became strange. I don’t know, perhaps in some way they manage it. It’s the time for those who can do something. It seems those who can’t do anything stay empty-handed. Our country gave their properties to foreign people to own, especially to the Chinese. When you walk around you can see it. There’s no way. It would be different if we owned and built ourselves.

Sarantsetseg -

Has privatization influenced men and woment differently?

Hadhüü -

Well, I don’t know.

Sarantsetseg -

Well, thank you for giving an interesting interview. Have good health and live a long life. Accomplish what you intend to do. Let’s finish our interview. Do you have a question you wished I had asked you?

Hadhüü -

Well, what could it be? I just wish, a retired old woman, that my Mongolia develops and stays a wonderful country. I wish there’ll be no backward things and I wish peace and wellbeing to my nation, you know. Well, and I wish wellbeing to all the people of the world. And I wish you success in your work.

Sarantsetseg -

Thank you.

Hadhüü -

I wish you more success. I’m not sure if I have talked about useful things or not. I think I’ve talked a lot of nonsense mentioning the facts out of place.

Sarantsetseg -

Thank you. Wishing you well.

Back to top

Interviews, transcriptions and translations provided by The Oral History of Twentieth Century Mongolia, University of Cambridge. Please acknowledge the source of materials in any publications or presentations that use them.