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VOLUNTER OF REVSOMOL DISPATCH

VOLUNTER OF REVSOMOL DISPATCH

Mongolia is a country where the heritage of nomadic culture is preserved. In particular, shepherds in rural areas who graze five species of herd in four seasons are the creators of MONGOLIAN BRAND, carriers of cultural heritage. Therefore, our magazine in the corner “At the herder’s camp” of each issue tells about the livestock and glorifies this heritage. In this issue, we present to you an article about the herdswoman of Khatgal soum of Khuvsgul Province.

IN THE VILLAGE KHATGAL IN THE ICE COLD

Khatgal village, the first stone of which was laid in 1961, is the oldest and largest settlement of the Khuvsgul Province. In 1910, Khuvsgul Lake began to be used as a cheap trade route, and a wooden steamer with a capacity of 40 tons began to tour the lake, which laid the foundation for water transport. Since 1922, the first branch of the Mongolian Center for Mutual Assistance and the trade sector of the “Earth Agency” at the Center of the Mongolian National Central Cooperative was established. In 1930, the first petrol station was built, which became the basis for the oil supply base. In 1931, the 51st General Committee of the First Commercial State Trade Cooperative, in 1933 - the Wholesale Trade Base, the Wool Factory, and in 1934 - the State Trading Network were established here. Unfortunately, the Council of Ministers decided to protect Lake Khuvsgul and, in accordance with Resolution No. 187 of 1988, the Wool Washing Plant, the tank farm and the 24th motor transport base, the Wood Processing Workshop and many other plants and enterprises were liquidated, which increased the outflow of the population. In 1994, according to the Decree of the Great State Khural No. 36, the status of Khatgal was changed to a “village” and transferred to the management of the soum Alag-Erdene.

The Honor Roll, which I mentioned at the beginning of the article, was placed in honor of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Luvsan-Yondon D., who was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor, the Medal of Honor and the Order of the Polar Star. For many years he worked responsibly in the agency and the oil supply base, became the “Hero of the sea transportation”, the Hero of the Mongolian Shepherd, the Hero for haymaking. We will talk about his descendants, how they live in this area.

For many years, the village of Khatgal was a commercial and industrial region of Mongolia. Therefore, in this village a more established cultural sample than animal husbandry. And now this region is leading at the national level in tourism development.

On February 7, 2019, I arrived in the village of Khatgal from Chandman-Undur soum in the afternoon. The steamboat Sukh-Bator standing proudly on a winter stand in the middle of the icy blue lake, looks unusually at the sun.

We pre-established an e-mail contact with representatives of the village of Khatgal, the Chairman of the Civil Assembly of the Alag-Erdene soum Davaadamdin, and received information about the area. After sunset, together with the elderly of the village of Khatgal Sandagdorj Kh. and Suren L. I went to visit the eldest son and had a conversation. I had come to spend the night in the winter cold near in the cattle farmer of the Khatgal village and check my courage. I asked them that I will visit them the next day and photograph their camp. So we started our conversation.

Glory, awarded in his youth in a socialist society, and today is stored and transmitted to descendants. The middle daughter Luvsan-Yondon name is Suren. She is 65 years old. Her husband in his youth worked in a military organization. They have five children. Today, Suren’s family lives on the right bank of Lake Khuvsgul, in the “Jankhai” area, continuing the tradition of cattle breeding, which inherited from the father. The sons of Sandagdorj Kh. are good wrestlers. “The talent of the wrestler is passed on the maternal line. My father-in-law was a healthy and big man”, says the owner of the family. They got married in 1981. Two of their children inherited the work of their grandfather and parents, and became herders.

Suren L., daughter of Luvsan-Yondon D., was born in 1954 on the shore of Lake Khuvsgul in the area “Toylogt”. Since childhood, she and her parents engaged in cattle breeding. And in 1971, she became the first who received revsomol dispatch. She said: “I received 250 two-year-old beef cows and successfully fulfilled my responsibility. All the cattle survived the winter. I herded 250-360 cows two years in a row”. Suren L., who has been involved in cattle breeding for 50 years, has never forgotten his father’s advice on grazing cattle. Her father in the socialist time successfully fulfilled the duty to feed the flock and exceeded the norm, for which he was awarded many awards.

Khatgal village is surrounded on one side by high mountains, taiga, and on the other by the waters of Lake Khuvsgul. This area is mainly a yak pasture. I was told that they do not keep yaks in the lowlands, and graze them high in the mountains for the winter. “Taking up livestock in the taiga requires a lot of patience. Yaks mostly survive the winter in the highlands, in the snow. We herd the yaks in the mountainous regions of Khundlun, Khyasaa, Bunkhant, Burgast, Ardag, Jankhai, Buren. In winter we feed mainly in Khyasaa and Ongolog mountains and rocks. From my childhood I understood well that a woman should be patient and courageous on an equal basis with men. This patience will help to overcome various climatic, natural barriers. Therefore, in my youth I didn’t know and did not feel tired. I was aiming to achieve my task,” says Suren L. When I asked what purpose she had, she replied: “The virtue of my parents, my patience, the Mongolian Revolutionary Youth Union taught me how to work. They all encouraged youth. Probably, for some this speech will be incomprehensible. There was such an organization - the “Central Committee of the Union”. This organization encouraged human labor. In my youth I was engaged in cattle breeding, I worked without rest. For these work, I was awarded the Union’s Gold Medal, I became the shepherd hero of my province, I received many accolades and a diploma. Also the fact that I was the first owner of the Revsomol dispatch is another my features. When a person is young, he is capable of anything, he transfers any load. With the public organization system, last time I grazed 360 cows and successfully transferred them back. My father was a very brave, diligent and hardworking person. And I think that thanks to him, I have these qualities. In 1973-1976, my father was unwell, and he spent three years in bed. Then he experienced a real difficulty. Because when he was healthy, he worked without rest. He said that it is impossible to leave the state flock in the taiga.  He worked so that no livestock died. His name was “The hero, with whom no one livestock dies”, - says Mrs. Suren L. with tears in her eyes.

Since we started talking about parents of Suren L., I clarified about her father’s experience in grazing. She says: “My father was named “The Shepherd Hero” in 1975. Before that, my father was engaged in shipping in the same region. He became a sea transportation champion six times. Six times, too, became the champion for haymaking. He was a rare hardworking, unusually brave man. We, his children, inherited by a few of his these qualities. Now I live on the shore of Lake Mother Khuvsgul, became the Shepherd Hero of Mongolia. I am grateful to the fate that I received a permit to work in the area where my parents lived”.

“Due to the fact that this area is mainly known as a commercial, industrial, transportation region, few herders live here. And people also did not realize that in our village the shepherd hero of the country would be born. And if you work hard, you can get this title. My father, then I became the Shepherd Hero. In 2017, I was awarded the Order of the Polar Star”, - quietly says Suren L.

This area is good for grazing cattle, rather than small-hulled. Only cattle can survive here. The owner of the house asked me: “Can you ride a horse to the mountains and take a picture?” I haven’t been riding a horse for ten years, so I didn’t imagine myself on the back of a horse, so I walked close to being interested in their camp.

“Our cattle is at the head of Khyarsai. Every day children go there. Our cattle winters here between that stable in the north and the rock in the south. My father mowed a lot of hay. But in recent years, tourism has been developing in our region, and pasture, a field for haymaking, is degrading. But we prepare hay in our measure. Because of the tourist camps free space, pasture degrades. Therefore, in winter our cattle are among the trees. Now at the camp we have 28 calves, several cows, 5 horses. And the others are grazing in the taiga”, says the owner of the family.

The hosts water the calves with water from the lake. And cattle in the taiga drinks water from springs. To graze livestock in the taiga does not mean to leave them unattended“. Children look after cattle, sometimes cattle descend to a low place. But there is a lot of snow in the lowlands, so if they are often grazed in the lowlands, they will lose fatty cover. When I was young, I went for a herd on foot. And today, young people almost never walk”, says Suren L. Every morning she presents the first cup of tea with milk and prays to nature, Mother Lake, Mount Burenkhan.

A woman who in her youth continually worked, who with her father’s gun on her back grazed cattle at night, and even did not notice how her legs were cold in winter night, today is the mother of five children. She is raising her children just as her father raised her. To her son’s question: “Did my mother hold a gun in her hands”, she smiles softly. She shares her experience in raising children: “Sons need to be given direction, and they will learn. Anyone who is interested in livestock, should be sent to the industry. And the one who wants to engage in the struggle, you need to send there. If I scold and prohibit the boys anything, then a real man will not grow out of them. We need to encourage their interests. Our eldest son is four times soum’s champion in traditional wrestling. He has more than 70 medals. The middle son has the title “soum’s falcon” in traditional wrestling, and the fourth son has the title “soum’s hawk”.

Father of Suren HERO Luvsan-Endon before his death asked the children to be taken to the lake. His children on horse-drawn sleigh took him to the lake, and he received a blessing from the lake-mother, brought a drop of water to his forehead. After that he asked to return home. And after arriving home, he asked the children to build a tent and explained that the tent was for him a cozy home, he spent the night in a tent when was grazing the flock, when was mowing hay, also while transporting. Her father, having received the blessing from the deep freshwater lake of Khuvsgul, looked at the camp and entered the tent, died the next day. Suren L., told this story and explained the reason for the honor roll that stood near the winter camp. Talking about natural beauty, we slowly went back.

The shepherd hero who breed livestock for a half century, Suren S. said goodbye to us and said: “You must pray to the sky and nature, to the mountains. And nature will support you. I believe that Mount Burenkhan, the lake-mother Khuvsgul, the rock Ongolog, the virtue and love of my parents helped me and still support me. I still live in this beautiful area, which is impossible not to love”. She blessed us and offered white milk to the sky.

So I finish my travel note to Jankhai, towards the sunset.                                                                    

Journalist, Editor Shurentsetseg Yu.



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