Ch. Biligsaikhan: The top spots should be taken, not begged for


The following interview is with Sc.D. Ch. Biligsaikhan, Mongolian State Honored Teacher. Translated from Udriin Shuudan newspaper.

-I wanted to speak to you about today’s world of authors; but the book “Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World” on your table took my attention away from this – what is your opinion on that book?
-Mongolians are able to easily identify a person’s inner nature by analyzing that person’s clothes and the way he or she speaks. I think Mongolians know the book “Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World” by the American author Jack Weatherford pretty well. Before, the majority of the people who knew of Chingis Khan thought he was a ruthless barbarian, who promoted war and death. But the author Jack Weatherford was interested in more than that, and wanted to question more – Who is this man, what did he really do and how did he change the world. So he came to Mongolia to study this and lived here for seven years.
He began his study of Chingis Khan in 1999 when he was working for the American newspaper Washington Post, and created a poll on who was the man of the Millennium. It was circulated among many other media outlets, with the team looking into and comparing many men throughout history.
During the research work, a certain group of American researchers decided that Chingis Khan was the man of the Millennium. They believed that today’s society we live in was founded and strengthened by Chingis Khan’s organization.
So, in 2000 Chinggis Khan was named the Millennium man. Some agreed, and some did not. Some even asked who this man was, while some did not like him because he waged war upon many Muslim and Christian states.
Well, while the world was choosing and celebrating Chingis Khan as the man of the Millennium, it is shameful that at that time we Mongolians did not have much to say about him. The public did not seem to care much about this.
-What can you tell us about other foreign books on Chingis Khan that became very famous?
-One author from South Korea wrote a book on Chingis Khan in 2001, which became very famous internationally; and many more were published after that. These books were all translated into Mongolian later. Those books prove that most of what is today was shaped by Chingis Khan.
-So it is safe to understand that since then Mongolia began to attract a lot of foreign interests?
-Yes, since 2000 there has been much mineral exploration and discoveries in Mongolia.
Jiang Rong, in his book Wolf Totem, describes Mongolians as “fierce and brave warriors, and they were trained with a high degree of efficiency, which is why they were never defeated in battle”. He also goes on to say that Chinese and Mongolian people were constantly at war and although China was a much larger country, they were almost always defeated by their Mongol neighbours.
-You wrote a commentary and criticism on this book last year, didn’t you?
-I think the world is becoming too civilized. We (Mongolians) brought the idea that the North Pole was a place where most humans lived a long time ago. It seemed that that place was the best place for a human to live in.
But due to cold extremely cold temperatures, they had to migrate. They moved to three different areas – to Europe, to modern-day Canada and America, and to Asia, specifically around the Altai Mountains so this area we live in has a lot of historical significance to it.
-Can you elaborate?
-I think it is time for Mongolians to evaluate themselves. Lately, people from many countries have asked each other, “How much do you know about Mongolia?” The future of Mongolia is looking bright. The road to Mongolia’s rise is open.
This is a crucial time for every Mongolian. They should be smart and wise. The most important thing to do for a person living in a rising country is to understand themselves. It is now impossible to just sleep and be lazy and jobless. We have entered the centre of the world’s economy.
Many great Mongolians are being born. Mongolia is making progress in every sector and field. Communism is gone and democracy is shining at the brightest.
-Well, some people say it is difficult to live in a society like this. Do you agree?
-People should especially live in a time like this. For example, if one person who is used to living in UB decided to go and live in the USA, he will have to adapt that new culture and society.
-In your opinion, what is the mental capacity of today’s young Mongolians?
-I believe that their process of self-actualization is slow. Mongolians are too used to being spoon-fed things. So they think they can sleep and then when they wake up their country will suddenly be very developed and their future will be set. But that’s not it; the more we individuals put into the society, the brighter our future will be.
In terms of novels and stories, we are quickly getting better and better. Mongolian literature was labeled as “elite literature” a couple of years ago. Mongolians have created very interesting literature and there is a large collection of it in libraries.
-So what do you think about Mongolia’s younger authors?
-Young authors should renew the old ones generation by generation. But today there have not been many breakthroughs for younger authors, and it is very unfortunate. They do not know what to write. Knowing what to write it is a very important skill to have.
-Do you think that literature is depreciated?
-This problem is exposed to everyone. The core individuals who led arts and literature have fallen behind the times and became an empty pillow for medals they earned in the past.
A national poet stops and goes on a hiatus once he earns a medal. A few remarks from prominent poets and authors is all it takes. Works of younger generations are greatly depreciated. It is time that we support them.
-You seem to criticize the authors of your generation.
-I think about many people, alive and dead. It is necessary for us to change to find success, time is changing; society is changing.
Nothing new is found in the people who are leading us. We should be able to bring new ideas to our society, and most of all have people to support them. Every century has its own specific colours and its own specific style.
Now the most outdated and unsuccessful author would be the ones who are staying in their own times. To be successful, and stand out from the crowd, one needs to race with time.
For example, B. Yavuukhulan was a great author and poet but was too liberal. His sole skill and great knowledge and creativity were what saved him. Even during the communist times, he was pressurized into writing a poem that reflected socialist views.
But now none of us have that pressure from anyone. We want to support the people who would say, “What I do is right,” not the ones who claim “I know what I’m doing. Don’t tell me what to do.”
-Some say that the old generation is reluctant to give their position to the younger generation. What do you think?
-The peak, the top spot of arts and culture is forcefully taken by aggressive breakthrough works. Whoever wishes to take this place should not beg for the position.
Today, Mongolians are respecting and worshipping the smallest things. Well, it is in our Mongolian nature to respect higher beings and ideals in awe. But that does not lead to great things, so I am for renewal and innovation.
-Do you think that the younger generation cannot make a breakthrough in literature because they’ve run out of topics?
-There is no such thing as “running out” of topics. There is always something. The important thing is to find the people who can see them.
Creativity is definitely in need for Mongolian arts and literature. Today’s Mongolian art has just become a re-circulation of other people’s works.

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Posted by on Oct 1 2012. Filed under Топ мэдээ. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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