Monthly Archives: September 2009
By Daiyar Chiinggisi
We were warmly welcomed after landing on Chiinggis Khan International Airport at 9pm (local time) on Thursday. As we came out of the airport, before fully breathing the fresh air of Ulaanbaatur, Mongol friends of Tsahim Urutuu was there with bouquets of flower. The crew of NTV (of Mongolia) flashed the light asking “Welcome to Mongolia, the Hazara Mongols, How do you feel?”. “Exciting and overwhelmed to be in our ancestral land, feeling myself as part of a history-in-making” the first sentence I had for the camera. After a short interview outside the airport lounge, the Mongol friends took us to our dormitory at the National University of Mongolia, downtown Ulaanbaatur.
The next day we went to Sukhbataar Square, the Zero Point of Mongolia, the historic place near the Parliament of Mongolia. We paid a visit to the giant statue of the Great Khan, in front of the National Assembly.
It was incredible. Everyone was interested to talk to us. The news of our arrival in Mongolia had gone on-air at night. Our faces were known. On the way while walking to the University for our first class of Mongolian Language, a young boy ran towards us saying “are you the Hazara students”. “Yes”, I said. His exciting face expression seemed as if he has found anything precious. He introduced himself saying he had watched us on TV and was keen to see us. “Please your email address?” he asked and hoped to meet us soon.
First day of the Mongolian class at the University was memorable. Every teacher knew us “the Hazara Mongols”. Our class fellows are mostly Koreans, Chinese and Westerners. While learning the Mongolian alphabets on the first day, the sounds seemed familiar to us. It was normal for me when the teacher said, “your pronunciation is good”. The basic similarities of Hazaragi and Mongolia make it so.
On Saturday, second day of our arrival, we went to the countryside. It’s said the real beauty of Mongolia is in the countryside. Taking about an hour of drive, we reached the resort of Mongolian Airlines. As we moved out of Ulaanbaatur, the green mountains and beautiful landscapes were just amazing.
That day will remain as one of the happiest ones in my life. We had the most delicious Mongol food in a traditional “ger”, followed by a drink party and traditional Mongol song by a local singer. I was asked to sing a Hazaragi song. I had no choice but the “Mughul Dukhter (Mongol Girl)…Biya Nazuk Mughul e Ma”.
In the party, we met a Mongol linguist. He interviewed us on Hazaragi. He could not believe it, when knew that back-lower shoulder is called “Dalu” in Hazaragi, which is the exact same in Mongolian. He noted down many words which were the exact same in Hazaragi and Mongolian. Even more was interesting when he asked us some technical questions. For instance, to make plural some nouns he had asked us. He said the grammar rule of pluralizing in Hazaragi is similar with Mongolian. He invited us to come to his linguistic class at the Education University of Mongolia next week and talk to students researching Mongolian.
The weather is fine nowadays, sunny and cool. Generally it’s harshly cold in winter in Mongolia. The temperature goes to -35. Unlike many other foreigners (though I don’t like to use this word for us in Mongolia, because we are treated as domestic Mongols), we are okay with food here. Mongols take heavy meal, mostly meat all the time!
I had not expected at all such a warm attitude from our Mongol ethnic fellows. I feel proud to be in our ancestral land.