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Mongush Kenin-Lopsan: My planets on the horizon of life and science

Mongush Kenin-Lopsan: My planets on the horizon of life and science"Each nation is a star on the night sky, which lights the way to knowledge and understanding of life", - this is what Tuvan aksakal (elder) Mongush Borakhovich Kenin-Lopsan says. For him, the star lit up in long-ago year 1947, when he among graduates of Kyzyl School No. 2 went to Leningrad State University.

The Polar star (according to Tuvan mythology "Grandmother-Doe") glowed and glittered, and led M. B. Kenin-Lopsan along the thorny road of a scholar. Candidate, then Doctor of History, he himself lit up quite a few new stars on the sky - his students. His works about the poetry of shamanism are published in many languages of the world, and in the USA he has the title of an academician and a Living treasure of Shamanism.

The senior scientific worker of national Museum combines his scientific work with literary art. Mongush Borakhovich, as the first one among Tuvan litterateurs, used the genre of historical epic, and several generations of readers have been charmed by his novels and novellas. National writer of Tuva, Merited Worker of Culture of Russia, regardless of his age, successfully keeps working in the field of science and literature. Every person in Tuva knows him by sight- from the small ones to the old ones - and they bow low when they meet him, respectfully addressing him as "Bashky". He became to them the Teacher, with a capital "T", for several generations. He is a Cavalier of the Order of Friendship among nations, holder of the medal order "For Merit for his Native Country" of II level, and today he graciously accepts birthday greetings from his many admirers. We let the scholar himself speak

Kyrgan-avai, my sun

In the spring of 1947 I graduated from Kyzyl high school No. 2. for the first time in history, 19 people, 13 young men and 6 young women, received the certificate of maturity. Before this, only elementary and seven-year education was available. We received letters from Abakan and Leningrad with invitations to continue our studies. We chose the city on the Neva. In the summer, I went to chailag (summer pasture) Chash-Tal.

I bless the summer half-dream, through which I overheard my parents' quiet conversation about the necessity of inviting my grandmother Khandyzhap, known as Kham-Kadai (shamaness) among the people. In those years people were afraid to even say the work "shaman". Grandmother Khandyzhap lived near the Mongolian border in Bora-Shai of Ovyur khoshun. My parents said:

- Better send Sat Delger-ool. Let him ride the horse Tiger, and take the horse Cheler-Kara (Black Pacer) along on a lead. He knows the hunters' trails. It is not possible to take he main road, he might be noticed by a "changys karaktyg kizhi" (literally one-eyed man, meaning a party person).

One night the Celestial shamaness worked with the bronze mirror "kuzungu". Then she performed a sacred ritual by a spring next to a huge larch tree and said:

- Do not be afraid. Let your son go North to study and live in the Russian city for four years without vacations. He should not come home before that. His star predicts an enviable fate.

Kuular Medikei uruu Khandyzhap was born on 15 June 1885 in Shemi of Dzun-Khemchik khoshun. She suffered brutally during the years of political repressions. She was sentenced as a shamaness and her voting rights were taken away for the first time in 1929. In 1938 her son Kuular Sungar-ool was arrested and sentenced to execution by shooting fro participation in a counter-revolutionary organization; he was post-humously rehabilitated. Kyrgan=avai, that is grandmother, is associated with the sun among Tuvans. My grandmother, shamaness Khandyzhap was deprived of this sun, she became a victim of political terror.

My illiterate parents and myself believed the predictions of Grandmother-shamaness Kuular Khandyzhap. I studied in Leningrad for 4 years,, wrote my own works, translated classics of Russian and world literature. In the spring of 1952 I finished my novel "Chuguruk sarala", in Russian translation "Catching up with the bird". On the banks of Yenisei, more exactly by its source I was a poet, and on the banks of Neva I became a novelist and translator. I fulfilled my grandmother's will-prediction,, and became a scholar.

I am a student of Leningrad State University - Oriental department

Grigoriy Timofeyevich Ilyin was sent from Leningrad to Kyzyl to accompany us to our studies. Veteran of the Great patriotic War, a Yakut, he was in an army uniform and spoke Russian. We were told that he studies at the philological department.

My name was missing from the list of those going. But thanks to the help of Khertek Amyrbitovna Anchimaa-Toka, the misunderstanding was cleared up.

We sat in a truck. The director of Kyzyl high school No. 2, Oorzhak Khailakaa, the first Tuvan mathematician with higher education, organized the food for us. I remember that they sent a whole smoked ox with us. Our route: from Kyzyl to Abakan in a truck, from Abakan to Leningrad by train. I was very afraid to get out on the stations. I sat in the compartment all the time. I felt that I was not riding a train, but flying on wings to the banks of Neva.

And there it was Leningrad train station. When we arrived, there was quiet warm rain. We got out of the wagon. We were met by a tall man in a black suit, in glasses. On his head was a dovurzak with an oriental ornament. This elegant person turned out to be Vladimir Mikhailovich Nadelyayev. He put us on a bus, got in himself, and again verified us. Nobody got lost, and the bus took off into the sea of humanity.

All us young men were housed in a single room. A large blackboard was there, the room was a classroom. The girls were sent somewhere else in the same building. So that was where we were going to live and study. Soon we were given our student cards with the signature of the dean of the Oriental department, V. M. Shtein, a famous sinologist.

The first autumn of student life. The first year of the A. A. Zhalov Oriental department of Leningrad State University. Our group was called Tuvan section of Turkic department; its head was Andrei Nikolayevich Kononov. Altogether the Oriental department prepared and sent off to independent work three classes of Tuvan section. Many years have passed since that blesses autumn, and memory, possibly, will allow some errors in writing the exact initials of my colleagues and instructors. Forgive me my absent-mindedness. For me, my department is as dear to me as before, dear to my heart are my classmates and the great teachers.

As I recall, there were eight groups:

Chinese philology: Engelsina Burt, Georgiy Golovnev, Elena Maltseva, Lev Menshikov, Alevtina Ostroumova, Viktor Petrov, Natalia Sosipatrova, Mikhail Sofronov, Lyudmila Usova, Tatiana Kholmovskaya, Emanana Tsivina, Boris Parizhskiy.

Chinese history: Tereza Alexandrova, Vladimir Berger, Boris Doronin, Lyubov Kovarskaya, Mariya Moiseyeva, Boris Novikov, Leonora Rabinovich, Vladislav Strakhov, Tatiana Chursina, Nikolai Yashin, Yakov Tatarskiy, Klara Denisova, Vladimir Spirin. My classmates Vladimir Semyonovich Spirin, and Boris Mikhailovich Novikov became great specialists-historians.

Korean philology: Lidia Gruzova, Vladimir Kan, Anna Klimova, Li Gi Nam, Lim Su, Vera Malygina, Gennadiy Rachkov, Rimma Rogaleva, Marianna Kudryashova, Ada Trotsevich, Nikolai Khvan,. Korean historians - Nikolai An, Irina Ozolina, Muza Stesivtseva, Sergei Khvan, Irina Chernysheva, Valentin Yugai. Marianna Ivanovna Kudryashova, married name Nikitina, Gennadiy Evgenyevich Rachkov, Ada Fedorovna Trotsevich - they are well-known scholars and great experts on Korean literature.

I would like to tell you about my first meeting Mara. It was on 16 October 1947. I met a young woman with blue eyes reminiscent of the clear skies of my native Tuva at the Turkic department.

Her name was Marianna Ivanovna Nikitina. At that mysterious moment she entered my heart, I wrote sonnets about her, which I finished only on 16 October 1997. The manuscript of sonnets dedicated to my youth, my love to a Russian girl, is named "Zhrebiy" (Cast of dice). When my daughters marina and Anna were students (the older at dept. of journalism at LGU, and the younger at Leningrad institute of Soviet trade), they often visited her, were friends with her daughter, the Orientalist Olga,, and her husband Valentin Petrovich. At the end of April 2001, Valentin Petrovich sent me a monograph by Marianna Ivanovna Nikitina, "Myth about the woman-sun and her parents, and its "satellites" in ritual tradition of ancient Korea and neighboring countries". This book remains a living co-traveler of students and admirers of the talent of the best researcher of the ancient civilization of sunny Korea, M. I. Nikitina (15 October 1939 - 29 October 1999).

Iranian philology: Nina Rychkova, Alexander Gryunberg, Yosif Yosifov, Ruslan Tsabolov, Gyulruk Alibekova. R. Tsabolov was the komsorg of the group. The historians of Iran - Marianna Arunova, Dzhafar Askerkhamly, Marat Belanovskiy, Avietta Dmitrieva, Anatoly Kobrin, Natalia Razumova, Ninel Tregubova, Tatiana Chistyakova, N. B. Shvarts.

Tuvan philology: Zoya Aragachy, Agrippina Kongarova, Alexander Togui-ool, Elizaveta Kopteva, Kuular Orgu, Shuluu Sat, Mongush Kenin-Lopsan.

Tuvan history: Dorzhu Ondar, Lidia Uinuk-Kara, Yuri Luduzhapovich Aranchyn (21 December 1926 - 27 September 1997) - was Doctor of history, and worked for many years as the director of Tuvan scientific-research institute of language, literature and history.

Turkic philology: Raisa Valeyeva, Aprasian Vekilov, Gayez Donidze, Alexander Zyrin, Lyudmila Lazereva, Saifi Muratov, Inna Shavrina, Faina Salimzyanova, Kemal Aliyev.

Turkish history: Ilmira Minkina, Yuri Natsvaladze, Fikret Suleimanov, Yuri Petrosian.

I first heard of Nazym Khikmet from Aprasian Vekilov. He was talking with someone about Nazym Khikmet coming to Moscow and staying at some hotel. His compatriot Hikhat, who was working at the time in Turkish department, was supposed to meet with him. He was accompanied by Ali. When I returned home, I translated into Tuvan language Nazym Khikmet's "Legend about love", and then this drama was successfully played on the stage of Tuvan music and drama theatre. My friends from Turkish department Yuri Petrosian and Gayez Donidze became famous scholars and authors of remarkable books. Authoritative Aprasian Vekilov works as a lecturer in his home Turkish department.

African philology: Natalia Okhotina, Irina Yakovleva.

Indian philology: Mark Altshuler, Sofia Boldyreva, Pyotr Barannikov, Oktyabrina Volkova, Irina Goncharova, Rimma Komarova, Militsa Kornilovich, Semyon Rudin, Irina Smirnova, Natalia Tolstaya. Indian historians: Nadia Azbukina, Ada Amsterdana, Igor Kontarovich, Manna Amukhova, Yuri Pechenko, Ella Rutskaya, Eduard Temkin, Musya Vurgafit.

Son of academician Alexei Petrovich Barannikov (1880-1952) - researcher of Indian languages, whom I saw rarely, Pyotr Alexeyevich Barannikov worked as a partgruporg, quiet Eduard Naumovich Temkin was a komsorg , now he is a chairman of editorial board of series "Myths, epos, and religions of the East".

Mongolian philology: Baldorzhi Badarayev, Ignatiy Burayev, Roza Zhalsanova, Zoya Kubrikova, Evgeniya Pakhutova, Dzhim Khadakhane. Historians of Mongolia: Rodion Baldayev, Vladimir Budayev, Innokentiy Irincheyev, Regbi Bubayev, Shiran Chimitdorziyev.

Candidate of History Dzhim Karpovich Khadakhane lived, worked and died in Tuva. Doctor of Philosophy Regbi Bubayev used to come to Tuva to read old books and manuscripts in the collections of the Aldan-Maadyr Tuvan national Museum. Historian, doctor Shiran Chimitdorzhiyev, and linguist doctor Ignat Burayev work productively in neighboring Buryatia.

My youth - those are my student colleagues, the banks of Neva! In days of joy and sadness I always think of you, my colleagues at the Oriental department of Leningrad University.

To Leningrad

My head has turned white with the years,

But once it was as black as coal,

Words come harder to put on paper,

And time will never turn back.

But, as long as I breathe and walk the earth,

And as long, like in youth, as I find joy in the sun,

This very old debt I want to pay -

In my songs, I want to celebrate you, Leningrad.

I won't forget how as a youth I saddled a horse,

Charged forward, leaning in the saddle,

And with envy my countrymen watched me go,

And the hoofs rang on the hard soil.

My travel coat vibrated like wings.

Like at a horse race, burning with eagerness,

I flew to you, to study, Leningrad,

To meet you, cradle of October!

Riding to Chadan saying good-bye to my horse,

I got on a truck loaded with wool.

Only the autumn around burned like fire,

And only the wind whistled in my ears!

Ulug-Khem I crossed on a ferry,,

Roads and paths I walked and rode,

And when the pass welcomed me with rain,

I shielded my head with a herder's kettle instead of a hat.

I reached Abakan - and again on!

Here I took the train, the steel horse.

Eleven days on the road - and now

Lenin's glorious city welcomed me.

Leningrad entered my soul firmly,

Caressed my head with its warm wind,

It seemed to me that I can see the currents of Ulug-Khem

In Neva's steady flow.

This city gave me many friends -

Varied, from all the continents of the Earth,

It opened its golden palaces to me,

Showed me the wealth of its museums.

Generous city that gave wings to my dream,

You mean much in my life and fate.

So thank you for your kindness,

For your humanity - thank you!

(Translation from Tuvan to Russian by Ilya Fonyakov).

Pioneers of Tuvinology

Our leader Vladimir Mikhailovich Nadelyayev taught the Tuvan language and a special subject "Introduction to Turkology". much time has passes since that blessed autumn of 1947, and now I remember those, who always remain alive in my memory. Every scholar who studies a language and ethnography of the Tuvan nation appeared to me as a new planet on the sky. I am a son of Tuvans - pagans, and for that reason I often address the heavens. I still have the notes I took during my teacher's lectures.

Here are notes about Vasiliy Vasilyevich Radlov (Friedrich Wilhelm). He was born on 5 January 1837 in Berlin, and died on 12 May 1918 in Petrograd. We, Tuvan students, found ot that on 4 June 1861 academician Radlov visited the mountain locality Kara-Khol in Western Tuva, and wrote down Tuvan proverbs and sayings, songs, tales, and became the first student of our language, folklore and ethnography. It was a discovery: long before my birth, Russian scholars were interested in Tuva.

The next planet of Tuvan heavens of scholarship was Nikolai Fedorovich Katanov (6 May 1862 - 10 March 1922). His father was Sagai-oglu, mother was Kachin-kyzy. He turned out to be a son of our neighbor nation - Khakassia. N. F. Katanov studied at Oriental languages department at Sankt-Peterburg University. It was astonishing that he learned Arabian, Persian, Turkish and Tatar languages, and I began with only Russian in Leningrad. Our instructor in Russian language was Xenia Petrovna Yazeva, who, as a matter of fact, was also fluent in French.

Later we found out that Nikolai Fedorovich Katanov was the favorite student of academician V. V. Radlov. N. F. Katanov performed a scientific expedition to Tuva, wrote a work of genius "Experience of research of Uriangkhai language", and forever remains a bright star in the history of Turkology.

Tuvinskaya pravda, translated by Heda Jindrak, photo by Vitali Shaifulin
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