Mongolian studies being promoted abroad

Dr. Anna Tsendiin continues in her father’s research
In the past, Mongolian studies were centered in Russia but now are moving in the direction of Hungary, Germany and within Russia to Buryatia. Dr. Anna Tsendina, a professor and researcher of Institute for Oriental Cultures and Antiquity, Russian State university for the humanities, characterizes the direction and orientation of Mongol study in this way. According to her findings, Mongol study or the investigation and research of Mongolian history and culture has been seriously weakened.
Anna is the daughter of well-known Mongolian liguist and writer Tsendiin Damdinsuren . The Mongol Messenger talked with Doctor Anna Tsendina about the past, present and future of Mongol study and her research works.

-Your book, “Tsendiin Damdinsuren”, is devoted to the centenary anniversary of your father. What kinds of research are covered in your book?

In his last years, my father studied much the Shambala. He investigated and studied whether Shambala was a real land, whether there was any historical foundation for that, or was it an abstract idea. He wrote several articles that were included in the book. My father and researchers from a number of countries were involved in comparable research. In my book,I included articles of foreign researchers who had a similar theme as my father’s. My father’s own letters and reminiscences are an important part of the book.
-How should we understand the Shambala?
-Historic foundations for the existence of Shambala have been found. Shambala is related with the sutra of the time wheel. Unfortunately my father didn’t complete his study.
-Russia is one of the countries traditionally engaged in Mongol studies. What is the situation today?
-Mongol study in Russia is powerful. Russia became interested in Mongolia, and began studying Mongolian language and Mongol sources 200 years ago, around the end of the 18th century. St.Peterburg has a rich Mongol book collection. By the end of the 19th century, there were many reputed Mongolian scholars who relied on this collection. None of them were left after the turbulent years of the 1930s. Oriental study suffered greatly in this period as well. Certain parts of traditional studies have been interrupted and a new direction appeared. This was the investigation of the new era. Everything related with the past was considered as capitalist and outdated. It was so difficult for me in 1984 to defend my scientific thesis on religion, but only because I was the daughter of a celebrated scientist would they allow me to defend my thesis. Today Mongol studies are developing, but with the proportion changed. In the past, Mongol studies were strong in Russia and America. But today, the centre of Mongol study moved from Russia to Hungary, Germany and within Russia to Burytia. As far as Russia was concerned, the biggest research centers and institutes operate in Petersburg, Buryatia and Kalmyk republic. While classic Mongol studies develop in Saint Petersburg, contemporary Mongol studies dominate in Moscow.
I wouldn’t say that Mongol studies are being liquidated, but the classic study of Mongolia or the investigation of the Mongolian history and culture has significantly shrunk in Russia and Europe. I think the situation is different in Japan and China.
-What is the reason for that and what steps should be taken to develop it successfully?
The policy of the State is important. For example, Russia is not paying due attention to humanitarian branches, nevertheless it is interested to study Mongolia. However, because of insufficient wages and finances, many of those who would otherwise continue with Mongolian studies go into other fields. The Mongolians themselves must influence Mongol study. I think that people who want to write about Mongolia and to study this country can be found without difficulty.
-What are you studying now?
-Together with Mongolian researcher R.Otgonbaatar, we started a project to study new manuscript discoveries that were found in North Mongolia.
Inner Mongolian resource study continues because there is more funding from a variety of sources and almost all their original texts are being investigated and published.
But the original texts, literature and the book printing blocks which are available in Khalkh Mongolia were not investigated. So, I intend to work on the general characteristics of the original texts.
source: The Mongol Messenger


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