DARIGANGA’S POETIC TRIAD
Biographical essay on Mongolian poets D.Nyamsüren (1949-2002), G.Mend-Ooyo (b1952) and O.Dashbalbar (1957-1999), including information on the influential Gal (Fire) group, current during the late 1970s and early 1980s. (Translation by Simon Wickhamsmith).
DARIGANGA’S POETIC TRIAD Ü.Hürelbaatar What is the symbolism of Orion’s three hinds together in the sky? From the 1970s until the 1980s, the “Gal” group1, whose works came together in a single confluence, organised around the so-called Dariganga Three. The “Gal” group was a central group, the central group was a stream, and this stream was the independent flow of literary writing called “GUNU”2, and this group of writers in the 1980s nowadays exercises the greatest influence on Mongolian literature. “Gal” was primarily made up of the writers Gombojavin Mend-Ooyo, Ochirbatin Dashbalbar and Danzangiin Nyamsüren, although there were other writers, poets and critics also involved, such as Dagvadorjiin Tsogt, Bat-Ochirin Sundui, Yadambatin Baatar, Shagdarsürengiin Gürbazar, Lamjavin Myagmarsüren, Jümpüreliin Saruulbuyan, Jamsrandorjiin Oyuuntsetseg, Tseveendorjiin Oidov and Ürjingiin Hürelbaatar, and today it retains a loose structure. These names, I think, can show the type of connection which existed during the 1980s among Mongolian writers. We altered the course of the literature which had existed beneath the hard helmet of ideology and, in order to reach new levels of skill and intellectual thought, we banded together and supported each other, one person filling in for anothers deficiencies, and we aimed to initiate a wholly new approach for a wholly new era. Looking down from the heights we have now reached, we can conclude that history played a rôle in the realisation of these noble aims of “Gal.” In this, Dariganga’s Poetic Triad – Mend-Ooyo, Dashbalbar and Nyamsüren – formed a single harmnizing body, that theirs was a particular rôle, of a trio acting as the woven girth-strap of Dariganga’s poetry. In this way, Nyamsüren addressed our question – “What is the symbolism of Orion’s three hinds together in the sky” – and he appears to have explained this triplicity, their reactive characters, through the following three solutions. Homeland or, The Laws of Attraction The special connection, the golden tether, between Mend-Ooyo, Dashbalbar and Nyamsüren was that they were from the same homeland. In fact, the particular image, the special link they shared, was that they all breathed the air of Sühbaatar aimag. And in the breathing of this air was wellspring, the creative flow which brought forth the life of Dariganga’s Poetic Triad. Indeed, this wellspring, which bubbled up like Dariganga’s own Orgih Spring, turned the hills and the rivers in Sühbaatar’s Ongon, Naranbulag and Asgat areas 3 upside down, and this flow of wisdom fermented away like the local yogurt. Not only we, but Mongolian literature also, know better than even they the sandy hills of the standing springs in Ongon, and Sunspring in Naranbulag, Dari Hill and Ganga
Gal means “fire” in Mongolian. GUNU was named after the book Gol Us namuuhan Ursana (The River Flows Gently) bu O.Dashbalbar. 3 The areas in which the three poets had been born.
Lake, and this special place of genius has been described as “the nation’s creative storehouse.” We grown up with them, from a very young age we had played around them and it is most definitely the homeland, or the law of attraction, in which is found the similarity between the area’s shamanic nature and the intellectual artistic nature of these three poets. During the 1970s, Mend-Ooyo had been a student at Ulaanbaatar College, and had moved to the city with his wife and children, and their address became the Ulaanbaatar address of both Dashbalbar and Nyamsüren. In the legendary Apartment Block 10, called the Yellow Weave, in his in-laws’ small and poorlyheated apartment, the Sühbaatar aimag’s Ulaanbaatar literary study group met, in the guise of a local workshop for the discussion of literature. Mend-Ooyo, we all were well-aware, was a student at this time, and was very far from his home. Later on, they all became famous, Nyamsüren became the Great Eastern Poet, Dashbalbar became the famous winner of the State Prize and a publisher, and I clearly recall them, carefully and shyly, beginning to write a few poems in rectangular, lined notebooks. They knocked gently at Mend-Ooyo’s door and entered the house of Mongolian literature. Homeland is one important influence which links their lives. Fate is also an aspect which brings them together. In this regard, the junior school teacher who led Dashbalbar onto the path of study was Nyamsüren, and it is agreed that it was this first pupil who guided his teacher into Mongolian literature. It is clear that this space of attraction is the solution for the magnetism which existed between Mend-Ooyo, Dashbalbar and Nyamsüren. Its expression is homeland. The idea of Dariganga’s Poetic Triad was first proposed by the literary scholar Ya.Ganbaatar, who took it from Nyamsüren’s poem “I hear the white conch sounding in the winter streams.” The quality of this poetic triad, then, one answer to Nyamsüren’s question – “What is the symbolism of Orion’s three hinds together in the sky?” – is homeland, or the laws of attraction. Generation, or the Poets of the 1980s Mend-Ooyo and Nyamsüre are called a trio. What is the symbolism of Orion’s three hinds together in the sky? From beyond the years, Danzangiin Nyamsüren’s works magically forge another answer to his question, we seem bound to study a notch of time, a period during the 1980s. The poets of the 1980s were the ones who revived twentieth century Mongolian literature and had tasted the best of the early 1960s, they lit the intellectual fires of the democratic revolution of the 1990s. That is to say, the realist literature which had begun during the 1920s took up its magic power and, at a single stroke, unified eastern tradition and western education. Just as these people had inherited these interesting times, our recent generation had in everything, and with a somewhat scanty fate, initially embraced and subsequently cradled and raised in its literature the breath of this new democratic generation which was developing in the world. This being so, during the 1980s, the young generation
who published literature and who promoted the influence of the new era was visited by a special and most interesting destiny, a directive which led into the flow of the world many ideas of social organisation. In other words, Dariganga’s Poetic Triad was realising the burden of history. Thus it was that Ochirbatin Dashbalbar took this at face value and his writings were collected together in publications such as Eternal Creation on the Edge of Extinction and The Error of Stepping Upon the Dharma, and he was elected to high office as a member of the Great Hural, where he spoke passionately for social justice on behalf od simple people. Mend-Ooyo, on the other hand, has avoided the red flames of the political fire, and has resolutely worked to soften and purify the mind of society with his creative work. In this way, during the period when political song was in fashion, he wrote songs such as “Mother Earth” and “The World of Mother’s Lullabies” and “Come to Our Home.” During the 1980s, he used his creativity to turn the artistic focus towards the Mongol character, the human condition and the protection of the environment. Thirty years later, the Mongolian people have begun to proclaim how they have come to understand the pure ideas of these works. Misunderstood for many decades, he is a melancholy example of someone who has carried with him the idea that creativity should concern itself with society. Danzangiin Nyamsüren welcomed the 1990s as a representative of the 1980s quite different from the other two. As people headed towards the urban centers, he strove to move away. As people shifted nomadically towards the towns, he made a little nomadic shift further into the countryside. As people wrote political and ideological poetry, he began to write about the old grasses, about the antelope, about the leaves of wolfsbane. On the lonely steppe, at the temple of Ereentsav, he found his pure voice and welcomed the democratic revolution. Nyamsüren then hardened the fine point of 1980s creativity and drew the mandala anew for meditation. So Dariganga’s Poetic Triad were the key representatives for the 1980s, as they galloped forward in one direction, with their manes and tails raised, like a trio of horses, keeping each other sharp and renewed. There was Dashbalbar’s image as a fiery poetic warrior, Mend-Ooyo’s gathering strength through spirituality, and Nyamsüren’s dwelling upon the Buddha’s holy earth. During their own generation of the 198s, they had established an inheritance of literary research which safely cradled and brought forth the 1990s. So one reason for Orion’s three hinds being together in the sky is that they will release the generations which will follow them. The Literary Life, or What Was, or Was Not, to be Repaired While Dariganga’s Poetic Triad loves like life the generation which oxidises its own works, they give special attention to their own work. From one point of view, they struggled to discover their own practise and character. In this regard, as they honored freedom in creativity, they studied difference, what makes particular styles of thinking special. At first, they created and wrote and studied the writer’s life, they critically and devotedly dealt with each other’s works. They themselves
were the first subjects of their study of poetry. From the other point of view, they joined together so as to renew the Dariganga school of poetry, and they struggled to create a single system and subject for study. They studied the work of those from the previous generation, who had been born in Sühbaatar aimag, such as D.Shagdarsüren, D.Gombojav and D.Maam, and they strove to research the opportunities and possibilities which flowed from the study of these writers’ work. They greatly desired to bring together their life and their homeland in relation to their creative writing. O.Dashbalbar forcefully penetrated Mongolian literary heritage, and produced many articles and critical pieces regarding future tendencies, historical truths and the investigation of creative work. Most important were the portraits of G.MendOoyo and D.Nyamsüren – “The Moon Poet, or Gombojavin Mend-Ooyo” and “The Nature of the Mind, or Danzangiin Nyamsüren” – which were the first honest summaries of their work. Such writings as Dashbalbar’s helped in particular to raise Mend-Ooyo’s literary profile, and actually to open up Nyamsüren’s work. Thus Mend-Ooyo’s own work, especially his writings about Dashbalbar and Nyamsüren, further confirmed their position in Mongolian literature, and to establish them in an international context. It should be said, however, that it had been Nyamsüren who had first analyzed the deep feeling of the poetry of the other two. So when the Dariganga Poetic Triad, looked at the power of Mongolian literature, its level of development and its place in the world, the organisation of what was and was not to be repaired, became clear. On the one hand, they were able to address one another’s deficiencies and to come together as a single intellectual whole, while on the other hand, they were able to organise the unrepeatable, and so unrepairable, qualities of their work, and so elevate and preserve them, and society’s attitude was then able to exercise influence upon literary thought on an international level. Demand for scholarly study of the works of Mend-Ooyo, Dashbalbar and Nyamsüren, rendered these three important as a group and in terms of their body of work. Thus it was that Dariganga’s Poetic Triad came together in Mongolian literature, both through thir own activity and as subjects of research. It is Dariganga which is a fundamentally interesting object of research. In particular, in terms of the Mongolian performance and conclusion of Dariganga’s sacred art and poetry, it is the stock of creative work which constantly is revealing the special form of homeland. In fact, the unusual consistency of this poetic group, Dariganga’s Poetic Triad, has caught the attention of researchers. The Dariganga style had its own school. But nowadays is it wonderful that the younger generation is continually studying this school, Dariganga’s Poetic Triad of Nyamsüren, Dashbalbar and Mend-Ooyo, within the intellectual sphere. And the critic Ya.Ganbaatar’s legendary description of them as Dariganga’s Poetic Triad has now come to dominate their own time and the space, recorded as art of world cultural hertage as much as Mongolian literary heritage. Mend-Ooyo and Nyamsüren are called a trio. What is the symbolism of Orion’s three hinds together in the sky?
Oh, dear Handmaa of Naran-Bulag, to whom I would run, I made “A bright and golden school of the profound Buddha.” He left, and it was incomplete, my younger brother Dashbalbar is no more. I have studied this melancholy piece by Danzangiin Nyamsüren. My dear brother Nyamsüren did not pass away because there was something incomplete. And he did not entrust to “dear Handmaa of Naran-Bulag, to whom I would run,” the creation of an eternal work like “A bright and golden school of the profound Buddha.” And so, quite briefly, in the distant place where homeland and the waters come together, in the breath of time that was the 1980s, and in the nature and the life of creativity, Dariganga’s Poetic Triad had been searching for these three characteristics,. What, then, is the symbolism of Orion’s three hinds together in the sky?