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Lidzhi Amikov, Autobiography



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Terbish, Baasanjav 
Churyumova, Elvira 


Lidzhi is from Bichkn Bargs arvn of the Bag Derbet clan. Both his parents are from the Bag Derbet clan. Today his ancestral land is situated between the villages of Khanata and Ungn Teryachi in Maloderbetovskiy rayon of Kalmykia. According to his clan’s elders, their clan can be traced back to Baibagas Khan who was a descendant of Chingis Khan’s younger brother Khasar. Lidzhi knows the names of his male ancestors five generations back: Shegshg, Shar, Omg, Muukhla, and Chuucha. Lidzhi’s father’s name is Chuucha and his mother’s is Nogan. They had 10 children among whom Lidzhi is the youngest. Lidzhi himself has three sons, and a grandchild. Chuucha was born in 1927. His father died when he was four. During the Second World War Chuucha was captured by Germans when he was digging anti-tank trenches. He met his future father-in-law in a German camp for war prisoners from where both men managed to escape. During the deportation of the Kalmyk people, Chuucha and his future father-in-law were sent to the town of Prokop’evsk in Siberia where Chuucha got married and had four children. He worked in the mines. Chuucha also looked after his older brother’s two children. After Siberia, Lidzhi’s family settled in the village of Druzhnyi in Oktyabrskiy rayon of Kalmykia where Chuucha traded meat and went hunting. Later Lidzhi’s family moved to the kolkhoz of Vladimir Il’ich Lenin in order to join Chuucha’s parents-in-law. When the Kalmyks were sent into exile to Siberia, Lidzhi’s mother, 12, managed to take with her an old picture of Buddha and a rosary. In Siberia, she looked after the family relics and brought them back to Kalmykia intact. Lidzhi says that his family kept their relics in secret until 2010. Both the picture and the rosary are very old. The rosary was used by Lidzhi’s mother, grandmother and great grandmother. Today Lidzhi uses the rosary himself. Lidzhi also relays a story about how his brother, who fell ill, was cured by a ‘healer’ Lidzhi and his relatives travel to his paternal grandfather’s burial place to perform gal tyalgn (fire rituals), read prayers, and ask for forgiveness from their ancestors.



Autobiography, clan, ancestors, exile, family relics, folk healers, rituals

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Sponsored by Arcadia Fund, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin.