Duke Jamyan- the "Founding father" of the National Library.
Jamyan used to say, humbly, "I am just a small-time scribe or a clumsy old man of Khalha Mongolia” even though he served as a high official in three different states namely the Qing Dynasty, the Bogda Khan`s Mongolia and the Communist Republic. So whether he was sincere in his words or not remains to be scrutinized.
The "small-time scribe” Jamyan was born into the family of Ongut clan, in the Achit Van`s khoshun of Setsen Khan Aimak in 1864 (the present-day Dornod aimak). His father, Sangajav, though just a herdsman, was clever enough to understand the importance of education and gave his son to a local teacher to be taught in literacy skills and the basics of mathematics. The boy’s diligent study of Mongolian, Manchu and Tibetan paved the way for him to become one of the greatest intellectuals and scholars of modern Mongolia.
During the Qing dynasty he served as a scribe in Setsen Khan Aimak`s Assembly and then was promoted as Zaisan in the administration of Bogda Gegen, thus becoming his subject.
In 1911, when Northern Mongolia broke up with the Qing Dynasty and Bogda Gegen became Bogda khan, Jamyan was appointed as Vice Minister of Finance before earning the fifth rank of nobles- the title of Duke. From then on he became known among the Mongols as''Duke Jamyan''. In 1919 during the Chinese occupation of Urga Jamyan was arrested and imprisoned with other Mongolian patriots, but soon was freed by the soldiers of Baron Ungern, the notorious "Bloody White Baron" and Liberator of Mongolia. In 1921, when the Soviet Red Army took Urga and the Communist regime was proclaimed, Jamyan continued his duties as Vice Minister for while and then was sent by the new administration on assignment to set up an Institute of Sutra and Scripts. Many great scholars of the time such as Tseven of Buryats, Shagj of Tushetu Khan Aimak, Danda Chinsang and Batochir the Aid rallied around him. After becoming director he started collecting old manuscripts from all around the country and abroad. Thanks to his effort many rare manuscripts were saved from the communist purge such as Lu. Altan Tobchi, Erdeniin Tobchi, Mongolian Canon. During his long career as a civil servant he wrote several readers for children and one manual of accountancy.
On 1 May, 1930 Jamyan died at the age of 66. The death of this great man, at the height of his scholarship, may seem to have been untimely. However, considering the fact that Red Purge was about to loom over Mongolia, the death can be regarded as timely. His greatest legacy is today`s National Library of Mongolia. One should remember that Jamyan was a not just a man of letters but also "a man of numbers” who believed that everything should and can be calculated. He once joked that, "If one knows a man`s birth date by year, day and hour one can easily calculate the man’s death date by sliding the beads of abacus''. He seemed to have an excellent sense of humor befitting only great humans.
B. Nyamdorj/ Nima