Society and Culture

Pan-Mongolism: What is it and Why do We Need it?

A recently released song called Toonot aims to bring together Mongol hip hop artists to sing a pan-Mongol song . We thought that this would be a great opportunity to talk about Pan-Mongolism and what it means in relation to this song.

The song says “Mongol” over 30 times and has male and female hip hop artists not just from Mongolia, but also from Russia and China. “Why Russia and China?” you may ask. That is because there are ethnic Mongolians within the borders of these countries when the borders were drawn, delegating these ethnic Mongols as part of Russia or China. For example, this is the case of the Inner Mongolian Autonomous region in China and the Republics of Tuva, Kalmykia, and Byriatia in Russia.

Although there are other smaller ethnic groups that also fall into this pan-Mongol ethnic fold, it depends on which scholar or historian you speak to. The song recognizes specific Mongol ethnic-groups as identified in the below excerpt:

Буриад Зон олон, Өвөр Монгол, Халимаг, Тува, Хазара Монгол, Дээд Монгол
Хамаг Монгол нэгдэхтүн”

This section of the rap, calls for Byriats, Inner Mongolians, Kalmyks, Tuvans and Hazara Mongols – all Mongols to come together. These ethnicities that are called out reside in countries that are not Mongolia proper. All of these Mongol ethnic-groups are in Russia or China except the Hazara, who are in Afghanistan.

Another commonality among them is that they are facing language, cultural or ethnic disintegration. Inner Mongolian nomads are losing their land, those in Russia are systematically losing their language, and the Hazara have been persecuted for ages and continue to be. This song feels like it is a way to call to all ethnic Mongols who have historically lived outside of Mongolia, regardless of whether they consider themselves to be of another identity. It is important to note here that everyone in Mongolia is not all one tribe either; within Mongolia there are many different ethnic groups, although the majority is Khalkha.

The description for the YouTube video is as follows:

Харахад зүс нь Монгол, Хатгахад цус нь Монгол

Халихад сүнс нь Монгол, Хаа ч явсан бид Монголчууд!

This roughly translates into:

The look is Mongol, the blood is Mongol,

The soul is Mongol, wherever you are we are all Mongol!

(Side note: obviously sounds better in Mongolian)

As a Mongol-American where my Mongol-ness is sometimes questioned or when I am accused of being over ‘Americanized’ by other Mongolians, this song provides a nice reminder that wherever you are, you are Mongol and the community will welcome you with open arms.

Featured image from pxhere.


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