Second Day of the Festival “India-Russia-the Roerichs” in the International Roerich Memorial Trust
The leader of the ICR volunteers from Russia and Belarus Mrs. Tamara M. Merges congratulated the festival participants with the important anniversaries and presented symbolic gifts to the IRMT and the Helena Roerich Academy of Arts for Children. The welcome address from the St. Petersburg chapter of ICR and from the cultural and academic community of St. Petersburg, the native city of the Roerichs, was read out. The visual learning aids made by the teachers and students of the Saint Petersburg Stieglitz State Academy of Art and Design were solemnly handed over to the painting class of the Helena Roerich Academy of Arts for Children.
The Indian performers were followed by the young Russian artistes from the “Raduga” (Rainbow) Dance Ensemble, Nizhny Novgorod, headed by Petr and Nadezhda Perevozkin. The brilliant and fiery items alternating with slow Russian round dances caused the delighted applause of the audience.
“From Heart to Heart” may well have been the name of the painting exhibition by the Indian artist Mrs. Surjit Akre whose inauguration became one more memorable event of the festival. Mrs. Akre studied in Russia in the Ilya Repin St. Petersburg State Academic Institute for Painting, Sculpture and Architecture and became the first Indian to graduate from it. Her work is widely known in India and abroad. At present, she is the president of the Roerichs’ Art Club at the Russian Centre of Science and Culture, New Delhi. Her exhibition dedicated to the 70th anniversary of Russian-Indian diplomatic relations displayed her paintings created in different phases of her career. Whether they depict Russian landscapes and churches or India’s gods and people, all her paintings are distinguished by the lofty sentiment of beauty, love and warmth characterizing the people of our great countries.
The Russian Curator of the IRMT Mrs. Larisa Surgina gave the guests a guided tour of the exhibition telling them about the research and explorative activities of the Institute back in 1930s. She thanked the Kullu District administration, the ICR and the Russian embassy for the help in preparing the exhibition and expressed hope that the Institute founded by the Roerichs on the idea of philosophic unity of the ancient spiritual knowledge of the East and modern scientific discoveries of the West, would soon be revived and visited by scholars from different countries including India and Russia to continue the research work started by the Roerichs.
After that, the guests of the festival were invited to the inauguration of the new permanent display in the George Roerich Hall and the George Roerich Memorial Study in the Administrative Building of ‘Urusvati’ Himalayan Research Institute.
It was with the traditional Shanti Puja that the second day of the “India-Russia-the Roerichs” festival opened in the sacrosanct Roerich Estate in Naggar. On that day, the prayers for peace and wellbeing were offered in the memory of the outstanding diplomat, Ambassador of the Russian Federation in the Republic of India H.E. Alexander M. Kadakin who suddenly passed away this January. Mr. Kadakin was at the root of the creation of the International Roerich Memorial Trust (IRMT), Naggar, and remained its life-long trustee and continuous Vice President. In his heart and professional life Russia and India have always been bound together by unbreakable bonds.
After the puja, the national flags of India and Russia, and the Banner of Peace – the world-famous Banner of Culture and the symbol of the Roerich Pact for the protection of cultural properties – were solemnly raised nearby the House-Museum of the Roerichs. The ceremony was attended by the following representatives of Russia and India who visited the Roerich Estate on that day:
H.E. Mr. Anatoly Kargapolov, Charge d’Affaires of the Russian Federation in the Republic of India,
Mr. Rakesh Sharma, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Kullu,
Mrs. Shashi Thakur, Director, Department of Language and Culture, Shimla,
Mrs. Nana Mgeladze, Counsellor (Culture), Embassy of the Russian Federation in the Republic of India,
Dr. Amit Guleria, Assistant Commissioner to District Commissioner, Kullu,
Mrs. Natalia Cherkashina, Acting Director General of the Non-Governmental Museum Named after Nicholas Roerich under the International Centre of the Roerichs, Moscow,
Mr. Vimal S. Mehta. President, Forum of Indian Photographers and Artists,
Mrs. Larisa V. Surgina, Russian Curator, IRMT,
Mrs. Natalia Pivovarova, President, “Dostoyaniye” Cultural Assembly,
as well as the management and members of the “Raduga” Ensemble, Nizhny Novgorod, staff of the Russian Embassy in India, New Delhi, Indian and Russian staff of the IRMT and multiple guests of the festival.
Having cut the red ribbon, the honoured guests opened a new exhibition displaying in the specially manufactured showcases the arms, ritual objects, books and art pieces that were carefully collected and studied by the elder son of the Roerichs, George, who was the continuous director of ‘Urusvati’ Institute.
After that, the traditional lamp lighting ceremony took place at the IRMT Green Theater and the honoured guests of the festival were presented with Kullu souvenirs.
Dr. Amit Guleria, Assistant Commissioner, Kullu, noted in his welcome address that the festival was a success and it was a pleasure to see the love of Russian colleagues for Indian culture. He expressed hope for the further development of the IRMT and reiterated the readiness of the Kullu District administration to extend the Trust all necessary assistance and support.
H.E. Mr. Anatoly Kargapolov, Charge d’Affaires of the Russian Federation in the Republic of India, thanked the participants of the festival and remarked that the Russian Embassy in India had always considered the Roerich Himalayan Estate in Naggar an important Indo-Russian cultural center. He noted that Russia had always been and remained the reliable and trusted friend of India and expressed the Embassy’s readiness to fully assist in the development of the International Roerich Memorial Trust.
Mrs. Natalia Cherkashina, Acting Director General of the Non-Governmental Museum named after Nicholas Roerich, Moscow, greeted the participants of the festival and presented the IRMT with a souvenir: the plaster copy of the bas-relief of George Roerich placed on the wall of the house where he spent the last years of his life after returning from India to Moscow. On behalf of the Indian management of the IRMT the gift was gratefully accepted by Mr. Amarjeet Anand.
During the programme the winners of the children’s painting competition “Indo-Russian Friendship: Past, Present and Future” held the day earlier received awards. The children were solemnly presented with certificates and mementos.
The cultural programme started with the performance by the students of the Helena Roerich Academy of Arts for Children managed by the IRMT. The children sang the famous Russian song “Let There Always be Sunshine!” in Hindi, Russian and English, while the teachers of the same academy performed the Russian folk song “The Young Cossack Walks Along the Don.” The dance symbolizing the friendship between India and Russia featured the Banner of Peace unfurled by the young performers on stage.
The festival closed with the traditional dance of the Kullu valley – ‘nati’. Started on the stage by the Academy students and joined by Russian children, the dance caught into its rhythmic movement the multiple guests and participants of the festival uniting all under its single motto: “India – Russia - the Roerichs”.
The Russian Curator of the Trust Mrs. Larisa V. Surgina reminded the gathering about the remarkable meeting that took place in the Estate between Nicholas Roerich and Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi, during which they discussed the necessity of close cooperation between the two countries. She spoke about the history of the IRMT and the contribution of Mr. Alexander M. Kadakin towards its creation. She expressed her gratitude to the ICR and the non-governmental Museum Named after Nicholas Roerich, Moscow, managed by it that continue to extend full support to the Trust.