The 80th anniversary of the Roerich Pact
On April 12, 2015 the 80th anniversary of the Roerich Pact was solemnly celebrated in the Roerich Himalayan Estate. Festivities took place in the premises of the Helena Roerich Art Academy for Children where the children of Naggar and neighboring villages study dance, music and painting. Students of the Academy, their parents, visitors of the Roerich Estate and the employees of the IRMT took part in the celebrations.
The festivities commenced with the consecration of a small shrine of the goddess of art and learning Sarasvati made by the IRMT staff specially for one of the halls of the Academy. The consecration ceremony was conducted by the venerable pujari (priest) from the nearby Krishna temple Jayadev Acharya. After the bronze statue of the goddess swaddled in white cloth (white colour being the symbol of truth and purity and, therefore, of Sarasvati) was solemnly placed in the new temple with the accompaniment of sacred chants, the children and teachers of the Academy performed Sarasvati-vandana – the prayer to Sarasvati.
The programme continued with the address by the Indian Curator of the IRMT Ramesh Chander. He underscored the importance of the event, the 80th anniversary of which the world celebrates on April 15 – signing of the Roerich Pact, the first international document on the protection of cultural properties. Mr Chander stressed the necessity of protecting monuments due to their historical and aesthetic value and mentioned that Roerich Estate also requires protection. He added that protection of memorial and artistic sites includes keeping the IRMT territory neat and clean. In this context he praised the initiative of the Naggar youth association “Himalayan Brothers Adventure,” which organized in cooperation with the IRMT a voluntary campaign of the installation of dustbins around Naggar including the area adjacent to the IRMT entrance.
The Russian Curator of the IRMT Larisa Surgina marked that this year the day of celebrating the signing of the Roerich Pact in the IRMT coincided with the Orthodox Easter as well as the World Cosmonautics Day. Christ’s resurrection and man’s venturing into space – these two events, however distant and different from one another they might be, testify to the unlimited possibilities of man, given of course that mankind succeeds in preserving peace on the planet and the planet itself. And Nicholas Roerich showed the way towards this goal: “Peace through Culture.”
After the official part the guests were shown a short video-presentation prepared by the Russian staff of the IRMT on the basis of historical photographs and Nicholas Roerich’s paintings illustrating the history of the Roerich Pact. The presentation particularly stressed the relevance of the Roerich Pact on the world of today and the necessity of preserving material and non-material heritage of Naggar. Thematically the presentation was closely related to the permanent exhibition called “The Roerich Pact. History and Modernity” displayed in one of the Urusvati Institute buildings. The exhibition was opened in summer 2014 and is but a smaller version of the eponymous travelling exhibition organized by the International Centre of the Roerichs, Moscow, which continues its journey through the cities of India.