On July 12, 2014, a new display “Roerich Pact. History and Modernity” was inaugurated in the Roerichs’ memorial estate in the Kullu valley (India). It was prepared by the International Centre of the Roerichs (ICR) in cooperation with the International Roerich Memorial Trust (IRMT).
“It is noteworthy that the display devoted to the Roerich Pact opens in Naggar, in the estate, where a great Russian artist Nicholas Roerich lived with his family for about 20 years,” – Mrs. Larisa V. Surgina, Russian Curator of the IRMT and employee of the ICR stated at the opening ceremony. “Here a draft of the Roerich Pact was worked out. It was from here, from the sacred Himalayas that the calls of need to preserve and protect Culture as the main pillar of a future evolution of humanity, as the only panacea for peace on the Earth went in all corners of the world”.
Exhibits, including archival and contemporary photographs, reproductions on canvas of Nicholas Roerich’s paintings and bright information banners were prepared by employees of the ICR specially for two halls in the memorial building of the Biochemical Laboratory of the Urusvati Institute. The leitmotif of the exposition in one of the halls became a rotating globe with miniature flags fixed on it marking mountain summits, cities and countries of our planet where the Banner of Peace was raised - a symbol of the first international treaty on the protection of cultural property known as the Roerich Pact. The main idea of the Pact, its history and its relevance in the modern world are revealed in the exhibits of the hall.
India, with its great culture and spiritual refinement, became one of the first countries that responded to the appeal of Nicholas Roerich about the need to protect cultural treasures. India's participation in the promotion of the Roerich Pact is devoted the exposition in the small hall. Ancient monuments of India, its shrines and forts, monasteries and temples impressing by their grandeur and beauty are reflected in the photographs and in the reproductions of paintings by Nicholas Roerich, inspiring Urusvati exhibition space and integrating it into a coherent whole.
“I was in this building about a month ago and saw the condition of the hall, - said Mr. Rakesh Kanwar, Director of the International Roerich Memorial Trust-cum-Deputy Commissioner of Kullu. - Only by joint efforts in such a short period of time it was possible to create such a wonderful exposition”. Mr. Kanwar congratulated the Russian and Indian staff of the Trust with remarkable results and expressed confidence that the joint fruitful work on the development of the International Roerich Memorial Trust in compliance with the Agreement of Cooperation between the IRMT and the ICR executed on 2 October 2012 will turn the IRMT into a center of culture, science and art. Mr. Kanwar expressed special gratitude to Director General of the ICR, Mrs. Lyudmila Shaposhnikova. “I visited the International Centre of the Roerichs with the delegation of the IRMT Managemenrt in October 2012 and met Mrs. Shaposhnikova. Her heroic work deserves the utmost respect. It's an amazing lady, a true scholar and ascetic who continues the work of the Roerichs by strengthening friendship and cooperation between India and Russia.”
In his turn, the President of the International Centre of the Roerichs and the International Roerichs’ Heritage Preservation Committee, Mr. Alexander Losyukov, cordially thanked the Government of Himachal Pradesh, Chief Minister of the State, Mr. Virbhadra Singh, and personally Mr. Rakesh Kanwar for fruitful cooperation. The President expressed his gratitude to the Embassy of India in Moscow whose staff altruistically translated into Hindi all information texts and labels for the exposition.
Mr. Losyukov stressed the importance of the new exposition for the IRMT. India has become one of the first countries which deeply realized the value of the Roerich Pact for the future. He noted that the parallel exhibition of the ICR "Roerich Pact. History and Modernity” was launched July 7, 2014 in the capital of Himachal Pradesh, Shimla, and will travel around cities of India claiming the importance of fulfillment of the Nicholas Roerich’s ideas.
The welcoming programme continued on the open stage among pines and Himalayan deodars, where lots of friends of the IRMT and followers of the great Roerich family gathered together. Indian Curator of the IRMT, Mr. Ramesh Chander, congratulated all who was present with the opening of the new museum display. Mr. Chander said that the display is an appeal to people of different nationalities and different countries, numerous visitors and guests of the IRMT to realize the greatest value of Culture and join their voices, aspirations and actions for the protection of cultural property under the Banner of Peace, the Banner of Culture.
Time of the exposition opening coincided with rewarding of students of the Helena Roerich Academy of Arts (for Children) – winners of the First stage of the International Children's Contest “Colour and Sound of Nicholas Roerich’s Power” organized jointly by the International Roerich Memorial Trust and the St. Petersburg Branch of the ICR. Best paintings of Indian children on the topic "Discovering Roerich – discovering the world" dedicated to the 140th anniversary of Nicholas Roerich were solemnly handed to the delegation of the ICR to transfer them to Russia for participation in the final – Second stage of the Russian-Indian contest.
In continuation of the festive program, after prayers to the goddess of art and knowledge, Saraswati, conducted by the students and teachers of the Helena Roerich Academy of Arts (for Children), the local citizens performed classical Indian dances and songs. Specially touching and sublime sounded Russian songs “Sunshine circle” and “Young Cossack walks by the Don River” sung by Indians.
Final and fiery chord of the festive programme became a favorite traditional dance of the Kullu valley “Nati”. Started on the stage and performed by a dance group, it continued in front of the stage, Indian and Russian guests of the Himalayan Roerich estate in Naggar took part in it with joy and excitement.
Unity of Russia and India felt in this solemn day in the festive atmosphere, it sounded in all the speeches, all musical performances. "India is not a foreign land, but a sister to Russia" – Nicholas Roerich often repeated that. Maybe that is why the idea of the Pact, which the great artist originated in Russia and passed through different countries and continents, has found its response in India and now sounds in the heart and soul of Indian people.