Russia and India have agreed to actively cooperate in the conservation and development of the museum complex in the nature reserve of the Roerich estate in the village of Naggar in the Western Himalayas.
The state of affairs and prospects of cooperation in this noble field which brings together and unites the peoples of the two countries were discussed at the 17th meeting of the Board of Trustees of the International Roerich Memorial Trust (IRMT), held on 20th December 2014 in Shimla, the capital of the North Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. The meeting was chaired by the President of IRMT, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and attended by the Ambassador of Russia to India A. M. Kadakin, who is also vice-president of IRMT, its founder and life-time trustee, president of the International Roerich Center (ICR, Moscow) A. P.Losyukov, representative of Rossotrudnichestvo in India F.A.Rozovsky, other Russian diplomats, and the museum's curator from Russia L.Surgina.
At the meeting, a wide range of proposals in the agenda presented jointly by the Russian Embassy and ICR were discussed. They cover both the priority issues and current challenges, and identify promising areas of collaboration. Among the goals set were the improvement of the structure of IRMT itself, optimization of staff of the memorial complex in Naggar, issues related to raising their salaries, the revival of the estate farm and garden, as well as Roerich plantations of medicinal plants. Other priorities include repair and restoration of the main manor housing the Roerich museum. Also on the agenda was the task of restoring the outlook of the old building and organizing an updated exposition introducing the life and work of this unique Russian family on the basis of a detailed plan prepared by the Russian experts and financed by the ICR.
Speaking at the meeting, Virbhadra Singh assured that the state government will take all necessary steps to strengthen the activities of IRMT, make the estate in Naggar even more attractive for the Indians, Russians and visitors from many other countries who want to get more closely acquainted with the priceless artistic, scientific philosophical and spiritual heritage of the Roerichs. Recently, the state government has allocated a grant of 3 million rupees to the trust. "The people of Himachal Pradesh”, he said, “are really proud of the fact that the Roerichs, outstanding envoys of Russia, with which our country has long-standing and strong ties of friendship and fruitful cooperation, lived and worked here, in the land of India."
According to A.M. Kadakin, for Russians the Roerich estate in the Himalayas is akin to such precious treasures of Russian culture reserves like Pushkin’s Mikhailovskoe and Tolstoy’s Yasnaya Polyana. "The need to develop IRMT as a key project in the Russian-Indian cultural ties was confirmed by the leadership of our countries at the highest level”, he said. “Together with our Indian friends, we will continue to do everything in order to turn the memorial complex in Naggar into a world-class cultural, educational and scientific center worthy of the memory of our outstanding compatriots."
The Ambassador also presented Virbhadra Singh, the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh and a longtime friend of Russia, a copy of the memorial issue of "Vasily Vereshchagin: an Indian poem,"specially released by the Embassy and the JSFC "Sistema" on the eve of the visit of the Russian President Vladimir Putin to India.