Russian Ambassador to India Alexander Kadakin has denied all allegations of corruption and mismanagement levelled against the Naggar-based International Roerich Memorial Trust in Himachal Pradesh, formed in 1992 to preserve the heritage work, art and estate of Russian painter and philosopher Nicholas Roerich.
Alexander Kadakin, Russian Ambassador and trustee
“I should say, the alarmist picture being painted by one of the trustees as regard the state of affairs in the trust is totally incorrect. Yes, there are some problems like in every functioning and living organism. There are some technical problems with calling the Board of Trustees meeting. But recently in May, there was a meeting of the Executive Committee in Shimla. So, I don’t think that these criticisms are valid,’’ he told The Tribune here.
He was reacting to the charges made by one of the trustees, S S Chandel, recently about financial irregularities and mismanagement in running the affairs of the institution. Chandel had reportedly shot off a letter to Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, who is ex-officio president of the trust, in this regard.
To counter Chandel’s charges, Kadakin, who too is a trustee, has also written to the Chief Minister, saying the IRMT was functioning successfully and technical problems should not stand in the way or overshadow the good and tangible results of its activities.
Recalling that the trust at one time was in a state of dismay and despair, Kadakin said it had now become a first class international centre of culture. It was now a centre of international repute visited by nearly 80,000 people every year from all corners of the world.
Unlike what had appeared in the media, the trust was formed in 1992 by Svyatoslav Roerich, but it was registered in 1993 by Devika Rani. This, according to him, was an important correction. The founder of the trust was Svyatoslav, the last of the Roerichs.
“The trust is a living monument of Russia-India spiritual affinities…. We want it to remain a living and flourishing place for cultural interaction’’. He said it was one such institution which had brought together political rivals like Dhumal and Union Minister Virbhadra Singh together on a common platform.
Kadakin, who is leaving for Himachal later this week to attend Roerich’s birthday celebrations, was profusely thankful to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and his successor Manmohan Singh for their generous assistance to the trust.
He regretted that people in the valley were looking at the trust as a source of income. “It is a cultural trust and not a factory or plant…it can’t pay salaries to locals. Honorarium could, however, be paid.’’
He also asserted that there was no place for trade unions or political parties intruding into the affairs of the trust. CITU, he alleged, was quite active and was trying to penetrate the trust. “There can’t be a union in a cultural trust. I am dead against any interference by political parties or trade unions.’’
Kadakin also opposed any squabbles or misunderstanding in the trust. "We want peace and tranquility among the workers of the trust and not squabbles or differences or attempts to overpower the general manager and curator of the trust. Dr Adamkova, who has done a wonderful job in converting the trust into a very reputable and international organisation".
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, October 6