Friday, 06 November 2009 17:09
Category: The Roerichs' Heritage
I am extremely happy to visit Naggar again and to welcome all guests and residents of this hospitable place who have gathered here at the Hall Estate of the International Roerich Memorial Trust to celebrate Professor Nicholas Roerich’s birth Anniversary.
Prof. Nicholas Roerich was a great humanist, archaeologist, historian, philosopher and explorer who spent an extraordinary life, rich in experience and achievements. His life could be described as a progression of ceaseless labour and struggle to give mankind new vistas in the appreciation of the beauty and perfection. He was an outstanding writer who published more than thirty volumes of works besides innumerable articles and essays.
Nicholas Roerich’s great contribution to our cultural life was his International Pact for the preservation and protection of cultural treasures in times of war or civil strife – Pax Cultura. He believed that “culture belongs to no one man, group, nation or era. It is the mutual property of mankind and the heritage of generations. It is the constructive creation of human endeavor. It transcends all obstacles, prejudices and intolerance. It is the highest perception of beauty and knowledge. Without culture there is no truth, no unity, no peace.” The Roerich Pact, this “Red Cross of Culture”, has not lost its significance today after 70 years since its inception.
Prof. Roerich had profound veneration of the Abode of Devas – the Great Himalayas which became the source of his artistic inspiration. It is not by chance that this majestic region of the Kullu Valley had become home for the entire Roerich family for several decades, and their brain-child – the Urusvati Himalayan Research Institute, thoroughly exploring this vast landwith in-depth, holistic and interdisciplinary research, made a considerable contribution to the world oriental studies.
In every sense Nicholas Roerich was an outstanding artist, who created more than 7000 paintings, which can be seen in the leading museums of the world. His works at a first glance give an impression of the personality of a master painter, philosopher, poet and universal peace activist. On seeing Nicholas Roerich’s paintings the great Indian poet and Nobel prize winner Rabindranath Tagore wrote: “Your pictures profoundly moved me. They made me realize one thing which is obvious and yet which one needs to discover for oneself over and over again, it is that Truth is infinite. When I tried to find words to describe to myself what were the ideas which your pictures suggested, I failed. It was because the language of words can only express a particular aspect of Truth, and the language of pictures finds its domain in Truth where words have no access. Your pictures are distinct and yet are not definable by words – your Art is jealous of its independence because it is great”.
Having made India their second home Nicholas Roerich and his equally famous family: his wife Helena Roerich – a great philosopher, his elder son George – world renowned orientalist and younger son Svetoslav – famous painter and public figure of India, merged with the soul of the Indian people whom they came to love dearly. Much of their creative force and talent was devoted to the spiritual unity of Russia and India. It is heartening and very significant that today we are celebrating Nicholas Roerich’s birth anniversary together with our Indian friends.
I would like to take this opportunity to express our sincere gratitude to the Indian Government, Government of Himachal Pradesh and personally to the Chief Minister H.E. Mr Virbhadra Singh for their persistent efforts to memorialize the legacy of Nicholas Roerich and his great family in India and making this sacred place a genuine Heritage site. Under the wise chairmanship of the Chief Minister the Russia-Indian International Roerich Memorial Trust has been successfully functioning for over a decade. My special thanks also go to Mr Ashok Thakur, Principal Secretary, Government of Himachal Pradesh and, of course, to Dr Alena Adamkova. Her selfless devotion and hard work has contributed greatly to turning the Roerich Museum and Art Gallery into an international cultural centre par excellence. We have further plans for development of the Estate. The project of constructing and opening a full-fledged educational institution - the Roerich International College of Fine Arts is in the pipe-line.
Today we are having a beautiful programme with exhibitions, film show, release of trilingual poetry book by Nicholas Roerich “Flowers from Morya’s Garden”, children’s painting competition and concerts. I would like to thank all the participants, artists, staff of the Museum and, of course, children for this wonderful function.
On the eve of the great festival of Dussehra please accept my Shubh Kamnaen!