Russian and Indian specialists join hands in transforming the Roerichs’ Himalayan Estate into a museum complex

Wednesday, 07 March 2012 14:32

Russian participation in preserving and developing the unique museum complex in the Himalayan Kullu valley will be substantially expanded, the press was informed on Tuesday by Mr Sergey Karmalito, Senior Counsellor of the Russian Embassy.He commented on the results of the Executive Board meeting of the International Roerich Memorial Trust (IRMT), held in Simla on March 6.

At the meeting chaired by the Principal Secretary, Government of Himachal Pradesh, Manisha Nanda, the Russian side was represented by Senior Counsellor of the Embassy of Russia in India S.V.Karmalito and Counsellor for Culture D.E.Chelyshev.

According to the diplomat, “Russian and Indian specialists will join hands in transforming the Roerichs’ Himalayan Estate into a state-of-the-art museum complex”.

The first-priority step would engage Russian historians, art critics, and museology experts in drafting proposals on renewing the exposition of the house-cum-museum in accordance with the highest international standards. Besides, Russian experts will give recommendations on improving and enriching the permanent folk crafts exhibition housed in the former Urusvati institute.

Already this spring the house-cum-museum, where lived the distinguished family of the Roerichs, will see repair and renewal works according to the project jointly prepared by Russian and Indian architects, he added.

It has been also decided to carry out a complete inventory of all collections with assistance of Russian museology experts in the next few months.

Indian partners stressed the importance of using the potential and experience of the Moscow International Centre of the Roerichs (ICR) in implementing IRMT development programs. To this end and for coordination of joint efforts, an Advisory Committee has been established, comprising representatives of the IRMT, the ICR, the Language, Art and Culture Department of the Himachal Pradesh Government, and the Embassy of Russia in India.

The meeting examined a number of urgent issues pertaining to day-to-day activities of the protected complex. In particular, the State Agriculture Department has provided for large-scale works on reviving the Roerichs’ garden this season.

More than 130 thousand rupees (around 3 thousand US dollars) has been allocated for restoration and construction of terraces as well as planting new fruit trees. It was also proposed to expedite repair works on the access road in order to enhance traffic capacity against the increased tourist flow. It was also noted with satisfaction that the passing financial year, ending in March, saw increased IRMT proceeds from ticket sale by 700 thousand rupees, as compared to the previous year.

The only stumbling block during the discussion appeared to be the future of the current Russian curator, IRMT executive director, Alena Adamkova.

With reference to current legislations, the Indian Side refused to prolong her labour contract in December last year. On the executive board meeting, M.Nanda noted that Alena Adamkova started her activities in the IRMT ten years ago as a visiting scholar.

“The acting regulations do not allow to endlessly prolong such contracts, moreover the resource [for its prolongation] is already exhausted”, she pointed out. Besides, M.Nanda mentioned that the Indian Side values the great contribution that A.Adamkova made in developing the Roerich Naggar museum and accomplishing a large spectrum of cultural and educational programmes.

Summing up the meeting, M.Nanda particularly emphasized how it is important to continue and widen Russian-Indian bilateral cooperation in this joint cultural project that is called upon to bridge the two countries and its people. “We do not imagine further work of the memorial complex without active and constant cooperation with our Russian friends”, she concluded.

"The participants unanimously supported the Russian initiative to seek for a prospective format capable of uniting under a single organisation the two Indian Roerich memorials, i.e. the Naggar estate and the Tataguni mansion in Bangalore. In pursuing it, they count on active cooperation from the MEA and the Culture Ministry, and other Indian bodies concerned.

"“Assuredly, we welcome the meeting outcomes, considering them as a positive move in the HP government position. We also hail impressive development plans for the Roerich museum complex in the Himalayas”, Russia’s Ambassador, Founder, Vice-President and life trustee of the IRMT, Alexander Kadakin told.

“The past 20 years saw the Russians having dedicated their hearts and souls as well as funds to preserve and develop the Trust”, he added. Referring to the recent Indian press publications, the Ambassador stressed, that “the appeals to banish the Russians from the IRMT sounded at least odd”. “Without the Russians ‘Atma’, the great soul [of this place] will leave the museum-estate. We cannot allow this to happen under any circumstances”, he underlined.

He also pointed out that “The Simla meeting important outcome confirmed that this unique project remains the very Russian-Indian object in cultural and spiritual cooperation”.

Besides, he noted that the Russian Side objects to “Alena Adamkova’s recall from Kullu”. “During the ten years of her selfless, almost heroic service, she has done more than any man or woman could do to turn the Roerich museum into a pearl of the Himalayas”, emphasized the Head of Russia’s mission in India.

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