Russia ready to help in realising dreams

Alexander M Kadakin
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to the Republic of India.

This is a tangible triumph of justice for all of us – the judgment protects the dignity of the Indian and Russian governments and Karnataka’s state administration. This is a triumph of all honest and committed admirers of the unique Russian family and of those who had been persistently trying to prevent the Estate from falling into the hands of dark and unscrupulous personalities – Indian and foreign hoaxers, local “liquor barons” and “land sharks”. Russia is earnestly interested in the preservation of the priceless legacy of the Roerichs. The Supreme Court’s verdict opened up the path for fulfillment of Svetoslav Roerich’s dream to set up in Tataguni a cultural-cum-natural reserve, which would be open to Bangaloreans and numerous tourists from India and abroad.

I have been a personal friend of Roe­rich and Devika Rani for almost a quarter of a century. Svetoslav shared his dreams with me and my colleagues many times. He visualised the future of the Estate, not only as a museum, but rather as a vibrant spring of creative quest, a special spiritual place for the merited and young artists, admirers and connoisseurs of the Roerichs’ heritage to mingle, a venue for exhibitions and scientific seminars.

The Russian side and the State government have always insisted that the paintings of Svetoslav and masterpieces of art collected by him and Devika Rani should be on display for general public. Svetoslav had planned to set up an International Academy of Fine Arts in the Estate. The Russian side is ready to provide experts and all other assistance, including sponsorship. We have highly qualified specialists who could share with the Indian colleagues their experience of museum science, who could participate in setting up the exhibits, in chalking out pro­g­rammes for the International Art Centre.

We have already received proposals to finance the restoration of Svetoslav’s paintings, which, despite miraculously surviving the long ‘imprisonment’, are now in a dilapidated state, as well as for their subsequent conservation and exposition of the collection. We can rely on material and financial support coming not only from the state resources, but also from joint Indo-Russian enterprises. Incidentally, one of such structures – AFK “Systema”, which is successfully working in the Indian market for quite some time – has already declared its intention to join efforts to restore the paintings.

The Roerich family’s spiritual and cultural heritage represents one of the bridges, connecting Russian and Indian nations with invisible but ever so strong links. It cements our bonds of friendship and co-operation, adds to them unique depth and versatility. That is why it is so natural that we consider it possible for the Russian side to participate in the establishment and activities of the memorial complex in Tataguni, just as it happens in Roerich Memorial Complex at Naggar in Kullu. This was brought one and a half year ago under the honorary patronage of the co-chairs of the Indo-Russian Inter-Governmental Commission with Russia’s Vice-Premier Sergei Ivanov and India’s External Affairs Minister S M Krishna as patrons-in-chief.

I believe we should move without delay in working out a special format of Indo-Russian interaction, to unite both the complexes under one governing structure. Such a joint initiative is truly justified and would help preserve Roerichs’ legacy, which remains of great validity and relevance, not only to the people of our two countries but for entire humankind.

The Embassy of the Russian Federation has always been in close touch with Karnataka Government on matters related to Tataguni. We intend to continue
co-operation in future as well. We highly appreciate the efforts of the local admini­stration to protect the Estate. I would like to specially emphasize the great role played by the former government in-charge of the Estate Nila Manjunath and its present curator Mujeeb Ahmad.

The Russian Embassy in New Delhi will closely interact with the Central Government of India. The court verdict was declared only recently. We are quite happy and inspired by the positive reaction to the verdict from the External Affairs Ministry and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations. We shall continue to work toget­her with them. I am sure we will be able to find best options to make our plans a reality. Just imagine – the
International Roerich Memorial Trust in the Himalayan Kullu Valley will proudly celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2012! What remarkable achievements one can score when the efforts of two nations are united! 

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