Seminar on “Global Importance of Roerichs’ Cultural Heritage” at the RCSC in New Delhi

A Seminar-cum-Panel Discussion on the theme “The Global Importance of the Roerichs’ Cultural Heritage” was held at the Russian Centre of Science and Culture (RCSC) in association with the Forum of Indian Photographers and Artists (FIPA) on May 30, 2017. Distinguished speakers such as Dr. Susmita Lakhyani, Associate Professor in Arts, Department of Education, Delhi University, Ms. Harsh Inder Loomba, Research Fellow (Social Impact of Art), Ministry of Culture, Government of India, Dr. Suman Dudeja, Associate Professor, Chemistry, ARSD College, Delhi University, and Ms. Juhi Kumar, Artist, addressed the seminar.. The scholars, who are experts in Roerich philosophy, presented in their own perspectives the significant contribution made by the Roerichs’ family, which assumed new dimension in the legacy left by the Roerichs in the Indian life, history and culture. Mr. Vimal S. Mehta, noted artist and President of FIPA, was the moderator.

Ms. Harsh Loomba traced the ancestral background of Nicholas Roerich, the first Russian Cultural Ambassador to India, eminent Russian painter, writer, archaeologist, theosophist, an enlightener, philosopher and public figure. She added that he was influenced by a movement in Russian society around the spirit and interested in the hypnosis and other spiritual, practices, and his paintings are said to have hypnotic expression.

Ms. Juhi Kumar brought into focus the contributions of Helena Roerich, philosopher, writer and public figure, who in cooperation with the teachers of East Philosophic teaching, brought out Living Ethics (Agni Yoga) and Foundation of Buddhism in 1926. Helena undertook the expeditions and explorations with husband Nicolas. She described Yuri Roerich as the prominent 20th century Tibetologist, and known for his monumental translation of  Blue Annals and 11-volumeS Tibet-Russian-English Dictionary.

Dr. Susmita Lakhyani narrated as to how Nicholas was influenced by the works of Sree Ramakrishna, Vivekananda, Rabindranath Tagore and Bhagavat Gita. The famous Asian Expedition of 1923-1929 was a turning point in his life. He received Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi at Kullu. In 1928, the family settled in Kullu. He established the Urusvati Himalayan Research Institute at Darjeeling in 1928, which later moved to Naggar, Kullu Valley.. On April 15, 1935, the Roerich Pact was signed by Nations of Americas members of Pan American Union. He Died in Naggar on December 13, 1947 and buried there.

Dr. Suman Dudeja in her observation described different perspective of the colour combination of Nicholas’s paintings, their harmony, rhythm, etc. She underlined the preservation of cultural heritage through the Roerich Pact. Pointing out that Helena was the backbone of Nickolas in all his expeditions and explorations, underscored the vibrant spirit and dynamic essence of Agni Yoga. She described Svyatoslav Roerich as a prominent painter. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru awarded him the International Award. Padma Bhushan was conferred on him later. His paintings of Nehru and Indira Gandhi adorn the Central Hall of the Indian Parliament House. He married Devika Rani, the first lady of Indian screen. He devoted his life to preserve the heritage and legacy of the mystical family.

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