CONTRIBUTIONS OF ROERICH’S FAMILY REMEMBERED

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Prominent scholars in the Capital were unanimous in emphasising the significant contributions made by the Roerich’s family serving as a cultural bridge between Russia and India. They were addressing a Seminar titled “Roerich’s Family: Cultural Bridge between Russia and India” organised by the Russian Centre of Science and Culture (RCSC) in New Delhi on October 24, 2019. The seminar was organised to mark the 145th Birth Anniversary of the famous Russian painter, writer and philosopher Nicholas Roerich and 115th Birth Anniversary of his son Svetoslav Roerich. As part of the celebration, an Exhibition of Painting by children of the Art School of RCSC “Roerich’s Landscapes through the Eyes of Children” was on display in the premises. The screening of the film “Time to Gather Stones” was also held after the seminar.

The distinguished participants of the seminar were Prof. Lokesh Chandra, Chairman of the Executive Council of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, Teen Murti Bhavan, New Delhi, Prof. Ramadhikari Kumar, former Founder President of INDAPRYAL and former Rector, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Prof. Sankar Basu, President of DAASAI, former Chairman, Centre of Russian Studies, Prof. Hem Chandra Pande, former Professor of Jawaharlal Nehru University, and Mr. Gurinder Singh, Chief Editor of Indian Observer. Mr. Deepak Singh, President, Indo-Russian Journalists Association, Mr. Fedor Rozovskiy, Director, RCSC, was present at the seminar. Mr. Pal Bodoch-Szabo, Director, Cultural Counsellor, Embassy of Hungary in New Delhi, was a special guest.

After the welcome address by Mr. Vasilii Shagap, Chief Coordinator, Information & Culture, RCSC, in her introductory remarks, Ms. Tatiana Perova, Head of the Russian Language Teachers’ Training Centre, RCSC, traced the legacy of the Roerich’s family and dwelt at length the spirited efforts taken in establishing the Roerich Memorial Trust at Naggar, Kullu, Utter Pradesh.

The Chief Guest Prof. Lokesh Chandra paying glowing tributes to Nicholas Roerich recalled his first encounter with him in 1940 describing him as a great Rishi, who propounded glorious idea on Indian heritage in the international dimension. He referred to the Tibetology contemplated by the Roerichs and the famous dictionary as an asset presented to the world. “His cultural preservation was to inspire generations over the centuries to come with the gradual evolution of the creative genius of humanity. Along with the racial affinity with the Orient, Roerich had an intellectual and aesthetic unison with India through his beliefs which he shared with the old Rishis of this land. He lived in the Himalayas for years and seems to have captured the spirit of the mountains, portraying their ever-changing moods and colours. He designed the distinctive Banner of Peace to be placed on objects to be protected.” Prof, Lokesh Chandra noted.

Prof. Ramadhikari Kumar, pointed out that Russian painters, unlike others, are bent upon promoting a humanitarian ideology, philosophical ideas, serving themselves as great visionaries infusing the spirit of legacy and cultural heritage. In this context, the Roerich’s family stand out as an outstanding genius, he said.

Prof. Sankar Basu underlined the historic role played by the Roerich family in strengthening Indo-Russian cultural relations. He described Roerich painting as unique and unsurpassed, majestic and visual metaphors, adding that Nicholas Roerich had painted over 7000 works which are presented in famous museums across the world.

Prof. Hem Chandra Pandey in his learned observation brought into focus many a traveller right from Afanasy Nikitin who were virtual explorers and who were less known, but their signal contributions went a long way in guiding the humanity. He stressed the imperative in preserving the legacy left by the Roerich family.

Narrating the diverse artistic works and underscoring the philosophical character of the Roerichs, Mr. Gurinder Singh described Nicholas’ special talent for literature, theosophy, Vedanta, Buddhism, architecture, archaeology, design, etc. He also threw light on the interest and work done by Helena, wife of Nicholas Roerich, in Indian Vedas, Upanishad, etc. He made a special reference to Svetoslav Roerich who took pains in the preservation and protection of the ancient Indian cultural monuments.

Hailing Nicholas Roerich as a Maha Rishi, Mr. Deepak Singh, Editor of Indian Observer and President of Indo-Russian Journalists Association, narrated how Dalai Lama treated him with due reverence, and underscored the spiritual and philosophic idealism followed by the Roerichs that served as s guiding spirit for not only the people of India but to the entire humanity.

The seminar was followed by an excursion to the Roerich Museum of the RCSC.

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