News of the Branch

15.01.2015

The ICR exhibition “The Roerich Pact. History and Modernity” in Gandhinagar







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The ICR exhibition “The Roerich Pact. History and Modernity” has opened in Gandhinagar, the capital of Gujarat, in the Indian Legal History Museum of the Gujarat National Law University (GNLU).

Gujarat is the westernmost state of India, whose history stretches for more than four and a half thousand years and covers a great number of eras, dynasties and civilizations. In the remote antiquity in 3300-1300 BC Gujarat was one of the centers of the Harappan civilization – once of the three most ancient civilizations on earth along with the Ancient Egypt and Sumer. The land of Gujarat remembers Mauryas and Guptas emperors. It witnessed the rise and flourishing of Islam and the process colonial subjugation. Gujarat is also one of the spiritual centers of the country. Its historic and cultural monuments, its creations of the craftsmen of antiquity reflect all cultures and religions of India. Incidentally, it is here that Mt. Girnar studded with ancient Jain temples and depicted on the famous painting by Svetoslav Roerich is situated.

Gujarat is the native place of Mahatma Gandhi. In the 20th century it was one of the hubs of the Indian independence movement. The name of Narendra Modi, the recently elected Prime Minister of India, is closely associated with the state. He headed it between 2001 and 2014 and did a lot for its development.

The Gujarat National Law University was founded on the initiative of Narendra Modi in 2003. A sizeable junk of land on the fringe of Gandhinagar was allotted for its development. GNLU and the four educational institutions located nearby have formed a sort of “knowledge corridor” where students from all corners of India come to study.

The University cooperates with several educational institutions in Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Denmark, Malaysia, Israel, the Netherlands and Mauritius. It publishes the Gujarat Law Journal and the GNLU Journal of Law Development and Politics, and is considered one of the most prestigious institutions in the country. On the initiative of the University administration and with the government support the Legal History Museum, the first of its kind in India, has been founded. Reflecting the 5000 years of development of Indian civilization and culture in the field of judiciary and administration of justice and inspiring future generations with high humanistic ideas is among its lofty objectives. And even though at present the concept of the museum is still being developed and its collections formed, the opening of the ICR exhibition “The Roerich Pact, History and Modernity” in its premises has become the first and meaningful step in the realization of these plans.

The idea of holding the exhibition dedicated to the Roerich Pact in the still empty halls of the museum belongs to its Head and Curator Dr. Indubala Nahakpam. Having attended the exhibition in the Peace Palace in The Hague on April, 2014, Dr. Nahakpam made everything in her power to host the international exhibition project in her museum.

The grand opening ceremony of the exhibition in GNLU took place on January 6, 2015. The Director of the University Prof. (Dr.) Bimal Patel welcomed the guests with the following words:

 “It is important to realize that the Roerich Pact was only the first step towards the future development of a new legal culture in the 21st century. All written laws must conform to the universal unwritten principles of morality, fairness, and justice, equality, autonomy, dignity, and respect that is known as a higher law theory. The concrete conceptual provisions of Roerich’s philosophical and legal concept of the state are based on the one of rule according to higher law ideas that the primary duty of the state is to sustain and develop the spiritual unity of its citizens by carefully preserving the best specimens of national cultural heritage, promoting universal culture and spiritual growth of all people, especially the young ones. At that, the major share of profits received by the state should be directed at the development of culture, which, as it was already mentioned, would lead to a further growth of economic prosperity.”

The Director of the University noted in his speech that all activities of Nicholas Roerich reflected a universal truth and opened new horizons of beauty and perfection, as well as corresponded to the mutual aspirations of two great nations – Russia and India – and the spirit of their time-tested friendship, which has reached a new level of special and privileged strategic partnership.

Addressing the gathering Mr. Sergey Karmalito, Senior Counsellor of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in India, remarked that “displaying the ICR exhibition in one of the most developed states of India has a deeply symbolic meaning. During the meeting between the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin and the Prime Minister Narendra Modi last December both leaders highlighted the necessity of the regional cooperation between our countries. The cultural and humanitarian interaction form inalienable part of this cooperation.”

Mr. Om Prakash Kohli, Governor of Gujarat and the Guest of Honour at the event mentioned in his address that “I am happy to know that the Indian Legal History Museum, GNLU in collaboration with the International Centre of the Roerichs, ICR Russia, bring this beautiful exhibition titled “The Roerich Pact: History & Modernity” in these premises. Nicholas Roerich who worked in the field of peace and harmony to protect the cultural and historical monuments against the destruction by war and military is a legend. As an archaeologist and art historian he was aware of and determined to draw attention of the public to the necessity of protecting and preserving cultural treasures. Many of his first paintings were on religious themes and the word “treasure” figured prominently in their titles and contents. In his Himalayan paintings one most easily finds evidence of the loftiness of spirit and sense of mission, a spiritual goal that humanity must set for itself. Finally, he believed that peace on earth was a prerequisite of planetary survival and the continuing process of spiritual evolution by uniting in the common language of beauty and knowledge.”

Mrs. Larisa Surgina, the ICR representative at the function and the Russian Curator at the International Roerich Memorial Trust, Naggar, Kullu, Himachal Pradesh mentioned that “Having realized the meaning of the seemingly simple phrase “Peace through Culture,” Nicholas Roerich and his family devoted their entire life to the propagation of this idea. Apart from being an artist, scholar and thinker, Nicholas Roerich was a first-class lawyer, which enabled him to propose and draft at the end of 1930s the Treaty on the Protection of Artistic and Scientific Institutions and Historic Monuments, which came to be known as the Roerich Pact. And it is highly significant that the Gujarat National Law University whose motto borrowed from the Vedas and inscribed on its logo says “Let the noble thoughts come to us from all directions!” has become one of the Indian route points of the international exhibition “The Roerich Pact. History and Modernity.”

On behalf and on the instruction of the International Centre of the Roerichs the Banner of Peace was presented to the Gujarat National Law University represented by its Director Prof. (Dr.) Bimal Patel as a symbol of the highest humanistic ideas of mankind and an appeal to the realization of Peace through Culture.

 

 


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