International Roerich Trust mired in controversySeptember 29th, 2010 - 5:20 pm ICT by IANS
Shimla, Sep 29 (IANS) A member of the International Roerich Memorial Trust, which takes care of Russian painter and philosopher Nicholas Roerich’s estate in Himachal Pradesh to preserve his art and knowledge, has cast aspersions on its functioning.
Not painting a rosy picture, Shakti Singh Chandel has shot off a communication to Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, who is ex-officio president of the trust, raising serious issues ranging from financial irregularities to mismanagement.
Chandel told IANS that the trust, which also comprises Russian ambassador to India Alexander Kadakin, is suffering from serious mismanagement and financial irregularities.
“The trust suffers from serious mismanagement. Financial irregularities are not set right. There is no rule of law in its working and misconduct, arbitrariness as also defiance of the laid-down instructions by some of its employees have become the order of the day,” Chandel said in the letter Tuesday.
“The meetings of the board of trustees and executive committee are not being held regularly, resulting in a complete chaos and disorder. I term the failure as a breach of trust by the trustees who have failed to perform their duty as imposed by relevant law under the Indian Trust Act, 1882,” he added.
“Despite a huge financial grant of Rs.2 crore given by former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the trustees have painfully betrayed the author of the trust in carrying out duties,” the letter said.
A senior government official, requesting anonymity, said the last meeting of the board of trustees was held in July 2006, whereas under the provisions of the trust it should be held at least once a year.
“As per regulations, the executive committee should meet four times in a year. Only two meetings were held in 2008, whereas no meeting was held in 2009. The minutes of the only meeting held this year June 3 have not been issued so far,” the official said.
The trust originally founded by Roerich’s daughter-in-law, the late Devika Rani - the first megastar of the early Indian cinemaho married in October 2005 Svyatoslav Roerich, also a renowned painter like his father - was registered under the Indian Trusts Act of 1882 in April 1993.
Under some misconception, the trustees dissolved the trust and re-registered it in October 2005 under the Societies Registration Act of 1860.
Sources in the state government said even Kadakin, who has been closely associated with the Roerich family, has taken a serious view of the trust dissolution and recently written to Dhumal to get the trust restored to its original status.
The new trust has 19 members, including six Russians.
The Roerich estate is located in Naggar, 25 km away from Kullu town.
Roerich came down to Naggar in 1927 from St. Petersburg and made the tiny village his home for more than 20 years.
His wife Helena, a famous writer, and sons Yuri, a prominent Oriental scholar, and Svyatoslav, a well-known painter, and his daughter-in-law Devika Rani also stayed with him in Naggar.
After settling down in the small village, he started a world movement to protect cultural monuments, later embodied in the International Roerich Pact signed in 1954 by more than 60 countries.
Roerich, who died in Naggar Dec 13, 1947, painted more than 7,000 paintings in his lifetime.
His estate comprises the premises of the Indian-Russian Memorial Complex, the Gallery of N.K. Roerich, Helena Roerich Arts College and exhibition halls in the buildings of the Urusvati Himalayan Folk Art Museum.
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- Roerich estate has 37 rare paintings of Russian painter - Sep 18, 2012
- Roerich Trust official has valid visa, says police now - Feb 28, 2012
- Roerich row: Russia seeks Indian government's intervention - Apr 23, 2012
- Roerich Trust ex-official summoned in visa case - Feb 27, 2012
- Roerich museum curator quits - Sep 09, 2012
- Rose garden, art gallery at Roerich's Bangalore estate - Jul 06, 2012
- Roerich row: Himachal counters Russian embassy remarks - Apr 25, 2012
- Russia confers top award on Roerich trust head - Jan 06, 2011
- Apex court upholds Karnataka's takeover of Devika Rani's estate (Lead) - Aug 10, 2011
- Supreme Court upholds Karnataka's acquisition of Devika Rani's estate - Aug 09, 2011
- Roerich fans pay tribute to Russian artist in Naggar - Oct 10, 2009
- Roerich paintings' theft: Court writes to British home office - Jan 17, 2012
Tags: arbitrariness, art and knowledge, aspersions, bihari vajpayee, breach of trust, chandel, chief minister, crore, financial irregularities, former prime minister, indian trust, memorial trust, mismanagement, nicholas roerich, prime minister atal bihari, relevant law, rs 2, russian ambassador, russian painter, trust act