The newspaper «Times of India» announced that the legislative assembly of the state of Karnataka had proposed to allocate a part of the Tataguni estate where the famous Russian artist Svyatoslav Roerich lived for a dump.
The author of that so to speak “initiative” was M. Shrinivas, a former member of the parliament who is now a member of the legislative assembly from the opposition party Bharatiya Janata. He mentioned that the huge territory of 135 hectares belonged to the government and is located near Bangalore. Why could not 20 hectares be used to process the garbage?
That announcement did not go unnoticed in Roerich’s home country, in Russia. Alexander Stetsenko, deputy director of the International Roerich Center, recalls that the Tataguni estate became a famous scientific and cultural center back during the days when Svyatoslav Roerich and his wife, a movie actress Deviki Rani lived there. Painters, writers and actors from many countries of the world tried to visit them there. Thanks to the efforts of Svyatoslav Roerich the Academy of fine arts was founded in Bangalore that is still in operation.
“The mere idea of turning the place known as an oasis of culture into a dump for garbage processing is sacrilegious in itself! – Says Alexander Stetsenko. – We should not allow that to happen! The Roerichs worshiped India as their second motherland and did everything in order to strengthen the understanding between the Indians and the Russians. Svyatoslav Roerich’s paintings that were created in Tataguni and are stored there testify to that. The International Roerich Center intends to appeal to its public partner organizations in Karnataka, in Bangalore, with which we have been cooperating for years, with a request to preserve Tataguni. According to the will of Svyatoslav Roerich and Deviki Rani a park and other cultural projects were planned there. We hope and we believe that their will will be observed,” says Alexander Stetsenko.
Svyatoslav Roerich’s paintings and those of his famous father Nokolai Roerich who glorified the Himalayas, are widely represented in the Moscow State Museum of Oriental Art. There the news from Bangalore was received with great surprise. Vladimir Rosov, the curator of the museum exposition of the Roerich family is perplexed. How could such an inappropriate idea about the heritage of the Roerich family that became the symbol of the Indian-Russian cooperation even be voiced?
“Last year I visited Karnataka as a member of the delegation of the Volga town of Samara, – points out Vladimir Rosov. – Bangalore and Samara are sister cities and are successfully developing their economic and cultural ties. In the course of the meetings with the officials of Bangalore, with the representatives of the artistic world, with the local citizen we heard the most respectful and kind words about the Roerichs, a high appraisal of their works, as well as the plan to preserve and popularize their heritage. We felt that the Indian people have reverence towards the Roerichs. The officials informed us about the decision made to enlarge the art gallery Karnataka Chitrakala Parishad, founded in the 1980s by Svyatoslav Roerich. The authorities of the state are planning to set up a special complex there where they would exhibit the paintings and other materials about the art of the Roerichs. Given this mood, the proposal to turn Tataguni into a dump is unlikely to get approval,” supposes Vladimir Rosov.
According to the latest announcements, the Municipal Corporation of Bangalore stated that the implementation of M. Shrinivasa’s idea was not possible. R. Ashoka, the deputy minister of Karnataka stated that there would be no dump on Tataguni territory. «Roerich made Bangalore famous with his works, – he stressed. – We have plenty of other places for the dump».
The Voice of Russia