Himachal govt fails to remove foreigner from Roerich museum, Kullu

Shimla: Getting tough over taking possession of Roerich Museum at Naggar, Kullu, the Himachal government armed with a termination order of Alena Adamkova, yesterday failed to remove her from the property.

Moutain Lake Baralacha Pass 1944

When contacted BM Nanta, deputy commissioner Kullu said, “termination orders of Alena Adamkova have been received and we are acting upon the directions of the state government.”

However, sources disclosed that a team headed by additional district magistrate RK Purthi of Kullu along with curator of Shimla museum who went to take charge of the Roerich Museum on Tuesday and to serve a termination order on the foreigner who has served as curator at the Naggar estate for over 10 years failed to do so as she refused to hand over charge. When contacted, Purthi refused to comment.

No senior government official was willing to comment and efforts to contact chief secretary Rajwant Sandhu were turned down till late evening on the grounds that an important meeting was on. Sources privy to the matter revealed that the government was contemplating arresting Adamkova and asking for her deportation from the country.

The government is in a bind about action to be taken against the foreigner as it was bound to raise a diplomatic furor for the International Roerich Memorial Trust that manages the Naggar estate has foreigners including the Russian Ambassador Alexander M. Kadakin on its board.

With allegations of mismanagement of the trust property cropping up and one lifetime trustee Shakti Singh Chandel having demanded a CBI probe into its functioning, the Indian trustees with Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal as its ex-officio president have refused to renew the employment visa of Alena Adamkova.

The Roerich’s multi crore estates at Kullu and Bangalore were converted into trusts in 1992 for management purposes by Devika Rani, an actress of yesteryears who was married to Svetoslav Roerich, son of the great philosopher artist Nicholas Roerich.

With the Karnataka High Court in July 2002 having struck down foreigners being allowed to act as trustees on the IRMT, Bangalore trust under the Indian Trusts Act, a ruling that was upheld by the Supreme Court in August 2011, legality of trustees of Russian origin permitted on IRMT Kullu have been raised.

A prolific artist Roerich (1874-1947), with thousands of paintings to his credit, is exhibited in all well known museums and art galleries across the globe. Having traveled extensively in America, Europe and Central Asia, the master artist finally came to settle at Naggar in 1929.

Though a 1996 catalogue is said to show 38 works by Nicholas Roerich at Naggar but the IRMT website put the count at 37.  These paintings on permanent display at the museum alone are said to be valued anywhere between Rs 50 Crore to Rs 100 crore.

As Editor, Ravinder Makhaik leads a team of media professionals at Hill Post. Spanning a career of over two decades in mass communication, as a Documentary Filmmaker, TV journalist, Print Media journalist and with Online & Social Media, he brings with him a vast experience. He lives in Shimla.

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4 Comments

  1. says: Panki Sood

    Alena is a wonderful caretaker and devoted her life and i dont think she has misused the TRUST in any manner …She is good and i would support her for her work ….

  2. says: Dharam

    Roerich Gallery once home to a famous Russian artist Roerich who loved Himalayas! It is only befitting that Alena, a Russian, takes care of it. We should grow up and it is time that we start respecting international commitments and cultures.

  3. says: Kirti

    I met Alena n she told that she was a close family friend to Svetoslav Roerich and that Svetoslav wanted her to take care of this estate after him, so only for that trust on het, she left her personal family life n flew to India to take care of the trust and one who works hard, there are people who are jealous from her hard work..And superb persona…Because some people can never compete…Alena Adamkova was a wonderful person n she brought the art gallery from woody nature tormented ruins to a wonderful resonating art Galleria…..No one in honesty compares to Alena Adamkova. People want to eat n sell the land of the trust, that’s why they defamed her, but m sure, the existence had a habit of Alena there in those Naggar mountains. They will call her back..

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