THE ROERICH PACT and THE BANNER OF PEACE
There are periods in the history of the world when some great new ideas are introduced, beneficial for the whole of mankind and they always mark the beginning of a new era with far-reaching effects, creating new conditions of life. The man in the street is not always aware of the great importance of such turning points in history. However, as human consciousness expands and as man finds himself more and more a conscious co-worker in the great cultural, religious, artistic and endless other fields of world constructiveness, it becomes imperative that he pay attention to, urge and support these great movements which improve life as a whole.
The most important new contribution to this improvement of world conditions is the Roerich Pact and Banner of Peace. The Roerich Pact and Banner of Peace is a new path to international unity and permanent, world peace. The Pact is an open treaty for all governments to sign and the Banner of Peace is the rallying flag of this pan-humanistic movement.
This publication is issued at the present time in an effort to focus public attention on this most urgent and noble project — already approved and signed by many countries.
THE ROERICH PACT AND BANNER OF PEACE COMMITTEE, NEW YORK, N. Y.
THE ROERICH PACT and THE BANNER OF PEACE
The Roerich Pact and Banner of Peace was created and promulgated by Nicholas Roerich, for the protection of the treasures of human genius. It provides that educational, artistic, religious and scientific institutions, as well as all sites of cultural significance, shall be deemed inviolable, and respected by all nations in times of war and peace.
On April 15, 1935 this Pact was signed in the White House, in the presence of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, by the representatives of twenty-one Governments of North, Central and South America.
The Roerich Pact and Banner of Peace Committee New York, N. Y. 1947
Call To World Unity
With each crisis in history man has paused to take inventory of the facts and issues of the day. This is an opportune time to reflect upon the enormity of World War II and its global devastation. We find there is no longer a national insurance against war. Nations can no longer seek immunity from war in their geographical barriers. Mountains, oceans and climes are no longer obstacles to modern science. Wars cannot be prevented by interdicts, disarmaments, nor large standing armies. In the wake of World Way II there are millions of people dead, crippled and diseased, wanton destruction of property and barbarous vandalism. More than a year after the war's termination the world is still a fused keg of dynamite ready to explode at the faintest spark. Today the common man knows, for the first time, there can be no peace without a world peace.
How can this be obtained? What is the foundation of World Peace? The answer lies in the oft-preached, seldom practised — "Know Thy Neighbor". This ageless teaching must be practised now, more than ever before, to establish the world peace for which so many gave to the last measure. It could be done if we were to live among our global neighbors. Obviously it is unpractical. However, in the absence of the desired personal contact the knowledge necessary for mutual understanding can be secured through Culture. Availing a people's constructive genius to others is the basis of — "Knowing Thy Neighbor". Esteem and appreciation of this Culture can insure the common understanding necessary to unity and permanent peace.
Culture belongs to no one man, group, nation or era. It is the mutual property of all mankind and the heritage of generations. It is the constructive creation of human endeavor. It transcends all obstacles, prejudices and intolerances. It is the highest perception of Beauty and Knowledge. Without Culture there is no truth, no unity, no peace.
The creative mind and its equally important sponsors are aware of Culture's omnipotence as the sole instrument for permanent world peace. In the same breath Culture must be availed to and sponsored by all mankind and generations. It must be made sacred and inviolate to the human mind and hand. It is to the fulfillment of this beneficent goal that humanity must dedicate itself.
Our past is filled with deplorably sad and irreparable destructions. Not only in times of war but in times of peace, creations of human genius are destroyed. At the same time the elite of humanity understand that no evolution is possible without the accumulations of Culture. The ways of Culture are untold and difficult. Hence, the more carefully one must guard the paths which lead to it. It is this generation's duty to create for the younger generation the traditions of Culture for there, where Culture is, there is Peace.
Mankind must strive for Culture's Day of Triumph. This will occur when, simultaneously in all schools and all educational institutions, the world will be reminded of the true treasures of humanity, of creative heroic enthusiasm, of a richer and fuller life. The ennobled consciousness, having contacted the Realm of Culture, will naturally enter upon the path of peaceful construction, discarding as shameful rubbish all belittlement of human dignity created by ignorance. For this purpose our cultural heritage must be safeguarded by all available means. These treasures must be consciously valued, remembering that every contact with them will ennoble the spirit. The one pan-human desire is to make inviolate the cultural achievements of mankind and thus insure permanent unity and peace, the world over.
Material effort and endeavor in this fulfillment is not new. This goal had its inception in 1929 when the Roerich Peace Pact proposed a special Banner of Peace for the protection of all cultural treasures. An International Congress for the Roerich Pact and Banner of Peace was established with its central seat in Bruges, Belgium. This agency was spreading the ideals of Peace through Culture with most significant results. It proved conclusively how close this aim is to the hearts of all positive people of the world.
The lists of adherents to the Banner of Peace are long and glorious. The Banner has been consecrated already. Sacred oaths have been offered to introduce it everywhere. This ideal must continue to its complete fulfillment. The late President Franklin D. 'Roosevelt in 1955 said of the Roerich Peace Pact, "This treaty possesses a spiritual significance far deeper than the text of the instrument itself." The Roerich Pact for the protection of cultural treasures is needed not only as an official regulation, but as an educating law which, from the first school days, will imbue the young generation with the noble idea of safeguarding the true values of all humanity. If condemns not only the destruction of Culture in war but also all the barbaric acts by which the symbols of Culture are endangered in peace. The Pact instills unceasingly into the minds of our children, our grandchildren and all who surround us the impulse to strive toward constructive creation. Thus, it inscribes an essential page in the history of cultural achievements.
The Roerich Peace Pact has been justly named the Red Cross of Culture. Truly, it stands in closest relation to the great Red Cross which at the time of its inception was received rather skeptically, but now has become an undisputably humanistic foundation of life. If humanity recognized the Red Cross as a protection to the physically wounded and ill, then it will also recognize the Banner of Peace as the symbol of peaceful prosperity and health of spirit.
All cultural centers of the world should proclaim ceaselessly the call to the Roerich Pact and Banner of Peace, thus eliminating the very possibilities of war. There can be created for generations new lofty traditions of veneration for real cultural treasures. Untiringly, everywhere the Banner of Peace unfurling, the very physical fields of war will be destroyed.
Time is short! Not an hour nor day must be lost! Man's cultural heritage must be made inviolate. The ideals of the Roerich Peace Pact must be availed to all. Its text is a cultural covenant which is> i-he welding force necessary to world unity and peace. Under the Banner of Peace mankind will proceed towards the one Supreme Culture in powerful and peaceful union as the World League of Culture!
The Roerich Pact and Banner of Peace
(Aims and History)
The Banner of Peace, as is now well-known, is the symbol of the Roerich Pact. This great humanitarian ideal provides in the field of mankind's cultural achievements the same guardianship as the Red Cross provides in alleviating the physical sufferings of man. As Articles I and II of the Pact state:
Educational, artistic and scientific institutions, artistic and scientific missions, the personnel, the property and collections of such institutions and missions shall be deemed neutral and as such shall be protected and respected by belligerents. Protection and respect shall be due to the aforesaid institutions and missions in all places, subject to the sovereignty of the High Contracting Parties, without any discrimination as to the State Allegiance of any particular institution or mission. The Institutions, Collections and Missions thus registered may display a distinctive flag, which will entitle them to especial protection and respect on the part of the belligerents, of Governments and peoples of all the High Contracting Parties.
The design of the Banner of Peace shows three spheres surrounded by a circle in magenta colour on a white background. Of the many national and individual interpretations of this symbol, the most usual are perhaps those of Religion, An and Science as aspects of Culture which is the surrounding circle; or that of Past, Present and Future achievements of humanity guarded within the circle of Eternity. These two interpretations are equally good, for they represent a synthesis of life that is a true and just ruling precept.
An outline of the history of the Roerich Pact and Banner of Peace gives the following important milestones:
It was conceived and proposed by Professor Nicholas Roerich as early as 1904 to the Society of Architects, Russia and in 1914 during the war to Tzar Nicholas II and the Grand Duke Nicholas. In both cases it was received with highest interest but delayed owing to war. The project was formally promulgated in New York in 1929 according to the codes of International Laws; the text of the Pact having been drafted by Dr. Georges Chklaver, Doctor of International Law and Political Sciences of the Paris University. In the same year a committee of the Banner of Peace was founded in New York and its principles were published through the press. The following year similar committees were founded in Paris and Bruges; in the latter under the title Union Internationale pour le Pacte Roerich.
At the opening of a new Banner of Peace Committee Nicholas Roerich beautifully expressed the ideals of the Pact in the following words: "The world is striving towards Peace in many ways and every one realizes in his heart that this constructive work is a true prophesy of the New Era. Of course arguments about the comparative qualities of various kinds of shells or about the advisability of replacing the guns of two battleships by one ship of a newer type do not contribute harmoniously to constructive ideas of Peace. But let us hope that even these discussions are preliminary steps towards the same great concept of Peace which will take place, thanks to a taming of belligerent instincts of nations, by great brilliant creations of the Spirit. In the meantime the fact remains that shells from a few guns can destroy the greatest treasures of art and science as thoroughly as those of an entire fleet. We deplore the loss of the libraries of Louvain and Oviedo and the irreplaceable beauty of the Cathedral of Rheims. We remember the beautiful treasures of private collections which were lost during world calamities. But we do not want to inscribe on these deeds any words of hatred. Let us simply say: — Destroyed by human ignorance — rebuilt by human hope!
"Nevertheless, errors of one form or another may occur again and thus other valuable achievements of humanity remain in constant danger of being destroyed. Against such ignorant errors we must immediately take precautions and definite measures. Hence, let us protect, as sacred, the creative treasures of humanity. First of all, let us agree that, as with the Red Cross, the Banner may significantly summon the conscience of men to the protection of that which in essence belongs not to one nation alone, but to the entire world and constitutes the real pride of the human race."
In the autumn of 1931 there was held in Bruges, Belgium the first International Conference, which proved the great interest of many Governments and in the next year another enthusiastic World Conference took place in the same city. Thousands of approving opinions came from religious, educational, artistic, scientific and other cultural bodies and personages from all over the world. It is only right and fair to state that none of the world's great men hesitated to take part by voicing their approval. It is also of interest that the great military authorities (like the late Marshal Lyautey, Admiral Taussig, General Gouraud, etc) were in complete favor of the Pact. Mrs. William Sporborg, President of the New York Federation of Women's Clubs, representing half a million members, stated: "We are going to lend our spirits and all of out influence to such movements. I want you to know that we stand foursquare back of your organization."
The first volume of collected statements and letters was published in New York and Paris in 1931 under the tide, The Roerich Pact and Banner of Peace. During the next year in Bruges the Foundation Roerich pro Pace, Arte, Scientiae et Lahore was inaugurated after the session of' the Second International Conference in that city. The following year, 1933, saw the Third Convention of the Pact and Banner of Peace held on November 17 and 18 in Washington at the Hotel Mayflower, where thirty-five nations sent their representatives. This Convention unanimously passed the resolution to recommend the adoption of this humanitarian-measure to the Governments of all Nations for adoption or adhesion by unilateral action through proclamation of the executive, by bilateral action through international agreements and by multilateral action through declaration of international conferences.
Hardly a month later, the Seventh Conference of the Pan-American Union at Montevideo passed the unanimous resolution to accept the above and to urge their participants — the twenty-one governments of the North, Central and South Americas — to sign the Pact and thus apply its great principles to life. The Washington Convention of the Roerich Pact and Banner of Peace also elected a Committee for the Advancement of the Adoption of the Roerich Pact and Banner of Peace. This body negotiated with all Governments, organizations and individuals, interested in the promotion and adoption of the Pact and received their expressions of formal adherence. The proceedings of the Washington Convention have been published in New York in book-form.
The Paris Committee of the Pact was inaugurated. The Union Internationale pour le Pacte Roerich in Bruges elected M. Camille Tulpinck as its President and Prof. M. Adatci, former President of the International Court at the Hague, as its Protector.
The year 1934 saw the establishment of a Pact and Banner of Peace Committee in Harbin, Manchuria. A similar Committee was also inaugurated in Bruxelles with M. E. de Munck as President and M. Hendricks, Barrister, as General Secretary. Under participation of Count C. de Wiatt, Minister, the Governors of Luxembourg and Western Flanders, a member of the Chamber of Deputies and a member of the Court of Cassation joined the Committee. Many countries of Europe informed the Paris Committee that their respective governments had the Pact under consideration. This Committee also wrote to the Supreme Council, USSR requesting that legislative body's consideration for the Pact's adoption.
As regards the United States, President Franklin D. Roosevelt on August 11, 1934 officially empowered Secretary of Agriculture Henry A. Wallace as plenipotentiary to sign the Inter-American Treaty on the Roerich Pact; and on Pan-American Day, April 15,1935, at noon, in the office of President Roosevelt, at the White House in Washington, the official representatives of the United States of America and all the twenty Latin American countries — members of the Pan-American Union: Argentine, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Costa-Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El-Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Uruguay, Peru, Columbia and Venezuela — signed the Treaty of the Roerich Pact.
The American Press attached great importance to this sign of cultural unity and understanding which not only had united the whole of North and South America, but which it was expected would also shortly unite all the nations of the world. All leading American papers printed columns on the event, summarizing the Presidential address and speeches of the Government officials and foreign diplomatic representatives. Newspapers all over the world published the particulars of this historical occurrence.
The signing of this Treaty was a very solemn occasion. The President had invited to his office, besides the diplomatic representatives of the twenty American republics, also the Secretary of State, Cordell Hull; the Secretary of Agriculture, Henry A. Wallace; the Directors of the Pan-American Union, Dr. L. S. Rowe, and Dr. E. Gil Borges, and the Trustees of the Roerich Museum, members of the Committee of the Roerich Pact.
At the close of the signing. President Roosevelt delivered the following message in an international broadcast: "It is most appropriate that on this day, designated as Pan-American Day by the chief executives of all the republics of the American continent, the Governments — members of the Pan-American Union — should sign a treaty which marks a step forward in the preservation of the cultural achievements of the nations of this hemisphere. In opening this Pact to the adherence of the nations of the world, we are endeavoring to make of universal application one of the principles vital to the preservation of modern civilization. This Treaty possesses a spiritual significance far deeper than the text of the instrument itself. Let us bring renewed allegiance to those high principles of international cooperation and helpfulness, which, I feel assured, will be a great contribution to civilization by the Americas."
Secretary Wallace gave the following statement to the press, which after reviewing the history of the Pact, concludes: "At no time has such an ideal been more needed. While the individual nations are working out their separate economic and national problems, it is also necessary that they recognize their responsibilities as pare of the community of nations. I do say that it is high time for the idealists, who make the reality of tomorrow, to rally around such a symbol of international cultural unity. It is time we appeal to that appreciation of beauty, science and education which runs across all national boundaries to strengthen all that we hold dear in our particular governments and customs. It is for this reason that I regard the ratification of the Roerich Pact as so significant a step. Its acceptance signifies the approach of a time when those who truly love their own nation will appreciate in addition the unique contribution of other nations and also do reverence to that common spiritual enterprise which draws together in one fellowship all artists, scientists, educators and the truly religious of whatever faith. I believe that the Roerich Pact is in conformity with the deepest, most sacred laws of the Universe and that it has become an international reality at an especially propitious time."
The Minister of Panama, Dr. Ricardo J. Alfaro, declared: The historic act which has just taken place is one that marks a signal victory in the perennial struggle of the better sentiments of man against the ravages of war. Today the Republics of the Western hemisphere sought and attained the honour of carrying this lofty project to a successful conclusion. They have subscribed to a Covenant, open also to the signatures of all other nations, whereby for the first time in history the neutrality and protection of Culture are incorporated into one single and complete body of conventional international law."
In India, adherence to the Pact is expressed by such leading men as the late Sir Rabindranath Tagore, Sir Jagadis C. Bose, Sir S. Radhakrishnan, Sir C. V. Raman, Dr. James H. Cousins, Dr. Kalidas Nag, Prof. Suniti Kumar Chatterji, the late Prof. S.R. Kashyap, S.V. Ramasvamy Mudeliar, O.C. Gangoly, Asit Kumar Haldar, N.C. Mehta, the late Ven Sri Devamitta Dharmapala, K.P.P. Tampy, S. Sanjiva Dev, etc., and institutions like the Andhra Historical Research Institute, the Allahabad Municipal Museum, the Bharat Kala Bhawan in Benares, the Maha Bodhi Society, the Women's Indian Association, The Y.M.B.A. of Ceylon, the Madanapalle College, the Travancore Cultural Association, etc., and almost all the organs of the Press. The following two short quotations are expressive of the general enthusiastic attitude towards the Pact:
Mr. Gurdial Mallik of the League of Nation's Union wrote in the Sind Observer on Banner of Peace Day, after a short description of the aims: In the realization of this great and glorious ideal it is necessary to have the cooperation of the intelligentsia of the world to organize a strong public opinion in favour of the preservation of the artistic and cultural treasures of every country, so that mankind may have a continuous record of its achievement. To this .end it is desirable that the governments of the world should all ratify the Roerich Pact guaranteeing this preservation and treating these treasures as the heritage not of any particular nation, but of the whole of humanity and as such to be immune from the ravages of war and destruction.
Another distinguished writer, Swami Jagadiswarananda, states in a message to the Banner of Peace Convention: Let the present Convention of Art and Culture prove to warring nations of the world, by waving the Roerich Banner of Peace, that Art and Culture are the Divine property — the Universal Treasure of all mankind and write on the portal of every institution of the world — Help and not fight, assimilate and not destroy Harmony and Peace, and promote not dissension!
In October 1937 the Congress of Roerich Baltic Societies convened in Riga, Latvia. It passed the motion to create Banner of Peace Committees in all Baltic States.
The clouds of war began to darken the horizon. World War II was nearing. In a letter to Prof. Roerich, Sir Rabindranath Tagore wrote: I have keenly followed your great humanitarian work for the welfare of the nations of which your Peace Pact with a special Banner for protection of cultural treasures is a singularly effective symbol. The problem of peace is today the most serious concern. The ugly manifestations of naked militarism on all sides forebode an evil future. We can but hope that the world may emerge cleaner from this bath of blood. We cannot give up our efforts, for that would only hasten the end.
During the years of pre-war worries friends of the Pact steadfastly continued their efforts. On November 17, 1938 the Banner of Peace was unfurled also in Karachi, India, by Mr. H. C. Kumar.
Repeatedly up to the outbreak of war many newspapers and magazines carried Prof. Roerich's appeals for mankind to stay the impending destruction. And on the second day of World War II the press carried his message:
TO ALL DEFENDERS OF CULTURAL TREASURES
The thunder of the European War again demands that active attention should be paid to the defense of cultural treasures. A pact to this effect is under consideration by many of the European governments and has already been signed by representatives of twenty-one governments of the Americas. No doubt, since military operations have already begun, it is hardly to be expected that any agreement could take place during actual warfare. Yet the activities of our Committees should at all times be fruitful. Remembering the position in which the protection of cultural treasures was in the beginning of 1914, we must say that at present this important question has been given definitely much more attention by governments and public institutions. Doubtless the activities of our Committees have had a beneficial influence upon public opinion and have contributed to. such increase of attention. Besides government decrees public opinion is the first defender of national treasures which have a universal value. During the last great war we applied our utmost efforts to draw attention to the fact that it is criminal to destroy historical, scientific and artistic monuments. Then, during recent conflagrations, as for instance in Spain and China, we happened to hear that our Pact was mentioned and applied in some cases. Also all our Committees and groups of friends, to whom the preservation of world treasures is dear, should immediately draw the attention of the public to the importance and urgency of the protection of creations of human genius.
Each one of us has certain opportunities of spreading this pan-human idea. Everyone who has connections with the press or who is a member of some cultural organization should consider it his duty to say, wherever he can, a good and impressive word about the defense of that on which the evolution of humanity is based. On March 24th of this year, our Committee undertook a series of steps imploring European governments to consider without delay the need of defending cultural treasures. We see now that such an appeal was most timely. Let every cultural worker remember all his connections and possibilities in order to strengthen by all means public opinion which is, first of all, the guardian of world treasures. Friends, act urgently.
As is so often the case the best and noblest projects must struggle through the greatest difficulties, opposition and indifference before their value to the world is recognized. Such was the case with the formation of the Red Cross. The lessons of the Second War's immeasurable devastation have rallied more people to fill the empty ranks of departed friends — for death has taken from us President Masaryk of Czechoslovakia, Maeterlinck, Zuloaga, Princess Sviatopolk-Schetvertinskaya and many others from various countries. Committees for the first time are being inaugurated in Austria, Poland, Switzerland and Portugal and its Colonies, for the latter R.S. Fontes has been appointed official representative. New Honorary members are Professors A.G. deRocha Madahil and E. Schaub-Koch representing Portugal and Switzerland respectively.
On April 18,1946 the Sixth All-India Cultural Unity Conference convened in Calcutta. The Chairman, Pandit Amarnath Jha, proposed the adoption of the Pact. The resolution was unanimously passed.
The work of the Pact Committees, the world over, and of those to be continuously inaugurated, is keynoted in Prof. Roerich's message of October 24, 1945:
Our fears expressed at the beginning of World War II were justified. This war was unprecedentedly destructive and cruel. As an apotheosis of destruction arose the savage phantom of atomic bombs. It is quite natural that now the peaceful cultural work of Committees of the Pact and Banner of Peace should receive more recognition than ever before.
Verily, the Armageddon of war has ended, but the Armageddon of culture has just begun! So much is destroyed! Multitudes of people are homeless, many good works have been annihilated! At present, each peaceful construction must be heartily welcomed.
Where and how to begin? First of all with youth. Everyone can find approach to some school and say there a good word about the significance of cultural values and about safeguarding them. Youth often does not imagine that cultural values are the greatest folk treasures. The entire nation must know how to preserve them for future generations. Young co-workers will bring this call into their homes. Many hearts which are oppressed with everyday routine will be aglow with the blessed light and hope about the beautiful life.
The young co-workers will write school compositions about the peaceful labor in the name of national treasures. They will contribute to the data about the cultural monuments of all ages and nations, by collecting that which is to be found in their very district. The light of co-operation will illumine young minds. And probably also teachers will be found who will be attracted to cultural construction.
Also approach women's organizations, remembering how strongly they supported our Pact and Banner of Peace. There are many ways open to the defenders of Culture. No effort is too small to be overlooked. And in the books Fiery Stronghold and Realm of Light whole chapters are to be found, calls and responses about the preservation of cultural values, of the great pan-human treasures.
The toilers in the field of Culture must be encouraged as heroes of the resplendent future. Without fanfare, without arguments, without harmful reproaches we must again take into our hands the plow and start work on the new planting field. God-speed!
Culture and Peace
By NICHOLAS ROERICH
Culture is reverence of Light. Culture is love of humanity. Culture is fragrance, the unity of life and beauty. Culture is the synthesis of uplifting and sensitive attainments. Culture is the armour of Light. Culture is salvation. Culture is the motivating power. Culture is the Heart.
If we gather all the definitions of Culture we find the synthesis of active Bliss, the altar of enlightenment and constructive beauty.
Condemnation, disparagement, defiling, melancholy, disintegration and all other characteristics of ignorance do not befit Culture. The great tree of Culture is nourished by an unlimited knowledge, by enlightened labor, incessant creativeness and noble attainment. By study, esteem and admiration we become real cooperators with evolution and out of the brilliant rays of supreme Light may emerge true knowledge. This refined knowledge is based on real comprehension and tolerance. From this source comes the great understanding. And from the great understanding rises the Supremely Beautiful, the enlightening and refining enthusiasm for Peace.
Culture and Peace make man verily invincible and realizing all spiritual conditions he becomes tolerant and all-embracing. Each intolerance is but a sign of weakness. If we understand that every lie, every fallacy shall be exposed, it means that first of all a lie is stupid and impractical. But what has he to hide who has consecrated himself to Peace and Culture? Helping his near ones he helps general welfare which at all ages was appreciated. Striving to Peace he becomes a pillar of a progressing State. By not slandering the near ones we increase the productiveness of the common creativeness. By not quarrelling we shall prove that we possess the knowledge of the foundations. By not wasting time in idleness we shall prove that we are true co-workers in the plough-field of Culture. Finding joy in everyday's labour we show that the conception of Infinity is not alien to us. Not harming others we do not harm ourselves and eternally giving, we realize that in giving, we receive. This blessed receiving is not the hidden treasure of a miser. We understand how creative is affirmation and how destructive is negation. Amidst basic conceptions those of Peace and Culture are the conceptions which even a complete ignoramus will not dare to attack. There, where is Culture, is Peace. There, where is the right solution for the difficult social problems, is achievement.
Contemporary life is changing rapidly. The signs of a new evolution are knocking at all doors; In real unconventional science we feel the splendid responsibility before the coming generations. We understand gradually the harm of everything negative. We begin to value enlightened positiveness and constructiveness and in this measure, in merciful tolerance, we can prepare for our next generation a vital happiness, turning vague abstractions into beneficent realities.
What an epoch-making day might be before us when over all countries, all centres of spirit, beauty and knowledge could be unfurled the one Banner of Culture! This Sign would call everyone to revere the treasures of human genius, to respect culture and to have a new valuation of labour as the only measure of true values. From childhood people will witness that there exists not only a flag for human health but also there is a sign of peace and culture for the health of the spirit. This sign, unfurled over all treasures of human genius, will say: Here are guarded the treasures of all mankind, here above all petty divisions, above illusory frontiers of enmity and hatred, is towering the fiery stronghold of love, labour and all-moving creation.
On the scrolls of command it has been inscribed that a spiritual garden is daily in need of the same watering as a garden of flowers. If we still consider the physical flowers the true adornment of our life, then how much more must we remember and prescribe to the creative values of the spirit the leading place in the life which surrounds us? Let us then with untiring, eternal vigilance benevolently mark the manifestations of the workers of Culture Let us strive in every possible way to ease this difficult path of heroic achievement.
Let us also mark and find a place in our lives for the Great Ones, remembering that their name no longer is personal, with all the attributes of the limited ego, but has become the property of pan-human Culture, and must be safeguarded and firmly cared for under most benevolent conditions.
We shall thus continue their self-sacrificing labour and we shall cultivate their creative sowing which, as we see, is so often covered with the dirt of non-understanding and overgrown with the weeds of ignorance.
If you shall be asked, of what kind of country and of what a future constitution you dream, you can answer in full dignity: We visualize the country of Great Culture. The country of Great Culture shall be your noble motto. You shall know that in that country will be peace, where Knowledge and Beauty will be revered.
Everything created by hostility is impractical and perishable. The history of mankind gave us remarkable examples of how necessary just peaceful creativeness was for progress. The hand will tire from the sword but the creating hand sustained by the might of the Spirit is untiring and unconquerable. No sword can destroy the heritage of Culture. The human mind may temporarily deviate from the primary sources, but at the pre-destined hour it will realign itself with renewed powers of the spirit.
We are tired of destructions and negations. Positive creativeness is the fundamental quality of the human spirit. Let us welcome all those who, surmounting personal difficulties, casting aside petty selfishness, propel their spirits to the task of preserving Culture, thus insuring a radiant future.
From the medical world we know that the so-called vitalizing remedies cannot act suddenly. Even for the best vitalizer time is needed so that it can penetrate to all nerve centers, to stimulate them not only mechanically but truly to strengthen and revitalize the nerve substance. If we see in all examples of life the necessity of a certain period for the process of revitalization, then how undeferrably necessary it is to think and to begin to act under a sign like the Red Cross of Culture!
Humanity has become accustomed to the sign of the Red Cross. This beautiful symbol has penetrated life not only in times of war, but has afforded to all existence an affirmation of the concept of humanitarianism. And the same realization of humanitarianism, the same undeferrable necessity from small to great, must surround this sign of Culture similar to the Red Cross. One must not think of Culture at certain times when digesting the tasty food of a dinner. One should know that during hunger and cold it is also needed. As the sign of the Red Cross shines luminously to the wounded, so to the physically and spiritually famished should the Sign of Culture burn radiantly.
Is it now the time to obstruct, to protest, to disagree and to wrangle pettily? When a Red Cross Ambulance hurries through the streets all traffic stops to make way for it. likewise for the Sign of Culture let us also give up at least some of our usual habits and all the vulgar sediments and dusty limitations of ignorance from which, in any case, we will sooner or later have to purify ourselves.
Culture and Peace — the most sacred goal of Humanity' In these days of great confusion, both spiritual and material, the disturbed spirit strives to these radiant strongholds. But we should not unite only abstractly in the name of these regenerating conceptions. According to our abilities, each in his own field, we should bring them into actual surrounding life as the most necessary and undeferrable. We must not fear enthusiasm. Only the ignorant and the spiritually impotent would scoff at this noble feeling. Such scoffing is but the sign of inspiration for the true Legion of Honour. Nothing can impede us from dedicating ourselves to the service of Culture, so long as we believe in it and give to it our most flaming thoughts.
Above all confusions the Angels sing of Peace and Goodwill. No guns, no explosives can silence these choirs of heaven. And despite all the earthly wisdom, idealism, as the Teaching of Good, will still remain the quickest reaching and most renovating principle in life.
Banner of Peace Symbol
This sign of the triad which is to be found all over the world may have several meanings. Some interpret it as a symbol of past, present and future, enclosed in the ring of Eternity; others consider that it refers to religion, science and art, held together in the circle of Culture. But whatever be the interpretation the sign itself is of the most universal character.
The oldest of Indian symbols, Chintamani, the sign of happiness, is composed of this symbol and one can find it in the Temple of Heaven in Peking. It appears in the Three Treasures of Tibet; on the breast of the Christ in Memling's well-known painting; on the Madonna of Strasbourg; on the shields of the Crusaders and coat of arms of the Templars. It can be seen on the blades of the famous Caucasian swords known as "Gurda".
It appears as a symbol in a number of philosophical systems. It can be found on the images of Gessar Khan and Rigden Djapo; on the "Tamga" of Timurlane and on the coat of arms of the Popes. It is to be seen in the works of ancient Spanish painters and of Titian, and on the ancient ikon of St. Nicholas in Bari and that of St. Sergius and the Holy Trinity.
It can be found on the coat of arms of the city of Samarkand, on Ethiopian and Coptic antiquities, on the rocks of Mongolia, on Tibetan rings, on the breast ornaments of Lahul, Ladak and all the Himalayan countries, and on the pottery of the neolithic age.
It is conspicuous on Buddhist banners. The same sign is branded on Mongolian steeds. Nothing, then, could be more appropriate for assembling all races than this symbol, Which is no mere ornament but a sign which carries with it a deep meaning.
It has existed for immeasurable periods of time and is to be found throughout the world. No one therefore can pretend that it belongs to any particular sect, confession, or tradition, and it represents the evolution of consciousness in all its varied phases.
When it is a question of defending the world's treasures, no better symbol could be selected, for it is universal, of limitless antiquity and carries with it a meaning which should find an echo in every heart.
Formal draft of Roerich Pact and Banner of Peace,
Prepared by Dr. Georges Chklaver, August 1928
internaitonal pact for thb protection of
artistic AND scientific institutions, historic monuments, missions AND collections originated by nicholas roerich
BETWEEN THE HIGH CONTRACTING PARTIE.
The President of the United States of America.
The President of the German Republic.
His Majesty, the King of Great Britain, Ireland and of the British Dominions beyond the seas. Emperor of India.
The President of the French Republic.
His Majesty, the King of Italy
His Majesty, the Emperor of Japan.
Etc., Etc., Etc.
Whereas their high offices impart on them the sacred obligation to promote the moral welfare of their respective Nations and the advancement of Arts and Sciences in the common interest of Humanity,
Whereas the Institutions dedicated to the education of youth, to Arts and Sciences, constitute a common treasure of all the Nations of the World, Recalling the ideas sponsored by a wise and generous foresight which have guided the High Contracting Parties in framing the Geneva Convention of August 22nd, 1864, for the amelioration of the condition of the wounded,
The General Act of the Conference of Berlin of February 26th, 1885, which provides for a special protection to be accorded to scientific Expeditions,
The Final Acts of the Hague Conference of July 29th, 1899, and of October 18th, 1907, and especially Article 27 of the Annex of the IVth Convention of the Second Conference relative to the safety of buildings consecrated to Religion, to Arts, to Sciences and to Charity as well as to historic Monuments, in case of siege and bombardment.
Article II of the Convention of St. Germain-en-Laye of September 10th, 1919, confirming the above mentioned provisions of the General Act of Berlin of 1885, concerning the special solicitude to be granted by the High Contracting Parties to scientific Missions, to their equipment and to their Collections,
The Pact for the renunciation of War as an instrument of national policy signed at Paris on the 28th of August 1928;
Adopting the propositions of Professor Nicholas Roerich tending to create an efficient protection for all centers of Culture,
Hare resolved to conclude a solemn Pact with the aim of perfecting the protection enjoyed by all civilized countries by Institutions and Missions dedicated to Arts and Sciences, as well as by artistic and scientific Collections, and historic Monuments,
And have nominated for this purpose their respective Plenipotentiaries, to wit:
who, after having respectively presented their full powers in due and proper form, have agreed as follows:
The historic Monuments, educational, artistic and scientific Institutions, artistic and scientific Missions, the personnel, the property and collections of such Institutions and Missions above mentioned shall be deemed neutral and, as such, shall be protected and respected by belligerents.
Protection and respect shall be due to the aforesaid Institutions and Missions in the entire expanse of territories subject to the sovereignty of the High Contracting Parties, without any discrimination as to the State allegiance of any particular Institution or Mission.
Bach of the High Contracting Parties may furnish to the Registrar of the Permanent Court of International Justice at the Hague, to the International Institute of Intellectual Cooperation at Paris or to the Educational Department of the Pan-American Union of the City of Washington, as it may choose, a list of Monuments, Institutions, Collections and Missions, either public or private, which it desires to place under the special protection provided for by the present Pact.
The Monuments, Institutions, Collections and Missions thus registered may display a distinctive nag (red circle with a triple red sphere in the circle on a white background) which will entitle them to the special protection and respect on the part of the belligerents, of Governments and Peoples of all the High Contracting Parties.
The aforesaid Monuments, Institutions, Collections and Missions shall cease to enjoy the privileges of neutrality in case they are made use of for military purposes.
In case of any act alleged to be in contradiction to the protection and respect due to artistic and scientific Institutions, Monuments, Collections and Missions, as stipulated in the present Pact, the complaining Institutions or Missions shall have the right to appeal, through the intermediary of its Government, to the International Institution with which it has been registered. The International Institution concerned shall then bring the complaint to the cognizance of all the High Contracting Parties who may decide to constitute an International Committee of Inquiry on the case. The findings of such an International Committee of Inquiry may be rendered public. The details regarding the constitution and functioning of the above mentioned Committee of Inquiry shall be regulated by a special agreement.
The High Contracting Parties declare that it is their intention to provide by appropriated measures of internal legislation the enforcement of the protection enjoyed in their respective territories by artistic and scientific Institutions, Monuments, Collections and Missions, either National or foreign.
The present Pact shall be ratified by the High Contracting Parties in accordance with their respective constitutional methods.
The instruments of ratification shall be deposited with the State Department of the United States of America.
The present Pact shall go into force as soon as it has been ratified by the majority of the original signatories thereof.
The Powers who are not signatories to the present Pact shall have the right to join it, by means of a notification addressed to the Government of the United States of America.
In witness whereof the respective Plenipotentiaries have signed the present Pact and affixed their seals.
Done in duplicate (one copy in the English language and the other the French language) both of which to be regarded as being equally :
authentic in the city of Washington, on the _____ day of ______of the year _______.
Proceedings of the Roerich Baltic
Society, Riga, Latvia, 1937
THESIS CONCERNING ROERICH PACT COMMITTEE
A motion was passed by the assembly to create at each Roerich Society in the Baltic States a Roerich Pact committee for protection of culture and art values. The assembly expressed the wish that also a general Baltic Committee of the Roerich Pact should be founded.
THESIS CONCERNING ART
To spread the understanding of beauty among the people and likewise to fortify the true educational significance of art, it is desirable to disseminate largely the following ideas.
1. Art should be accessible to the consciousness of the masses in the largest degree.
2. At schools and in families children should be trained from their very prime to the understanding of and love towards art; likewise a striving after creative effort should be developed in them.
3. The creation of art should constantly deepen in the direction of spiritual exaltation.
4. The cooperation of all branches of art and among all artists should be propagated.
5. Every endeavor should be applied to realize the Roerich Pact for the protection of culture and art values.
The Roerich Pact
NAGARI PRACHARINI SABHA ENDORSES ROERICH PACT
On November 6th 1938 the Nagari Pracharini Sabha, the oldest literary Society of Benares, passed the following resolution:
Resolution No. 39 of 6-11-1938 "Resolved that the Nagari Pracharini Sabha of Benares which always endeavored towards the preservation and protection of the Indian cultural monuments and records through its Bharat Kala Bhawan, fully appreciates the efforts of Professor Nicholas de Roerich, to protect the historical monuments, museums, scientific, artistic, educational and cultural institutions of the world from human destruction in time of war as well as peace. It whole-heartedly supports the Roerich Pact."
(Signed) Ram Narayan Misra. (Signed) R. B. Shukla. President Secretary
ROERICH PEACE BANNER UNFURLED IN KARACHI At mid-day on the 17th of November 1938, the Roerich Banner of Peace was unfurled by Mr. H.C. Kumar which ceremony was followed by a song. The audience then adjourned to "Sarnagari" lecture hall. Mr. Sujan, R. A. spoke for a few minutes on Peace giving very interesting figures of the cost of war and emphasized on how fruitful for culture the fund of resources expended on fighting would be if only the mind of man could be directed to desirable activities.
Mr. Kumar addressed the gathering for about half an hour. He said that peace is the ultimate end of man and that peace activities are gaining ground all over the world. The Roerich Banner of Peace Stands as a symbol of an ideal for peace."
The Sixth All-India Cultural Unity Conference
(Under the auspices of the Association of Indian Culture)
GENERAL SESSION—18th APRIL, 1946, at 5:30 P.M.
DR. AMARNATH JHA, Vice-Chancellor, ALLAHABAD UNIVERSITY
1. Resolved that this Conference (the Sixth All-India Session in Calcutta) which stands as the fullest expression of the ideal to create a better understanding among all, based on mutual appreciation of the cultures of all communities of India, fully appreciates the sincere efforts of Dr. Nicholas Roerich to protect the historical monuments, museums, scientific, artistic, educational and cultural institutions of the world from destruction in time of war as well as in peace. It whole-heartedly supports and endorses the Roerich Pact.
Sj. SUDHIR CHANDRA BANDOPADHYAYA
Third International Convention and The Roerich Pact and Banner of Peace
November 17, 1933
Washington, D. C.
1. Republic of Argentina—The Honorable Senor Don
Eduardo L. Vivot,
First Secretary of the Embassy.
2. United States of Brazil—The Honorable E. B. Fraga
Second Secretary of the Embassy.
3. Republic of Chile—His Excellency, Senor Don Manuel Trucco,
Ambassador of Chile.
4. Republic of China—The Honorable Tswen-ling Tsui, Second Secretary of the Legation.
5. Republic of Colombia—The Honorable Senor Don
6. Republic of Costa Rica—The Honorable Senor Don
Charge d'Affaires, Legation of Costa Rica.
7. Republic of Czechoslovakia—His Excellency, Dr.
Minister of Czechoslovakia.
8. Dominican Republic—The Honorable Senor Don
Agustin Acevedo Feliu,
First Secretary of the Legation.
9. Republic of Ecuador—His Excellency, Senor Capitan
Colon Eloy Alfaro,
Minister of Ecuador.
10. Republic of Greece—His Excellency, Charalambos
Minister of Greece.
11. Republic of Guatemala—His Excellency, Senor Dr. Don Adrian Recinos,
Minister of Guatemala.
12. Republic of Honduras—His Excellency, Senor Dr.
Don Miguel Paz Baraona,
Minister of Honduras.
13. Irish Free State—His Excellency, Michael Mac White,
Minister of the Irish Tree State.
14. Empire of Japan—The Honorable Toshihiko Taketomi,
Counselor, The Japanese Embassy.
15. Republic of Lithuania—The Honorable Dr. Mikas
Secretary of the Legation.
16. Republic of Nicaragua—The Honorable Senor Dr.
Don Henri De Bayle,
17. Republic of Panama—His Excellency, Senor Dr. Ricardo J. Alfaro,
Minister of Panama.
18. Republic of Paraguay—His Excellency, Senor Dr.
Don Enrique Bordenave,
Minister of Paraguay.
19. Kingdom of Persia—His Excellency, Ghaffar Khan
Minister of Persia.
20. Republic of Peru—The Honorable Dr. Juan E. Mendoza Almenara,
First Secretary of the Embassy.
21. Republic of Poland—The Honorable Edward Weiotal,
Attache, the Polish Embassy.
22. Republic of Portugal—His Excellency, Dr. Joao Antonio de Bianchi,
Minister of Portugal.
23. Republic of Spain—The Honorable Senor Don Ramon Padilla y de Satrustegui,
Second Secretary of the Embassy.
24. Confederation of Switzerland—His Excellency, Marc Peter,
Minister of Switzerland.
25. United States of America—The Honorable Henry A.
Secretary of Agriculture.
26. Republic of Venezuela—His Excellency, Senor Dr.
Don Pedro Manuel Arcaya,
Minister of Venezuela.
27. Kingdom of Yugoslavia—The Honorable Dr. Ivan
Secretary, The Royal Yugoslav Legation
1. Kingdom of Albania—His Excellency, Faik Konitza, Minister of Albania.
2. Kingdom of Belgium—The Honorable Gerard Walravens, Attache of the Embassy.
3. Republic of France—The Honorable Count Pierre
de Leusse, Attache of the Embassy.
4. Republic of Germany—The Honorable Werner
Schuller, Second Secretary of the Embassy.
5. Kingdom of Hungary—Represented in Absentia.
6. Kingdom of Italy—The Honorable Giuseppe Tommasi, Secretary of the Embassy.
7. Kingdom of the Netherlands—The Honorable B.
van Loen, First Chancellor of the Legation.
8. Republic of Turkey—The Honorable Ussaki zade
Bulent, Second Secretary of the Embassy.