Hermann Hesse's novel Siddhartha, published in 1922, is part of the tradition of enthusiastic romanticism about India in Germany. The novel also had a formative influence on a later phase of India euphoria, which saw thousands of young people from Europe and the U.S. embark on journeys to India and Afghanistan in the 1960s and 1970s. How did Siddhartha shape the image of India in Germany? On the occasion of 100 years of Siddhartha, contributions on the mutual reception of South Asia and Germany are brought together here - in literature, music, film and everyday culture.
Siddhartha in Translation
The popularity of Siddhartha is prevalent from a large number of translations in the various South-Asian languages.
"Siddhartha" in Sanskrit
Publisher: Hermann Hesse Society of India
Translation: L Sulochana Devi (2008)
"Siddhartha" in Malyalam
Publisher: Kairali Books Kannur
Translation: R. Raman Nair (1990)
"Siddhartha" in Marathi
Publisher: Hermann Hesse Society of India
Translation: Avinash Tripathi (2007)
"Siddhartha" in Urdu
Publisher: Fiction House
Translation: Asif Farkhi
"Siddhartha" in Punjabi
Translation: Dr. Hari Singh
"Siddhartha" in Telugu
Publisher: Pallavi Publications
Translation: Bellamkonda Raghava Rao
"Siddhartha" in Hindi
Publisher: Hermann Hesse Society of India
Translation: Prabakaran Hebbar Illath (2012)
"Siddhartha" in Englisch
Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
Translation: Hilda Rosner (1951)
The german fascination with the Indian subcontinent can be vividly witnessed in the works German-speaking writers with the onset of the 18 century, as well as in the works of writers like Hermann Hesse and Günther Grass. In their texts they not only reflect the general image of India of that time, but also their own cultural paradigms.
There is no understanding without prejudices - so famously argued the German philosopher Karl Jaspers, an admirer of Indian philosophy. In a similar way, one could argue that there is no engagement with another culture without projections. In this literary dialogue series, we invite artists from literature and other fields to explore the role of projections in intercultural encounters. Do we need them at all? If so, are they merely negative, or can projections be productive as well? How do projections manifest themselves in literature?
In this panel discussion, we have two eminent writers, one from Germany and one from India along with a prominent translator, discussing how they perceive the other in their writings. They shall also deliberate on how the perception of the foreign is reflected in their works and how they shape ideas and images of the other world through their works.
Day, Date: Thursday, 8 December 2022
Time 18:00-19:30 hrs.
Venue: Goethe-Institut New Delhi / Max Mueller Bhavan Chennai
Christopher Kloeble is a German novelist, playwright, and scriptwriter. He studied at the German Creative Writing Program in Leipzig, and he has held teaching assignments and residencies in Germany, the US, UK, and India, among others.
B. Jeyamohan (b. 1962), based in Nagercoil is a pre-eminent writer in modern Tamil literature. One of the most prolific writers in India today, he has authored more than two hundred books, spanning novels, short fiction, travelogues, literary criticism and essays on heritage and philosophy, amongst others.
Priyamvada Ramkumar is a private equity investor and literary translator. She translates from her native tongue Tamil into English. Her first book-length translation, Stories of the True (a translation of B.Jeyamohan’s Aram), was published by Juggernaut Books in August 2022.
Moderation by Dr. Katharina Görgen
Dr. Görgen is the Director of Goethe-Institut Chennai. She is a film scientist, a feminist aficionado with years of experience in media culture and theatre.
In the discussion, the participants will examine how the perception of the foreign is reflected in literary works. How do authors shape ideas and images of India in Germany through their works, and vice versa?
Martin Mosebach (digital participation)Martin Mosebach is a German writer of novels, plays, radio plays, and other genres. He was born in Frankfurt/Main in 1951. He travelled to India several times, reflecting this experience in his works "Das Beben" (Hanser, 2005) and "Stadt der wilden Hunde. News from Everyday India" (Hanser, 2008). In 2007 he was awarded the Georg Büchner Prize, the most important prize for German-language literature. His most recent novel, "Taube und Wildente" (Pigeon and Wild Duck), was published by Deutscher Taschenbuchverlag (dtv) in 2022. Martin Mosebach lives in Frankfurt am Main.
Namita KhareNamita Khare is a translator and associated with the Department of Germanic and Romance Studies, University of Delhi. She is very interested in exploring images of Germany in Hindi Literature. She has translated as well as edited Literature from German-speaking countries.
Moderation: Shaswati MazumdarShaswati Mazumdar was born in Kolkata in 1953. She taught at the Department of Germanic and Romance Studies, University of Delhi, from 1978 to 2018; she has been an emeritus professor since 2018. Her research interests include India in German-language literature, cultural transformation processes in the German-speaking world and Europe, and the reception of the Indian Revolt of 1857 in non-English-speaking Europe.
About the EventThe feminist discourse is understood and experienced differently in different parts of the world. This is also reflected in literature. In this conversation with writers and publishers from Germany and India, we will explore how feminism and gender relations are reflected through literature in the two countries. We will discuss ways in which projections, societal norms and global movements have shifted the feminist discourse over time.
ParticipantsMithu Melanie Sanyal was born in Düsseldorf in 1971 and is a cultural scientist, writer, journalist and critic. Her non-fiction work Vulva. Das unsichtbare Geschlecht was published in 2009 and Vergewaltigung. Aspekte eines Verbrechens in 2016. She deals with feminist and postcolonial issues in her work. Her fictional debut Identitti speaks to ongoing discussions on race, culture and identity. It will be published in English in July 2022.
More information: Mithu Sanyal on "New Books in German"
Mithu Sanyal will participate in the event digitally.
Ritu Menon is a feminist, publisher and writer who has been active in the women’s movement in India and South Asia for almost three decades. She is the author and editor of several books and anthologies, including the ground-breaking text Borders & Boundaries: Women in India’s Partition; Out of Line: A Literary and Political Biography of Nayantara Sahgal; Address Book: A Publishing Memoir in the Time of COVID; and most recently, ZOHRA! A Biography in Four Acts.
MODERATORPreeti Gill is an independent literary agent with more than 25 years of experience in the publishing industry as Commissioning Editor and Rights Director. She is the Founder of Majha House, the first of its kind literary and cultural platform in Amritsar, Punjab. She is the editor of The Peripheral Centre: Voices from India's Northeast, Insider Outsider: Belonging an Unbelonging in India's Northeast (along with Samrat Choudhry) as well as co-author of Bearing Witness: A Report on the Impact of Conflict in Nagaland and Assam. Her documentary Rambuai: Mizoram's Trouble Years was released in 2016. She is currently working on a book of non-fiction writings on Punjab.
Music has been a continuous agent of interaction between local and international interests, an expression of liquid modernity. Southasia and Germany resonate as cosmopolitan spaces for intercultural transnational exchanges, with live music events and festivals mushrooming since the 1960s. A burgeoning interest can be recapitulated with JISR, a German band that toured South Asia in the late 1960s, with Afghanistan and India as important cultural stops. What once were just palatable teasers are now a regular delight, with music becoming increasingly fluid since the very dawn of the 21st century.
JISR - on tour in South Asia
In 2016, Ramdan came from Morocco to Munich to study German where he founded the group with two refugee Syrians. Marja Buchard is also a Jisr band member. The multi-instrumentalist is the leader of Embryo, a world music group founded by her father Christian Burchard in 1969, which she took over in 2016 and has continued to lead since his death in 2018.
In March 2022, Jisr will tour South Asia at the invitation of the Goethe-Institut - with stops in Colombo, Karachi, Dhaka, Kolkata, Delhi, Chennai and Bangalore.
The band Embryo was founded in 1969 by multi-instrumentalists Christian Burchard and Edgar Hofmann in Munich. The two are considered to be the pioneers of the so-called Krautrock in the 1960s. The band travelled overland from Germany to India and Afghanistan in 1979. Since then, the band has been intensively involved with Indian, Afghan and also African music. To this day, the band combines jazz with rhythms and instruments from India, Africa and the Arab world.
Marja Burchard, the co-founder of the band Jisr, took over the leadership of Embryo from her father Christian Burchard in 2016.