Siddhartha turns 100
14th December, 2022
Department of German, University of Mumbai in collaboration with the Goethe Society of India, Goethe Institut/ Max Mueller Bhavan, Mumbai and Consulate of the Federal Republic of Germany in Mumbai
“By the author’s own admission, Siddhartha is a story about individuality and self-expression, a quintessential Western tale cloaked in Indian garb and punctuated with a staunch nonconformity that served to cross both generations and cultures.” – Paul W. Morris
This year Hermann Hesse’s seminal Indian novel Siddhartha (1922) turns 100. This fictional biography has captured the imagination of Germans as well as Indians for decades ever since. The protagonist’s journey of self-discovery and self-realization is set in the Indian cultural space and narrated by Hesse in the form of the German Bildungsroman. Having been written in the Post First War Years at a tumultuous time in the writer’s personal life, Siddhartha is arguably Hesse’s most optimistic novel, offering its readers much needed hope for liberation in life journeys as well as in times of crisis. Translated in a number of Indian languages and set to the film medium, is this Kultbuch of the 1960s and 70s a testament of Hesse’s belief (Hermann Hesse, “My Belief,” 1931), is it also his escape from reality or does it foreground some evergreen truths about human life, like the central metaphor of the river in it, which can still enlighten, which can still appeal to the human quest?
We engage with this text in a day long international symposium on the 14th of December 2022 celebrating the centenary innings of this text.
The Siddhartha symposium shall be bi-/multilingual with German and English. The paper shall be of 20 minutes followed by 10 minutes for discussion.