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Home » , , » Discuss the theme of existentialism as depicted in Tree Without Roots
Syed Waliullah is a remarkable name in the field of Bengali literature as well as world literature.  Tree Without Roots is his outstanding creation.  It is a novel in which the writer depicts the theme of existentialism very tactfully.  The problem of existence is looked upon with an eye of philosopher in this much -admired novel.

Existentialism is the name applied to the philosopher doctrines of Kierkegaard and Sartre which share a deep concern for the individual existing person and a distrust of philosopher idealism. Any literature which deals with the problem of man's essential misery and suffering , frustration and loneliness , failure and sorrow alienation and ennui , is known as existential literature . This type of literature also deals with man's melancholy and problem of death .In this point of view,  Tree Without Roots has obvious existential elements.

According to existentialism,  terror , anxiety,  frustration , guilt , limitation, loneliness,  freedom, subordination,  love , shame , hatred, fear , jealousy ,  malice , alienation , deviation,  death , etc . are the inseparable parts of human existence.  Man struggle for sustaining himself despite lots of odds and adversities.

The appearance of Majeed at Mahabbatpur as depicted in Tree Without Roots is quite dramatic.  Majeed starts a new life in Mahabbatpur by taking a sole decision in a critical moment . He has profound belief in himself.  He has a great insight into the villagers' life style and their habits.  He is prudent enough to adopt daunting tasks . The villagers are poor and illiterate whereas Majeed is a hypocrite. Majeed begins to exploit the villagers by taking advantage of their superstition and backwardness.  His first aggressive speech towards the villagers of  Mahabbatpur is,


"You are all blind.  You are ignorant men,men without understanding. ....How could you have left the mazar of Saint Shah  Sadeque unattended like this?"


Majeed do not have to confront with any opponent to overcome initial obstacles . His conflict lies within himself . To establish his own identity, he plays with the whole populace . He has no intention to do good to the villagers.  Although he seems to be altruist in his speech,  hid main motive is to exercise dominance for the sake of his financial stability.  Majeed is always haunted by thoughts concerning mazar.  Through he wants to use the mazar as a means of livelihood, suspicion at times grabs him.

But this fear can not engulf him; rather he turns into selfish , unhesitant and reckless to steady hid existence.  His real character gets exposed in different situations.  Majeed accuses the simple villagers of their trifling faults,  like being ignorant of 'kalma' , remaining uncircumcised,  being without beard,  etc. He arranges punishment for those little offences . Thus Majeed wants to exhibit his influence in the village.
theme of existentialism tree without roots


His influence spreads rapidly following his marriage with Rahima . Rahima as well as the villagers fears and respects him.Majeed transforms a dilapidated grave into a mazar by taking advantage of their simplicity and ignorance.  The villagers do not ask any question about the justification of his religious speech . Their impression of God revolves around the mazar.  This situation gives birth to an absurdity in the novel.  Nobody raises question regarding the rationality of Amena's circling around the mazar. Even they do not seek religious interpretation of this ritual.

Majeed achieves immense suecess in his way of sustaining existence. Actually,  Majeed's struggle of existence is not directed to any sort of welfare . He is absorbed in making benefit for himself. Nevertheless Majeed faces some obstacles to his existential adventure . These obstacles are;

1. The appearance of a new pir at the neighbouring village Nawabpur.

2. Khaleque's attempt to bring holy water blessed by the pir of Nawabpur. 

3. Hostile behaviour and protest of Jamila.

4. Natural disasters and the ultimate damage to people's crops and houses .

Majeed very tactfully tackles the situations even by adopting harsh methods. He tries to turn the pir Nawabpur into a hypocrite one through he himself is also of that type. Majeed feels that his existence will be at stake at the arrival of the pir of Nawabpur . So Majeed punishes Amens for her audacity of bringing holy water from the new pir. He forces Khaleque to divorce his wife Amena . This harsh strategy is adopted by Majeed in order to steady his existence . He is determined to tackle all the adversities in his way to the existential adventure .

Majeed inwardlly suffers from fear , anxiety and isolation but these can not prevent him from his adventure . Nonetheless , in his core of heart , Majeed suffers from an upcoming suspense.  He feels the necessity of having children to strengthen his future existence.  He is haunted by the temporary existence of mankind on the earth.  So he marries Jamila as his second wife.

Majeed's intention of having children is seemingly easy to fulfil.  But Jamila's lifestyle,  laughter and speech make Majeed very vulnerable.  Majeed tries to impose restriction on her behaviour by making her afraid of mazar and of afterlife.  But  Jamila turns into a new crisis in Majeed's  pursuit of success . His existence is threatened with the strange behaviour of lovely young girl Jamila . Majeed succumbs to the protest and courage of Jamila. He becomes psychologically weak at the unexpected conduct of Jamila.  The more Majeed wants to dominate Jamila , the more obstacles he faces. Jamila works as a lasting and unending threat to Majeed's existence.

Nature also creates obstacles to the pursuit of Majeed's existence.  The ending of the novel deals with villagers . When hailstorm stops, Majeed does not go to see what has happened to the mazar or to the crops in his fields .Instead , he rushes to Khaleque , the landowner  of the village.  Because Majeed  knew that the damaged mazar could be repaired,  but not the damaged faitj of the public in him and their trust in the mazar.If  Khaleque had complete faith in him, others would too. It is Khaleque who can save Majeed from disaster.  So Majeed calls him his friend and consoles him in order to preserve faith in the system. Thus Majeed struggles to sustain his existence in the face of all sort of adversities. To sum up, the novelist has meticulously depicted the theme of existentialism ib his novel Tree Without Roots.

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