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Home » , , » What social picture of the rural Bengal do you get in Syed Waliullah's Tree Without Roots?
Tree Without Roots is an outstanding creation of Syed Waliullah , a gigantic figure in literary world.  In this novel,  he tactfully portrays a backward and superstitious Village with the imagination of an artist.

The novelist takes the background , character and theme of the novel from a rural setting . The main theme of the novel is about the populace of Mahabbatpur who are the victim of religious exploration. Their happiness,  sorrows,  ideas, customs,  etc .span the whole of the novel . with the imagination of an artist , Syed Waliullah has grasped the deprivation and sadness of the people in the villages, arising out of the stark fact that there is little land too many mouths to feed .
Picture of the rural Bengal in Tree Without Roots

The novelist has created the fictional village Mahabbatpur as the theatre for the doings of the fortune - hunting Majeed, who has transformed a neglected grave of an unknown person into a shrine .Deception, hypocrisy ,superstition ,dogmatism ,belief in miracles, exploitation, poverty , etc. prevail in the nook and corner of the society.  Happiness,  love, protest, honesty and sensibility are lost into darkness.  The real scenario of the rural societies in any part of Bangladesh is the same . In other words,  this social picture represent Bangladesh in mimiature, particularly in respect of poverty and fundamentalism . Waliullah's memorable observation ,

"There are more tupees than heads of cattle ,more tupees than sheaves of grass",

reminds us of an abiding collaboration between poverty and religion. The society depicted in the novel s controlled by religion and ardent unknown faith.The village around which the story revolves is Mahabbatpur and in the vicinity,  there is another village , Nawabpur. Matiganj road is nearby . The granaries, rivers, and stretches of fields to the horizons, complements to a rural setting. The very story of the novel revolves around illiteracy,  religious faith , emotion and fear of the people there.  We get a clear picture of a traditional rural society in Tree Without Roots.

The hypocrite,  cheat and clever,  Majeed finds his sanctuary in Mahabbatpur . He transforms a neglected grave into a holy shrine .Being a self -appointed  caretakee of that mazar,  he begins to exploit and deceive the rural people in order to steady his position in the society.  Within a few days,  he turns into a well-off person with his own houses and lands. Hr, then, marries a young widow.  He plays the role of a rural judge in almost all affairs of the villagers.  He tactfully accuses the villagers of their shortcoming and somehow punishes them. He takes,in his grip,  Khaleque , the landowner of the village .

From time immemorial , this kind of religious exploitation has been on the move. Syed Waliullah  has precisely portrayed this picture in his novel.  He has also depicted the daily affairs of the stratified society . The background of this novel is about a feudal society where injustice runs in the name of justice.  Humanity and religion are replaced by inhumanity and deception.

The so called preacher of religion makes ally with the local elite persons in the context of the then society . Of the two kinds of exploiters,  the preacher seems to be more powerful. The landowner Khaleque submits to Majeed and receives the pangs of divorce. It is nothing but a harsh reality by which feudalism succumbs to religion.  The Bengalees are a God -fearing nation.  Particularly the rural illiterate people accept any idea if tge question of religion is incorporated there. By taking opportunity of this situation , the religious hypocrites come into being. In the name of religion,  they seek the way for making a living, Numerous mazars are seen in every nook and corner of Bangladesh and these mazars are on the rise based on devotion and faith.  The mazar of Saint Shah Sadeque,  depicted in the novel , has also come into being in such a way.

The people of the village Mahabbatpur are simple , naive, illiterate and superstitious,  backward and dogmatic .So Majeed comes out successful in his evil effort of exploiting the villagers.Mahabbatpur is an agriculture village. The lands are their hearts . The crops are their happiness . They don't have keen observation on their lives , and for this reason Majeed manages to entrap them.  The novelist also points out that the pirs thrive along with the prosperity of the villagers.  The so-callee pirs look for their sanctuary in the houses of rich disciples . The arrival of Majeed at Mahabbatpur and the new pir at Nawabpur indicates this fact.

In the social system depicted in the novel,  women are neglected and dishonoured.  The male -dominated society has confined them within the houses . Polygamy is the custom of the society. Divorce is a typical matter in the name of religion . The novelist can not put up with the injustice and underestimation of humanity ,so he analyses the social system with the eyes of a sociologist .

The society is lagging behind because of ignorance.  They have no sensibility to differentiate between right and wrong . In the hope of having a child,  They are seen  to go to pir instead of going to doctors.

In agriculture society , the idea of God gets stuck in their mind during natural calamities . The picture of rural Bengal in time of natural calamities is also found in this novel . When the hailstorm and flood submerge Majeed's house and crops,  he seeks help from khaleque, the landowner. Majeed is forced to take his two wives to Khaleque's house at dead night . But Majeed himself  does not stay in that house,  he strides back to his submerging home, behaving like the typical Bengali peasant who is often  beaten but never surrenders and clings to his homestead.

The portrayed of all characters of the novel and their lives bears the symbol of rural Bengal . In fine , we can have an inference that  Tree Without Roots serves as a microcosm of rural Muslim society of Bangladesh .


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