Syed Waliullah

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Syed Waliullah
সৈয়দ ওয়ালিউল্লাহ
Syed Waliullah photograph.jpg
Syed Waliullah
Born (1922-08-15)August 15, 1922
Sholashahar, Chittagong, British Raj (now Bangladesh)
Died October 10, 1971(1971-10-10) (aged 49)
Paris, France[1]
Resting place Paris, France
Occupation novelist, short story writer, playwright, news editor
Alma mater Ananda Mohan College (1943)
University of Calcutta (dropped out)
Notable awards Ekushey Padak (1983)
Spouse Anne Marie (m. 1955–71)

Syed Waliullah (সৈয়দ ওয়ালিউল্লাহ) (1922–1971) was a Bangladeshi novelist, short-story writer and playwright. He is most well known in Bengali literature for his first novel, Lalsalu (translated as "Tree Without Roots", though it literally means "Red cloth"). He is a cousin of physicist and mathematician Jamal Nazrul Islam[2]


Waliullah is often considered the pioneer of existential analysis of the characters psyche in the literature of Bangladesh. The last two of his three novels, specially Kando Nadi Kando, show his mastery in revealing the inner depths of his characters. However, his most famous work remains Lalsalu, some would argue because of its relative simplicity.

Lalsalu tells the story of Majid, a poor man from a devout muslim background. Majid comes to a remote village. He declares an old grave to be the majar (mausoleum) that of a pir (a Muslim saint), covers it with the traditional red cloth used for mausoleums, and establishes his stronghold on the life of the people using the reflected power on him of the supposed saint. The novel shows his struggle with other religious figures trying to establish dominance, the undercurrent of pagan ideas among the people, and his own weaknesses.

"Tree Without Roots is the English translation of Syed Waliullah's much-admired Lal Shalu (Red Cloth). Though not admitted by Syed Waliullah, it is now fairly established that the English rendering was really done by the novelist himself, which explains why this new version is, in some respects, different from the original text in Bengali. In Tree Without Roots there are abridgements and alterations, and an important addition to the ending, which no one but the writer himself could have made. Moreover, in the original novel there are intricacies and suggestiveness of language, particularly in the dialogues, which would have been difficult, if not impossible, for an outsider to put into English as satisfactorily as has been done in Tree Without Roots. This work is certainly a revised and improved version of Lal Shalu."[3]

Lalsalu was recently filmed by Tanvir Mokammel.



  • Lalsalu (Tree without roots), 1948
  • Chander Amaboshay (Dark moon), 1964
  • Kando Nadi Kando (Cry, o river), 1968
  • The Ugly Asian, 1959
  • Sim kivabe ranna kortay hoy add by Asad


  • Bahipir (1960)
  • Tarangabhanga (1964)
  • Sudanga (1964)

Short story collection[edit]

  • Nayanchara (1951)
  • Dui Tir O Anyanya Galpa (Akte Tulse Gaser Khine)


  1. ^ Shafiul Alam, Syed Waliullah, Banglapedia: The National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh, Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, Dhaka, Retrieved: 2012-01-31
  2. ^ [1].
  3. ^ Choudhury, Serajul Islam (2005). "Introduction" Tree Without Roots. Dhaka, Bangladesh: pp. ix. ISBN 984-32-2546-5. 

External links[edit]