Baskota Dhananjaya


The rational explanation of the universe is beyond humanity’s lens to perceive it. Constraints thwart the human capacity to find out the reason of life and the perception of the universe is only possible through the lens of the absurd. People continuously struggle in full suffering for meaning and survival with meaninglessness in the world of ‘nothing’. Absurdist fiction focuses on the experiences of characters in a situation where they cannot find any inherent purpose in life; they realize that the goals are unfulfilled, desires are beyond accomplishment. They are found alienated; they exist in the darkness of their own memories. ‘Polar opposites’ powerfully operates here which rejects the light of the outer world and favors the darkness of one’s interior. The characters have remorse of the ‘lost past’. Human situation is often represented by ultimately meaningless actions, illogic, ridicules and absurd events. Common elements in absurdist fiction include satire, dark humor, incongruity, the abasement of reason, and controversy regarding the philosophical condition of being “nothing.” Works of absurdist fiction often explore agnostic or nihilistic topics, the appearance of purposeless circumstances. As a result, the work looks obscure, bizarre, ambiguous with the break of traditional reality and existences. This article makes an endeavor to read Manjushree Thapa’s fiction ‘The Tutor of History’ using the absurd lens. It has five parts: abstract, introduction, brief introduction of absurdism, absurdist reading of ‘The Tutor of History’ and conclusion.

Key words: absurd, futile, alienation, interior, ridiculous, disconnection, nostalgia, rejection, suicide, divorce, nihilism, existentialism, surrealism.


Manjushree Thapa was born in 1968 in Kathmandu, Nepal in an educated family: father a senior diplomat Dr Bhekh Bahadur Thapa and mother a senior medical specialist Dr Rita Thapa. She acquired her education from St. Mary’s School in Kathmandu, then the National Cathedral School in Washington, DC. She specialized in photography or Fine Arts in the Rhode Island School of Design. Her M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Washington enhanced her writing skills. She grew up in Canada, Nepal and the United States; despite her education in the West, she glittered the voice of Nepali people through her writing.

Manjushree Thapa

Her first work ‘Mustang Bhot in Fragments’, travelogue was published in Nepal in 1992 describing the then prohibited area to the China border. She wrote a number of short stories in Bellingham Review, Tampa Review, Artful Dodge, Himal South Asian and the others. She co-edited Secret places: New Writing from Nepal and translated many works of Nepali literature into English. Her essays and reportages have appeared in the New York Times, Nepali Times, Hindustan Times and as well as other publications in the United States, Nepal, India and Great Britain. Thapa has also worked as a co-coordinator at the Martin Chautari Centre in Kathmandu, an organization for public advocacy (

The Tutor of History (Front Cover)

‘The Tutor of History’ was published in 2001; as her first Nepali novel written in English it explores the number of people in Khaireni Tar of Tanahun District who have been victimized by the shattered dreams and their endeavors that have no avail. They remain amid bitter past and unpredictable future.

Her writing went ahead in ‘never-ceasing’ career and then she brought ‘A Translation Manual to Bring Nepali Literature to Nepali Readers’ in 2003. Her political outlook ‘Forget Kathmandu: An Elegy for Democracy’, published in 2005, is a real elegy for democracy in Nepal when there was the erstwhile king Gyanendra’s usurpation of power, i.e., bloodless coup on Feb.1, 2005. The king started controlling party leaders, civil society leaders, journalists, professionals and the academicians which compelled her to embark on the self-imposed exile in India thinking that it avails nothing staying in Kathmandu. She found the Royal ambition an absurd idea which proved that the ambition got collapsed by the movement 2006. She headed in indefatigable support for the restoration of democracy striving through writing. After the royal takeover, the book was banned; a futile effort, though it had received international attention. This work examines the Royal massacre in 2001 and the Maoist rebellion which has never-ending questions about their fruits.

The anthology of short stories ‘Tilled Earth’ published in 2009 has presented fragmented, alienated and fleeting life of Nepali society in fluxing time. It offers people’s dreams which have been shattered in life; the dreams exist as mere dreams, absurd dreams, and futile dreams. An elderly woodcutter has alienation, hangover from the homesick expatriate and diaspora feeling in Kathmandu neighborhood. A civil servant’s game of solitaire on the computer looks empty an task. A young man’s narcissism in politics and a child’s stealing of mate’s book can be felt absurd. A young woman’s alienated feeling in Seattle, an ’emerald city’ of US, is itself absurd. Love marriage is itself an absurdity in which the romantic hero has love affair with a woman of wrong caste defying all family barricades. Seeking Buddha’s birthplace is not an easy access.

Her literary writing ‘The Country is Yours,’ 2009, is a contemporary writing in Nepali Literature. She published biography of Chandra Gurung ‘A Boy from Siklis: The Life and the Times of Chandra Gurung’ in 2009. Her second novel ‘Season of Flight’ was published in 2010 which is ironically a story of immigration. A young Nepali woman, Prema, who flees to US through US green card visa lottery,  repeatedly questions about American’s light spirit, because she feels alienated immensely in the new life in Los Angeles. Prema’s life is full of suffering: loses at eight, missed sister in the Maoist insurgency period, had noncommittal. Prema finds herself ‘nobody’ there and she has to explain her identity but unfortunately her own country ‘Nepal’ becomes ‘nowhere land’. Her identity prevails ‘nobody from nowhere land for nothing’, and compels to eschew relation with other Nepali immigrants, her own father and demon lover. ‘She moves in with total strangers, cares for a wealthy elderly widow most days, and finds herself alone most nights’ ( And Prema gets an opportunity to make her tenuous relation with an American firmer Luis fantasizing to meet so called ‘American Dream’ but it is just an absurdity.

‘Thapa has won fellowships from the Center for Investigative Journalism in Kathmandu, as well as from Hedgebrook, the Ragdale Foundation and the Espy Foundation in the United States. In 2005 she spent three months at the Centre d’Art Marnay in Camac, France as a UNESCO Aschberg Fellow’ (

A Brief Introduction of Absurdism

Absurdism applies to the dramatic and prose fiction which views human condition essentially unreasonable, futile, painful, purposeless and remorseful. It involves bizarre story, escapes from the censorship of hyper-political social conditioning. It is a doctrine of art and life which admits that it is not possible to explore inherent meaning, existence and value of life; it focuses on the failure of human being to perceive the worldly affairs, universal meaning of the universe. The endeavor for intrinsic meaning becomes impossible due to the vast realm and creates contradiction between personal meaning and inherent meaning; and it becomes an ‘absurd experience’ because it contradicts ‘my necessity to understand’ and ‘my inability to understand’ the meaning of the existence as the universe is silent.  “It is ‘the moment of most profound doubt that gives birth to new certainties, perhaps hopelessness is the very soil that nourishes human hope; perhaps one could never find sense in life without first experiencing its absurdity (Havel,” It is against suicidal, and for the continuity of living in the peculiar and unexpected milieu being aware of the impossible existence.

The meaningless and fecklessness, loss of a sense of direction and purpose of life is depicted as sprawling phenomena. Human beings dauntlessly strive for the reason of life which pervades in mind but it disillusions every moment. The reason of life is for nothing from the ‘nowhere world’, which is an absurd idea. It endeavors to depict the grotesque caricature of the world having ‘nothing’: faith, meaning, value, purpose, rules, direction, achievements and freedom of will. Life is isolated, and alienated from reasons, companions, family, earth, each other, beliefs, the whole own sphere and the self. Human life is manipulated by illogic and irrationality.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 2000, defines absurdism in this way:

ab·surd·ism  ( b-sûr d z- m -)n.1. A philosophy, often translated into art forms, holding that humans exist in a meaningless, irrational universe and that any search for order by them will bring them into direct conflict with this universe: “True absurdism is not less but more real than reality”(John Simon).2. An act or instance of the ridiculous: “This strained conceit never quite locates screen equivalents for the stage absurdism.”

Absurdism overviews human’s debacle to find the reason in life despite struggle. The twentieth century existentialists view absurdism as ‘tragic sense of life’, ‘nausea’, ‘minority’s feelings living in the ‘no man’s land’, ‘alienation’, ‘everydayness’,’ homelessness,’ etc.

Algerian-French philosopher Albert Camus defines absurdism as ‘the divorce between man and his life, the actor and his setting.’ ( This world is not fully communicable, intractable. The feeling of void pervades, one thinks ‘nothing’, and there is feeling of futility because of mechanical living. People are stuck in time, yet plan for bright future. People perceive even familiar things quite abruptly; feel solitude in the common world that is nothing in common with others. People in absurdism feel isolation, bewilder in knowing human beings as non- humans. There is insistence to live in the mortal world refuting death. People ought to engage in surviving despite pointlessness and ought to avoid suicide. Human beings dauntlessly seek meaning of their lives have two deductions: either life is futile or higher power has borne essential purpose in life to be found. In exploring beauty in their life, people create personal meaning for them; they find reason even if it may not be universal meaning, it becomes ‘invented meaning of life’, which is not ultimate/actual meaning.

Camus defined ‘the act of eluding’ found in religion and existentialism as a flaw and man acknowledges ‘the invented meaning of life’ and stops confronting absurd. The faith in God is also an absurd, man struggles between the ‘invented meaning and the knowledge of absurd’. Freedom is without any appeal, hope is the belief provided by the absurdity of life. Life is in the integrity of ‘amoral’; between right and wrong. Absurdism is an instrument to explore one’s life. “If I see a man armed with a sword attack a group of machine guns, I shall consider his act to be absurd. The magnitude of the absurdity will be in direct ratio to the distance between the two terms of comparison. There are absurd marriages, challenges, rancor, silences, wars, and even peace treaties. For each of them, the absurd springs from the comparison [between an aspiration and reality](”

The absurdist genre grew out of the modernist literature of the late 19th and early 20th century in direct opposition to the Victorian literature which was prominent just prior to this period. It was largely influenced by the existentialist and nihilist movements in philosophy and the Dada and surrealist movements in art.

The French play ‘Ubu roi’ by Alfred Jarry in 1896 was considered to be absurd play; and the 1920s movements of ‘expressionism’ and ‘surrealism’ reflected the presence of absurdism. The current movement evolved in France after the horrors of World War II (1939-45) as a rebellion against basic beliefs and values in traditional culture and literature. This tradition had included the assumptions that human beings are fairly rational creatures who live in an at least partially intelligible universe, human beings are part of an ordered social structure, and that they may be capable of heroism and dignity even in defeat. ‘After the1940s, however, there was widespread tendency, especially prominent in the existential philosophy of men of letters such as Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus, to view human beings as an isolated existent who is cast into an alien universe; to conceive the human world as processing not in inherent truth, value, or meaning; and to represent human life- in its fruitless search for purpose and significance, as it moves from the nothingness whence it came toward the nothingness where it must end- as an existence which is both anguished and absurd (Abrahams and Harpham, 2009).’

The French author Eugene Ionesco states that man is lost in all his roots and all his efforts become senseless, absurd and useless. Samuel Beckett, an Irish writer, projected absurdity in his plays ‘Waiting for Godot’ and ‘Endgame’ reflecting irrationality, helplessness, rejection of realistic setting/logical reasoning/coherent plot. The waiting for unidentified person Godot prevails ‘nothing’ and concludes: ‘Nothing happens, nobody comes, nobody goes, and it’s awful’. It is comic, irrational, non-consequential, full of anguish and alienation. His characters try to make sense of the senseless and to communicate the incommunicable. Another French playwright Jean Genet, British Harold Pinter, American Edward Albee reflected absurdism in  ‘tragic farce’ having comic, horrifying and absurd theme. There is vague symbolism, aimless and colloquial dialogue, repetition of same action and clichés, and the works with uncanny effect (Daiches, 1998, p-1116).

Absurdist fiction focuses on the experiences of characters in a milieu where they cannot find any inherent purpose in life, most often represented by ultimately meaningless actions and events. It includes satire, dark humour, incongruity, the abasement of reason, and controversy regarding the philosophical condition of being ‘nothing’. It often explores agnostic or nihilistic realm having an argument that everything is uncertain, beyond human knowledge and perception.

Absurdist fiction may be humorous or irrational in nature. The hallmark of the genre is neither comedy nor nonsense, but rather, the study of human behavior under circumstances whether realistic or fantastical that appears to be purposeless and philosophically absurd. It posits little judgment about characters or their actions; that task is left to the reader. Also, the moral is generally not explicit, and the themes or characters’ realizations are often ambiguous in nature. Additionally, unlike many other forms of fiction, absurdist works will not necessarily have a traditional plot structure– rising action, climax, falling action, and denouement.

Absurdist fiction explores these poses:

  • rational explanation of the universe is beyond humanity’s lens and the world is seen through the absurd lens, as we know only the part of the whole and live on ‘unknowable’ life.
  • suffering, survival, and struggling with the meaningless world of ‘nothing’ and ’empty’ despite knowing it and we cannot escape out of meaninglessness. We born unwillingly and die unwillingly. We are between life and death; so, our existence is absurd.
  • interior monologues and failure of communication.
  • there are unfulfilled goals despite the use of ‘free will power’, lack of accomplishment of desires and hopes; but no tiredness and busy doing something.
  • polar opposites; rejection of the light of outside world and favours darkness of one’s interior.
  • integration of past and present, often victim of nostalgia, remorsefulness of the past.
  • alienation, exist in darkness of one’s memoirs, but suicidal is also illusion.
  • human situation is meaningless and absurd but we fail to know it and have the value of ‘defeated complexity’.
  • characters are the sources of ridicules, illogics, and comics.
  • saying which is not in fact.
  • herolessness and anti-hero.
  • use of images, symbols to reflect the complexity of the complex life. And language looks complex, breaking tradition.

(Shrestha, 2062)

Absurdist reading of ‘The Tutor of History’

Manjushree Thapa’s fiction ‘The tutor of History’ resembles absurdism in different angles. Rishi Parajuli, a private tutor of history from Khaireni Tar of Tanahun District of western Nepal, has been living in Kathmandu for twelve years, feels the term ‘democracy’ as ridiculed. A Panche, undemocratic, is appointed in the Election Commission by the ‘democratic’ government which the academic youth like Rishi disgusts of and ‘anti-corruption’ vow seems just ridiculing, futile and empty. Rishi feels alienated in Kathmandu, and sees people ‘waiting for good fortune’ meaningless expectations and he found the people there having only shattered dreams. ‘…but in Kathmandu he was anonymous’ (Thapa : 2001, 4). Then he gets to Khaireni Tar, a small town, which reflects in ‘drink’ and ‘enjoy’. Om Gurung’s longing for the social work costs nothing. The dissolution of the parliament and declaration of the ‘free and fair’ election is sarcasm in the myth of Nepali democratic politics.

“Most of the novel’s main characters are, like Binita, unmoored from their pasts and trying not to expect much from the future. There is Giridhar Adhikari, the alcoholic chairman of the party’s district committee, for whom the campaign is a chance to rekindle his lost sense of usefulness. And there is Rishi Parajuli, the “tutor of history,” who arrives in Khaireni Tar from Kathmandu, where he took a wan satisfaction in being “anonymous, a slip of a man like all the others, a shadow moving against a wall and disappearing when the sky clouded over (Acharya,


Kaireni Tar is presented in the same symbolic height of T.S. Eliot’s ‘The Waste Land’ or Francis Scott Fitzerald’s setting in ‘The Great Gatsby’s the valley of ashes as the symbol of ‘hopelessness’ and ‘frustration’; ‘giving Khaireni Tar its name: ashen flatlands'(p-17).The gaining power in the political party of the ‘corruptive’ Giridhar Adhikary; who had been dismissed from the bank, looks absurd. The activities of the political parties; imported followers of the Nepali Congress, restlessness of the UML cadres, Om Gurung’s unnecessary courtesy, a movie star Nayan Raj Dahal’s arrival to  Khaireni Tar, and Giridhar’s dream to be MP all look absurd ‘Eh, dreams’ (p-29). Om’s Mita son Harsha Baahadur’s  interest on Binita’s  cousin sister Sani’s passionate song fails them to bring them close. Maoist violent activities and Binita’s busy life have nothing to do in life.

The parties’ presence in Khaireni Tar and the ‘corruptive political scene’ have empty ethos; Congress candidate from Congress PM’s nephew, UML cadres to capture the booth, vendors’ negative judgment about politicians ‘these politicians are all thieves’ (p-45), and Jimmawal Baje’s desire to ‘unite the party members’ all look absurd. People in the ‘world of nothing’ survive just lying, struggle despite knowing the ‘nothing’. The UML’s calculation of votes ‘the people’s party can cut may be three-four thousand votes from Congress. That will help us to win'(p-60) looks extremely futile; obviously we live on illusion.

When the ‘The People’s Party’s ‘drunken’ leader Giridhar went to Kathmandu for getting the ticket, he found out that the ‘Cinema Hero’ Nayan Raj Dahal, the brother-in- law of Binita Dahal, a tea shop owner in Khaireni Tar, was getting the ticket. The rivalry to get the ticket mainly causes the defeat in the election. The desire to get the ticket seems absurd. Giridhar’s claim ‘I know people here, here, here.’ I know the village leader here’ is futile; as these assurances have nothing to do in politics; he does not get the ticket. Nayan Raj’s press release expressing in favour of democracy is empty catchword, everyone have such commitments.

Rishi had left Radhika after aborting her baby, as he had no conviction. So, he confesses the school teacher to join his partyUML,which Rishi had already left. This mental ‘instability’proves absurdity as a common element in political emblem.The Khadka boy’s painful nostalgia, his ’empty’ love with Sani,has no compensation. The boy’s judgment about girls and the girls’ judgment about boys is absurd. Harsha Bahadur’s cousin Maoist’s analysis about others tagging them as ‘bourgeois’ is hollowness, illusion in rebellion period. He sings, ‘But capitalism creates a bourgeois society that won’t give us what we deserve(p-92). Harsha Bahadur’s longing for love and peace is to defy the realty of the world.

Giridhar Adhikary dogmatically perceives that Nayan Raj is going to win the election treading over the red carpet that that he had placed inTanahun district. This ‘failure’ to know the complex reality of political life brings tragic end of Giridhar. Chirinjibi receives the party membership but keeps secret thinking politicsto have nihilistic height. He groans, ‘What for did people do something as absurd as politics? (P-103).’

Binita Dahal’s nostalgia how she married with her own high caste teacher Nayan Raj’s elder brother, who had died in the accident, is painful memory. It is giving nothing to her; but alienation, delights in own interior and rejection of the glamour of the outer world, lived as misanthrope, when she was victimized by the ‘Dahal clan’ that a widow should not sell tea. Her husband’s kainlo-kaka tortured her.’It was then that Binita had withdrawn from society (p-109).’ She is seeking the compensation of the loss but fails to find out. Jimbawal Baje’s excitement in opening the party office is nothing, avails nothing in his life. The dreams, ambitions and aspiration of the party cadres seem hollow. The people’s belief on a cinema hero Nayan Raj Dahal as the arrival of ‘Godot’ in Samuel Beckett’s play ‘Waiting for the Godot’ ; who had gained popularity just through a film ‘Ma Manchhe Hun’ (I am a human). There is political conspiracy, fraud, and the people’s various aspirations from the political parties and the leaders. Jimmawal’s only concern about appointing his seventh son as a ‘peon boy’ in the party office, the use of money in the election are all absurd. ‘Take Congress’s money and vote for us(p-124).’The politics has no patriotism and the party leaders are only singing to win election at any cost, ‘Come to our party office, and we’ll get you registered (p-125).’ They easily register the foreigners (Indians) to vote in the election.

Giridhar and Om, the best of friends, gradually it converts in rivalry and have competition to put strategies to the party that it ought to be carried out during the election. It is nihilistic, and deserves ‘nothing’ for; their strategies do nothing in the path of victory.

On the other hand, Binita’s sacrifice to feed the People’s Party workers during the election avails nothing. She helps her brother-in –law, hero and the candidate of the people’s party thinking that it was her own party but her perception to politics was not accurate. The repressed toil and pleasure of interior of Binita, which generally denies the rays of the outer world and she prefers loneliness. She is alone in the mass of the party- men. Nayan Raj’s argument for the women’s rights seems ridicule, because his own sister-in-law is living in the extreme melancholy. When her husband’s brother; the candidate Nayan Raj requests her to feed the party worker, she admits in soliloquy, ‘It must be my fate to feed hungry mouths all my life (p-140).’ The Congress leaders’ commitment on democracy and the UML’s commitment for progress are all absurd ideas. The communist doctrine is much ridicule here-‘We love the poor (p-159).’ Poverty is to love or eliminate? The UML’s slogan looks absolutely absurd, ‘The UML says it’ll lend deeds to all settlers (p-13).’

Harsha Bahadur’s love tragedy with Sani is the result of the Harsha’s inexperience in love.  Rishi, the tutor of history, was previously a communist but now he wants to join the People’s Party. His failure to know the truth is natural in this extent. Om Gurung has a strong desire to care the mita- son and takes him to the doctor but a peon operates the doctor’s duty. And Om’s wife sees the value of society on the nothingness, ‘we share the same flaws-it is not good in these times to be soft at heart (p-179)’.

Giridhar chose the path of alienation; he withdrew himself from the party, friends, Om, Nayan Raj and all the people. Rishi got the responsibility of publicity of the People’s Party, highlighting it’s election emblem ‘teacup’ and organize campaigning in the inclusive manner, the use of the hooligans like ‘BB-Gung’, the parties’ activities to erase other and paint one’s voting symbol are all absurd. Om and Giridhar have conspiracy to seize the job of the ‘peon’ in the party office; because Giridhar wants to appoint Jimmawal’s son but Om his mita-son, eventually no job lasts long, nor gives them anything. Nayan Raj’s eloquence in the Khaireni Tar rally speech, in fact, gives him nothing. Janamukhi Party’s doctrine ‘ethnic equality’, Congress’s ‘democacy’, UML’s ‘class equality’, RPP’s ‘king and democracy’ are nihilistic and dogmatic. In practice, they are something different.

All the people in the rally appreciate Nayan Raj’s speech, his visions but they wonder why he does nothing for his elder brother’s wife Binita – ‘Why doesn’t this hero make his sister-in-law a house?(P-219).’  People have various conflicting opinions about Nayan Raj. They see him with the absurd lens, their rational outlook about Nayan Raj and his movie ‘Ma Manchhe Hun’ is surrealistic.

Another afflicted female character Madhu withdraws herself from the society; everything is against her will, her painful nostalgia and her ‘futile’ love with Khadka boy and Rawal boy’s interest on her has only ‘divorce’ from her own life. She prefers alienation. Chirinjibi, a contractor and the father of six daughters, has own dreams to avail from the political parties to get the contract and build a house in Kathmandu is but a dream. The election campaigns in the village by Nayan Raj and his cadres reflect illusions about rural prosperity. The rural celebrates many deficiencies, problems and crisis which ridiculethe party leaders and cadres; who are unconscious about rural reality, ‘ a bridge would change their lives (242).’

Binita and her daughter feel the rise of prestige these days is surrealism. Different women request Binita to join the mother’s group cannot flourish her status and avoid alienation, ‘Binita wanted to be alone (270).’ Harsa Bahadur takes ‘health giving pills’ to be strong to get Sani winning Rawal boy looks ridicule. Women’s definition and repression is frustrating, ‘all women are made to suffer, in this land cursed by women (283).’

The parties’ election campaign flourishes in the use of ‘cash’ and ‘boys’. Even the vendors see the absurdity of the government’s ‘begging’ character, ‘I am not the government which can live on foreign aid (285). After finishing the election campaign, Rishi comes back to Khaireni Tar, he wants withdrawal, wishes to disappear, loves interior dark world and hates outer light, and ‘he wished he could just disappear (305).’  During the Dashain, all cadres leave Khaireni Tar, and Binita goes to Kainlo- kaka for receiving Tika and what blessing she gets is absurd, ‘May you fulfil your dharma(322).’

During the Dashain, Rishi alienates himself, puts off visiting Binita’s shop. Rather he goes to his house, lies to his parents and asks his share of property, though he sees his mother’s suffering. His waiting in the Gopal Prasad Rimal’s song, ‘Yes my dear it will come(329)’ is like waiting ‘Godot’ of Beckett.

After the Dashain, Pramila’s affliction has no counting. Binita and her daughter and Madhu are compelled to live alienated, ‘Me, Madhu and my daughter are alone (335).’ In Tihar, Rishi visits Binita’s shop and watches her movements, posters and has an unexpressed love because ‘she had begun to pull him with a seductive gravity (336).’ Rishi teaches Binita’s daughter and Madhu but he feels alienated and avails nothing from the connection. Binita feels alienated in the Kukur Pooja who has lived many years hiding and withdrawing from pleasure and tries to restore it but it becomes futile. Rishi has frustration, he wants to ‘touch’ her but it becomes an absurd idea, and finds vacant and darkness around him, ‘Around him everything was in shadow (347).’ Rishi and Binita’s relation is in the absurd, she fancies in Rishi’s arrival, ‘She wondered how his dry lips might taste (349).’ Love is absurd and abused for them.

Pramila didi’s alienation inspires her to be a ‘bad’ woman. But she cannot.

After the festivals, the people gather in Khaireni Tar.  The political parties’ activities seem absurd, ‘arranging them to buy and sell votes…booth capturing (356).’ On the other hand, Giridhar dai is drowned in alcohol withdrawing oneself from the self. Chirinjibi’s donation to the People’s Party is nihilistic status. Om’s belief in love, courtship, and friendship with Giridhar avails nothing. Giridhar’s exploring his own status is ridiculous, ‘You think he can win without me?(364)’ .He desires to die drinking being empty and frustrated; he is alone in the pageant of election. Jimmawal’s demand to raise the rent of his house to the party is extremely absurd that he dies next day, without getting a penny.

Rishi reflects absolutely absurd character. He desires to see the schoolmaster; who seems to be the ‘Godot’, he gets frustrated. He desires to be Binita’s thoughts, but cannot. He goes to Binita’s teashop, Binita is waiting to see him, does not see him but sees him. While returning from the mother’s group, Binita saw Rishi was talking the schoolteacher, an UML activist and she thought Rishi was conspirator to her brother-in –law. This absurd feeling plays to bring a wall between them, and he rushes to Binita’s teashop thinking it is time to say his love to her but it results nothing. While going back to Kathmandu, Rishi offered her love thinking, ‘he couldn’t make a new life for himself without her (393).’ This love fails to come in any colour or height. Madhu’s waiting for the Khadka boy is futile.

Before the voting day, Harsha Bahadur’s Cousin, the Maoist rebel uses catchwords for the radical change and against the bourgeois democracy looks absurd. It is the dream of the dreamers, never fulfils, and never comes this ‘utopia’.

The voting day, Chirinjibi, the unqualified district chairman of the party, gets cheated because Giridhar keeps the party records within himself. He feels emptiness when the voting starts, ‘What, in fact, did he know (405)?’ Voters’ long Queue for voting, Maoists’ bombing in the party office, fraud voting, , capturing votes, burning the ballot box, hooligans’ control of the votes, and violent activities of the parties all look absurd.

Madhu hates Harsha Bahadur but wants to marry with him; an absurd love. The election result came out. Foreign observers report having free and ‘fair’ election is extremely absurd. The Congress becomes the winner and Nayan Raj’s teacup loses the election. Nayan Raj is considered only as ‘Kathmandu intellectual’, not ‘people’s’. Chirinjibi resigns from the party chairman empty handed. The election result left much frustration to the people. The election result scattered the dreams of Binita, and her brother-in-law.She is alienated, walks alone while coming back from the mother’s club.

Rishi is waiting for Binita in Kathmandu for two months, keeps busy in seeking a job for him and for ‘his wife’. He goes to Khareni Tar by bus in full fantasy, ”My wife is looking for a work,” Rishi had said (441).’ He is fantasized at the end, ‘when the two of them were alone at last, with her consent he would move in, in love, to kiss her (442).’


‘The Tutor of History’ carries out a never ending expectations for nothingness from the nowhere by none. Everything can be felt to ‘come’ but it never comes, nothing happens and nothing goes. The most of the characters are victimized by the alienation, futility and nothingness. They expect something is coming in their life for the upliftment but nothing comes to bring changes in their lives. Binita vauju, Madhu, Rishi, Nayan Raj, Giridhar Adhikary, Harsha Bahadur Khadka, Chirinjibi, Pramila didi all have shattered dreams. They are running after the things and situation that is beyond their perception. They see the things only through the absurd lens and it is beyond their power of knowledge. None is able to be rational.


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Acharya, S.

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Shrestha, Ishowar Kumar (2062). Purvi Evam Pashchatya Sahitya Samalochana: Pramukh ManyataVad Ra Pranali, Sajha Prakashan, Kathmandu.

Thapa, Manjushree (2001). The Tutor of History, Penguin Books, India.

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