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Ekla Chalo Re

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Wikipedia article

'Jdi Tor Dak Shune Keu Na Ase Tbe Ekla Chlo Re' ("If no one responds to your call, then go your own way alone"), commonly known as 'Ekla Chlo Re', is a Bengali patriotic song written by Rabindranath Tagore in 1905.

Originally titled as "EKLA", the song was first published in the September 1905 issue of 'Bhandar' magazine. It was influenced by 'Harinaam Diye Jagat Matale Amar Ekla Nitai Re', a popular Bengali 'Kirtan' song of 'Dhapkirtan' or Manoharshahi 'gharana' praising Nityananda, disciple of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. 'Ekla Chalo Re' was incorporated in the "Swadesh" (Homeland) section of Tagore's lyrical anthology 'Gitabitan'.

The song exhorts the listener to continue their journey, despite abandonment or lack of support from others. The song is often quoted in the context of political or social change movements. Mahatma Gandhi, who was deeply influenced by this song, cited it as one of his favourite songs.


Bengali lyrics

The verses of 'Ekla Chalo Re' read as follows:

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Roman transliteration

Jodi tor dak shune keu na ashe tobe ekla cholo re.

Tobe ekla cholo, ekla cholo, ekla cholo, ekla cholo re.

Jodi keu kotha na koe, ore ore o obhaga,

Jodi shobai thake mukh phirae shobai kore bhoe, jodi shobai thake mukh phirae shobai kore bhoi

Tobe poran khule

O tui mukh phute tor moner kotha ekla bolo re.

Jodi shobai phire jae, ore ore o obhaga,

Jodi gohon pothe jabar kale keu phire na chae, jodi gohon pothe jabar kale keu phire naa chai

Tobe pother kata

O tui roktomakha chorontole ekla dolo re.

Jodi alo na dhore, ore ore o obhaga,

Jodi jhor-badole adhar rate duar dae ghore

Tobe bojranole

Apon buker pajor jalie nie ekla jolo re.

Tagore's English translation

Here is the translation in prose of the Bengali original rendered by Rabindranath Tagore himself:

If they answer not to thy call walk alone,

If they are afraid and cower mutely facing the wall,

O thou unlucky one,

open thy mind and speak out alone.

If they turn away, and desert you when crossing the wilderness,

O thou unlucky one,

trample the thorns under thy tread,

and along the blood-lined track travel alone.

If they do not hold up the light when the night is troubled with storm,

O thou unlucky one,

with the thunder flame of pain ignite thy own heart

and let it burn alone.


Publication of lyric

"Ekla Chalo Re" was written at Giridih town in modern-day Jharkhand, India.Choudhury, Subhas (2006). 'Gitabitaner Jagat'. p. 33. It was one of the 22 protest songs written during the Swadeshi period of Indian freedom movement and along with "Amar Sonar Bangla", it became one of the key songs for the Anti-Partition Movement in Bengal Presidency in 1905.

Titled as "Eka" ("Alone") the song was first published in the September 1905 issue of 'Bhandar' magazine. "Eka" was first included in Tagore's song anthology 'Baul' in 1905. In 1941, it was incorporated into the "Swadesh" ("Homeland") section of 'Gitabitan', the complete anthology of Tagore's music.Choudhury, Subhas (2006). 'Gitabitaner Jagat'. p. 122.

The musical notation of "Ekla Chalo Re" was prepared by Indira Devi, a niece of Tagore. The notation was first published in the AprilMay 1906 issue of 'Sangeet-Vignan Prakashika' magazine and later incorporated into the 46th volume of 'Swarabitan', the complete collection of Tagore's musical notations.

Recording history

Ekla Chalo Re was first recorded by Rabindranath Tagore himself sometime between 1905 and 1908. The cylinder record labelled H. Bose Swadeshi Records is now lost. Two other records of the song made by Harendranath Dutta (record no P5270) and Hindustan Party (comprising Amala Dutta, Nandita Devi, Sudhin Dutta and Santidev Ghosh) (record no H 191) are released by Gramophone Company of India and Hindustan Records respectively.

Eminent Rabindra Sangeet singer Suchitra Mitra recorded this song twice, first in 1948 (record no N27823), for the film Sandipan Pathshala, then in 1984 (record no PSPL 1501). There is also a third recording of this song by Suchitra Mitra from the album Rupantori (1988). She also recorded the song for the fourth time, with the said being played as background music, by Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, from the album Tribute to Tagore.

In popular culture

In 2004, "Ekla chalo re" song was used along with Hindi lyrics composed by A.R Rahman and sung by Sonu Nigam in the movie 'Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose: The Forgotten Hero'. The song was included in a 2012 Bollywood film; 'Kahaani' and is sung by actor Amitabh Bachchan under music direction of VishalShekhar. Earlier, it had also been sung by Kishore Kumar, under the direction of Hemanta Mukhopadhyay. The song was also recorded by Hemanta Mukherjee, in 1989. Manna Dey had sung the song in Hindi as Teri Awaz Pe Yadi Koi Naa Aye.


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