Ekla Chalo Re

29 নভে.

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(Updated: 29 November, 2011, 20:00 hrs IST.)

Tagore c. 1905, the year he wrote “Ekla Chalo Re”

“Jodi Tor Daak Shune Keu Na Ase Tobe Ekla Chalo Re” (Bengali: যদি তোর ডাক শুনে কেউ না আসে তবে একলা চলো রে, Jodi Tor Daak Shune Keu Naa Aase Tobe Eklaa Chalo Re, “If no one responds to your call, then go your own way alone”[2]), commonly known as Ekla Chalo Re, is a Bengali patriotic song written by Rabindranath Tagore in 1905.[2]
Originally titled as “Eka”, the song was first published in the September 1905 issue of Bhandar magazine.[1] It was influenced by “Harinaam Diye Jagat Matale Amar Ekla Nitai Re”, a popular Bengali Kirtan song of Dhapkirtan[1] or Manoharshahi gharana[3] praising Nityananda, disciple of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.[1] Ekla Chalo Re was incorporated in the “Swadesh” (Homeland) section of Tagore’s lyrical anthology Gitabitan.[1]
The song exhorts the listener to continue his or her 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,[4] cited it as one his favorite songs.[5]


The verses of Ekla Chalo Re read as follows:

Bengali script
যদি তোর ডাক শুনে কেউ না আসে তবে একলা চলো রে।
একলা চলো, একলা চলো, একলা চলো, একলা চলো রে॥
যদি কেউ কথা না কয়, ওরে ওরে ও অভাগা,
যদি সবাই থাকে মুখ ফিরায়ে সবাই করে ভয়—
তবে পরান খুলে
ও তুই মুখ ফুটে তোর মনের কথা একলা বলো রে॥
যদি সবাই ফিরে যায়, ওরে ওরে ও অভাগা,
যদি গহন পথে যাবার কালে কেউ ফিরে না চায়—
তবে পথের কাঁটা
ও তুই রক্তমাখা চরণতলে একলা দলো রে॥
যদি আলো না ধরে, ওরে ওরে ও অভাগা,
যদি ঝড়-বাদলে আঁধার রাতে দুয়ার দেয় ঘরে—
তবে বজ্রানলে
আপন বুকের পাঁজর জ্বালিয়ে নিয়ে একলা জ্বলো রে॥

Bengali phonemic transcription

Jodi tor đak shune keu na ashe tôbe êkla chôlo re,
Êkla chôlo, êkla chôlo, êkla chôlo, êkla chôlo re.
Jodi keu kôtha na kôe, ore ore o ôbhaga,
Jodi shôbai thake mukh firaee shôbai kôre bhôe—
Tôbe pôran khule
O tui mukh fuţe tor moner kôtha êkla bôlo re.
Jodi shôbai fire jae, ore ore o ôbhaga,
Jodi gôhon pôthe jabar kale keu fire na chae—
Tôbe pôther kãţa
O tui rôktomakha chôrontôle êkla dôlo re.
Jodi alo na dhôre, ore ore o ôbhaga,
Jodi jhôŗ-badole ãdhar rate duar dêe ghôre—
Tôbe bojranôle
Apon buker pãjor jalie nie êkla jôlo re.

Translation into English

Here is the translation in prose of the Bengali original rendered by Rabindranath Tagore himself.[6]
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.



“Ekla Chalo Re” was written at Giridih town in modern-day Jharkhand, India.[7] It was one of the 22 protest songs[8] written during the Swadeshi period of Indian freedom movement and along with “Amar Sonar Bangla”, it became one of the key anthem of the Anti-Partition Movement in Bengal Presidency in 1905.[8]
Titled as “Eka” (“Alone”) the song was first published in the September 1905 issue of Bhandar magazine.[1] “Eka” was first included in Tagore’s song anthology Baul in 1905.[7] In 1941, it was incorporated into the “Swadesh” (“Homeland”) section of Gitabitan, the complete anthology of Tagore’s music.[9]
The musical notation of “Ekla Chalo Re” was prepared by Indira Devi, a niece of Tagore.[1] The notation was first published in the April-May 1906 issue of Sangeet-Vignan Prakashika magazine and later incorporated into the 46th volume of Swarabitan, the complete collection of Tagore’s musical notations.[1]

Recording history

Ekla Chalo Re was first recorded by Rabindranath Tagore himself sometime between 1905 and 1908.[1] The cylinder record labelled H. Bose Swadeshi Records is now lost.[1] 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.[1]
Eminent Rabindra Sangeet singer Suchitra Mitra recorded this song twice, first in 1948 (record no N27823) and then in 1984 (record no PSPL 1501).[10]


[1]^ Mukhopadhyay, Suren (2009) [2001] (in Bengali). Rabindra-Sangeet-Kosh [Encyclopedia of Rabindranath Tagore’s Songs] (2nd ed.). Kolkata: Sahitya Prakash. p. 290.
[2]^ a b Som, Reba (2009). Rabindranath Tagore: The Singer and His Song (1st ed.). New Delhi: Penguin Books India. p. 254. ISBN 978-0-670-08248-3.
[3]^ Basu Mallick, Dr Ashis (2004) (in Bengali). Rabindranather Bhanga Gaan [Transcreated Songs of Rabindranath Tagore] (1st ed.). Kolkata: Pratibhas. p. 166.
[4]^ “Rabindranath Tagore”. Germany: Embassy of India Barlin.
[5]^ “Rabindranath Tagore”. Rochester, NY, USA: Bengali Association of Greater Rochester.
[6]^ Choudhury, Subhas (2006) [2004] (in Bengali). Gitabitaner Jagat [The World of Gitabitan] (3rd ed.). Kolkata: Papyrus. p. 740. ISBN 81-8175-087-X.
[7]^ a b Choudhury, Subhas (2006). Gitabitaner Jagat. p. 33.
[8]^ a b Ghosh, Santidev (1987) [1942] (in Bengali). Rabindra Sangeet [Songs of Tagore] (6th ed.). Kolkata: Visva-Bharati. p. 108. ISBN 978-81-7522-302-8.
[9]^ Choudhury, Subhas (2006). Gitabitaner Jagat. p. 122.
[10]^ Mitra, Suchitra (2008) [1995]. “Suchitra Mitrer Record [Discography of Suchitra Mitra (appendix)]” (in Bengali). Mone Rekho [Autobiography of Suchitra Mitra] (2nd ed.). Kolkata: Ajkaal Publishers Pvt Ltd. pp. 65 & 72. ISBN 81-7990-084-3.


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