We were in Santiniketan. The tone of ‘Ekla Chalo Re’ was echoing throughout the atmosphere. I was seeing and experiencing every element of Santiniketan established by the poet Rabindranath Thakur. This Santiniketan has a glimpse of the footsteps of Rabindranath Tagore and his heritage all around in the impression of the rural environment of a typical Bengali village.
Video of ‘Ekla Chalo Re’ in the vocals of the Bowl singer
The culmination of my entire experience in the artistic environment of Santiniketan was the listening to the song ‘Ekla Chalo Re’ sung by Baul singer Mr. Pradeep Das Baul. Earlier I had heard many famous singers singing this song. They also include singers of Bengali origin. But it was an unforgettable experience to sit in front of a bowl singer and hear him sing this song. Listening to the song composed by him amidst the artistic vision of Rabindranath Thakur, who was sitting in every particle, was making this experience incomparable.
Lyrics of ‘Ekla Chalo Re’
When I returned home, the voices of Shri Pradeep Das Baul were echoing in my ears. Memories of the entire experience were on my mind. Now it was time to understand the lyrics of that song. Google and Wikipedia helped me fully. From there I came to know the meaning of the song along with its lyrics. I also sang this song many times while adding melody to this song sung by famous singers like Kishore Kumar for a few days. Shanai: shanai while singing the song, the hidden meanings in those words started to become clear to me.
Video of ‘Ekla Chalo Re’ by Kishore Kumar
‘Ekla Chalo Re’ This song was composed by Rabindranath Thakur in 1905 for a magazine ‘Bhandar’. After this it was published in a compilation called ‘Bowl’. Although I do not know much about this collection, I am eager to know about this collection. Later it was also published in the indigenous section of another compilation ‘Gitabitan’. The song was sung by Indira Devi, the niece of Rabindranath Thakur.
This song was recorded by Rabindranath Thakur himself, but unfortunately that record is now lost. But now this song has become an integral part of Bengali culture. Except for the vocals of Rabindranath Thakur himself, this song is available in the voices of many other singers. While searching for this song in the voice of Rabindranath Thakur, this song was sung by a bowl singer in my hands. In this version you can hear the two-star sound clearly. A two-star is a musical instrument consisting of two strings. This instrument is a favorite of the Baul singers of Bengal.
A video of this song presented in classical singing style with accompaniment to a two-star musical instrument
Personally I feel myself attached to this song. I have gone through the journey of my maximum life alone.
Listen to Manna Dey singing the Hindi version of Ekla Chalo Re.
When Rabindranath Thakur says, ‘When no one listens to your call, keep on walking alone’. Hearing this, I remember many twists of my life when I was in exactly the same situation. Whenever I wanted to go somewhere, I used to urge many people to come together. But when no one heard my call, I used to walk alone. When they came back, they all expressed their desire to follow that path with me.
Inspiring to walk alone, this song gives you the support of all those who have left their mark while walking alone on that path.
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When you are unhappy, you find a support that can comfort you. Generally, we do not get any such consolation at the time of need. In that case, it is advisable to move forward alone while battling with your problem. If you want to change the outlook of the world, first light a lamp inside you that will make the world aware of a new path. One has to throw himself into the creation of the new path, that too alone.
Video of ‘Ekla Chalo Re’ in the voice of Shreya Ghoshal
This song resonates at every stage of existence. On a practical level, this song indicates that it is not possible that we have the support of someone at every moment. On an emotional level, we all feel lonely at times, even when we are surrounded by people. On a spiritual level, this song gives the message that we all have to walk alone. A seeker never walks in a group, as it is also said in a devotional song, ‘Sadhu na chale jamaat’.
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This is an inspirational song. This is a song that can support you when you need it most. It gives you a message not to be distracted by the crisis facing you. It gives you inner strength and comfort that in the opposite situation you are in, others also come in this type of situation many times.
Video of ‘Ekla Chalo Re’ in the voice of Amitabh Bachchan
The song once again came into the limelight and crossed the boundaries of fame when famous actor Amitabh Bachchan sang this song in his iconic voice in a chitpat called ‘Kahaani’.
As such, many famous people have given this song the same dignity by singing it in their own style. Some of them I have presented for you in this edition. Hope you have enjoyed listening to them. Which version of this song of Rabindranath Thakur did you find most loved? Do you know any other version of this song as well? If yes, then please do inform us.
Translation: Madhumita Tamhane