Ekla Chalo Re - History, Lyrics and Translation of Rabindranath Tagore's inspirational poem

"Ekla Chalo Re" is a Bengali poem and song written by Rabindranath Tagore, a Nobel laureate from India. The song "Ekla Chalo Re" was originally titled "EKLA" and was first published in the September 1905 issue of Bhandar magazine. It was then published in 1910 as part of Tagore's collection of poems, "Kshudita Pashan".  This song is part of the Dhapkirtan or Manoharshahi gharana. It was later included in the "Swadesh" (Homeland) section of Rabindranath Tagore's collection of lyrics, "Gitabitan."

We used to sing this song sometimes in our assembly in my school in Delhi, DPS RK Puram. This poem has served me as inspiration many times in life along with Guru Gobind Singh's hymn Deh Shiva Bar Mohe Ihai in which he says "Oh Shiva, Give me this boon that I may never shirk from auspicious duties."  It is said that this song was one of Mahatma Gandhi's favorite songs as well and has for long been associated with political rallies and social change movements.

The poem is considered a classic and has been translated into many languages. The song Ekla cholo re meaning "If they answer not to thy call walk alone" is a call to remain steadfast and determined in one's pursuits, even if one is alone or unsupported by others. This poem is considered as a national anthem of the Indian state of West Bengal and Bangladesh.

It was inspired by the popular Bengali Kirtan song "Harinaam Diye Jagat Matale Amar Ekla Nitai Re," -"Because of the intoxication of harinaam, I am not alone." The repetition of Ekla Nitai, and the tune are identical to Tagore's poem.  

Romanized Lyrics for Ekla Chalo Re

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.

Tagore's English translation

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.

My Translation 

If no one answers your  call 
make a stride and walk alone
When everyone is closed and shut
Open your mind and speak alone.

Walk Alone, Walk Alone, Walk Alone

If they turn away and desert
and the wild path obstacles exerts
trample the thorns no matter the hurt
And Alone along blood-lined track traverse.

Walk Alone, Walk Alone, Walk Alone

If no one holds up the light 
and a fierce storm troubles the night,
with the thunder flame of pain ignite 
your heart, alone, and let it burn bright

Walk Alone, Walk Alone, Walk Alone

Bengali Lyrics:

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॥ 

[jodi tore] [ekala cholo] [ekala chalo] [ekla cholo] [ekla cholo]



  1. OH Shiv it's beautifull and it requires to be pondered .... I'm lucky because I do not walk alone and I thank God.


  2. Please put meaning of the song please now

  3. Lovely .. we live in times when " EKLA CHORO REH" rest all hoodwinked

  4. What beautiful lyrics. I wish it would have been written in Urdu, although your English translation is also superb.!

    1. Why Urdu? Bengali is a beautiful language. I am glad it’s written in Bengali by a Bengali Nobel laureate.