Location: Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India

Friday, May 06, 2005

Ekla Chalo Re!

In the midst of a conversation with my father a few days ago, I tried to convey that expecting people at large to take up collective social responsibility and do a selfless job is something that is highly improbable (I happen to be an optimist always, I never say impossible) - and inspiring them to do so is even more difficult.

One thing that is within your reach is to take up the responsibility and do a selfless work yourself. And then may be give a clarion call to people around to join you in your efforts for a common good and greater efficiency. The call might end in a no response situation, but that is where you need to move on despite all odds. And this needs a lot of inner motivation... when my father asked me if I knew this famous poem by Rabindranath Tagore (I can only lament that I never happened to pay great attention to literature) - "Ekla Chalo Re" - He, as a matter of fact, gave me the Telugu translation by one Rajani of the first few lines of the poem -

evarU kEkavinI rAkapOyinA sarE
okadave padavOi
okadave okkadave okkadavE
okkadavE, okadave padavOi

He advised me to go and ask any of my Bengali friends. The next day, I ask a friend of mine with whom am working on a project, if he knew any poems by Rabindranath Tagore - lo and behold! Straight comes the reply - "What do you want? "Ekla Chalo Re?" - and he sang it for me :) I kept chanting the verses that day and felt the beauty and the lingering sweetness of Bengali.

The next day, I happened to read this article in a newspaper by Mr T V R Shenoy - who wrote on the innumerable number of Congresses that are shaping out - one in Kerala, the other in Bengal - the splits - and new Congresses - and the title of the article was aptly named - "How many Congresses?" - this one had a very nice ending - let me quote Mr. T V R Shenoy :
" We honour Tagore on his birth anniversary later this week, but there is one piece of advice from him that the Congress High Command must resolutely ignore. As long as it needs the CPM’s crutch in Parliament, there is no question of “Ekla Chalo Re”!"

Ekla Chalo Re! As it is Tagore's birth anniversary on the May 7, I felt like reading the poem, if not the original, at least an English translation - thanks to the new Shyam Benegal film Subhash Chandra Bose, I found a host of links which were talking about the song "Ekla Chalo Re" in the movie. Finally I found a link which had the following English Translation:

If they answer not to thy call walk alone,
If they are afraid and cower mutely facing the wall,
O thou of evil luck,
open thy mind and speak out alone.
If they turn away, and desert you when crossing the wilderness,
O thou of evil luck,
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 of evil luck,
with the thunder flame of pain ignite thy own heart
and let it burn alone.

Call it Serendipity, Call it Coincidence or call it both at various levels - It's amazing to see this happen. This is not my first introduction to Tagore's poetry, but then - it was an interesting experience to get "Ekla Chalo Re" from so many sources.


Blogger Sreejith said...

Thats a wonderfully inspiring poem :) "with the thunder flame of pain ignite thy own heart and let it burn alone."
And a great translation too. Moved me... albeit almost.

Friday, May 06, 2005 4:50:00 AM  
Blogger kiran kumar Chava said...

Just came by searching for telugu.

nice poem, I really like it Ekla chalo rE

Friday, May 06, 2005 9:32:00 AM  
Blogger Urvashi goja said...

lovely translation....and yes we all walk alone in this journey!!

Thursday, April 25, 2013 6:35:00 PM  

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