songs > mass songs
Songs of Consciousness and Awakening

As you can see, most of these songs were composed during the '40s and '50s. I definitely believe that this was the most important period in Salil's life.As a young man, just after school, he started writing songs and according to his childhood friends who later joined IPTA with him, his main musical influence were Rabindranath Tagore, Pankaj Mullick, Jyotirindra Moitra (who wrote the 23-song epic "Nabajeebaner Gaan") etc. However, quite quickly Salil found his own niche and with his increasingly developing political ideas and his brilliant writing and composing skills he started composing songs which till today are considered landmarks in modern Bengali music. These songs were his political and social statements. Musically and lyrically unparalelled. To know and understand Salil one must know these songs. A complete collection of these songs is very difficult to obtain. In fact, I still discover songs composed by Salil, never recorded but they are known to the handful of IPTA members still around.Recently a wonderful book called 'Ganasangeet Sangraha' was published compiled by Subrata Rudra. This book has managed to print most of these songs uncensored. Some of the lyrics of Salil's songs were so fiery that they were censored before they were performed or recorded. Good examples are 'Naaker bodoley noruun peluum' and "Hei saamaalo dhann ho". The most recent (2005) publication of well-researched "Sei Baansiwaalaah" by Gononatya Prokashon has now published quite a few of Salil's mass songs along with his writings. A must have book for all Salil lovers.

Nr

Title of Song
Year
MS1 Uru taka taka taghina taghina
One of the earliest compositions for IPTA. Basically a rural folk song in two parts expressing the joy of sowing and harvesting by Bengali peasants.A wonderful Hindi version of this song (DZ1)'Hariyaali sawaa.n dhol bajaata aaya'  appears in that famous film 'Do Bigha Zameen'.
1944/45
MS2 Aalor desh thekey aandhaar paar hoyee Lyrics
Composed for IPTA. Salil was experimenting with vocal-harmony and singing in parts. This song says that if there's a dreamland anywhere, it's here in our motherland and it has to be created by sacrifice and hardwork. Recorded first time in the US in 1982. A much better (unavailable) home recording was made later in Kolkata by Salil with Sabita,Antara and Sanchari.
1945/46
MS3 Gowrisringa tulechhe sir
After the second World War there was a worldwide youth movment for peace.This song was composed to celebrate that. A call to the youth to unite for peace. This version was recorded in the '80s with Salil's commentary.
1946 ?
MS4

Dheu uthchhey karaa tutchhey
Composed on 29th July 1946, the day when Indian people rose to support the Naval Mutiny.
This song is an amazing composition. Considering the fact that it was 1946 one is astonished to find the maturity in Salil's musical capabilities. The harmony in this song was never before or since heard. A gem in Bengali music.

1946
MS5 Karaar duaar bhaango, bhaango oikker bajra kothin hathey
This song was composed during the '40s when the freedom fighters were imprisoned in the Andaman Islands. Very revolutionary. Inviting the masses to break the prison walls down....This song was never recorded.
194?
MS6

Aayre o aayre
Every farmer has a right to the produce of the land he harvests. A song of protest against the profit motivated landlords who exploited the farmers. Later recorded by Salil in the 80's in an excellent album called 'Ghoom Bhangaar Gaan'. A must have album for all. .Another not so nice version is in the film 'Haraaner Natjamaai'(HN4)

1946 ?
MS7 Aage chalo aage chalo
This song was composed before the independence and during an all out students strike in Calcutta. It refers to the two well-known martyrs Rameshwar and Kadam Rasul who were killed by the police in Dharmatala in 1948. In fact the reference to these two martyrs and Dharmatala appears in a couple of more songs of Salil. No recording of this song was ever made.
It took us many years before we could find the melody of this song. The lyrics were published before.
1948
MS8 Bhango bhango bhango bhango bhango kaaraa
Calling people to get united and break down this prison door. A prison made up of lies and false hopes. No one can stop the force of truth. Composed during the strike called by the freedom fighters imprisoned in the Andaman Islands in the '40s. No recording was ever made of this song.
194?
MS9 Bichaarpoti tomaar bichaar korbey jaaraa Lyrics
Composed during the independence movement. A hard look at the unfair British justice system. It's asking the british judge 'who will judge you, your honour ?'. This song is based on the Bengali 'kirtan' style. In one hand it can be sung as a typical 'kirtan' with a traditional 'khole' and on the other hand it can be sung with beautiful vocal arrangement and harmony which Salil has done. One of the most important compositions in Bengali music.
1947
MS10

Nobaaruno raage raange re
Possibly the first record released of Salil singing with his comrade Geeta Mukherjee. Listening to the lyrics it appears that this song and the song below must have been composed much earlier - I mean before the independence, possibly early '40s. Both the songs are about freedom and the struggle of the freedom fighters and the future.

1948
MS11

Nondito nondito desh aamaar
Another beautiful song sung by Salil and Geeta Mukherjee. A salutation to the motherland and a call to everybody to celebrate the glorious motherland. As a composition its quite unique. First time recorded in 1948.

1948
MS12 Hei samaalo dhaan ho, kasteyta dao shaan ho
Composed during the 'tebhaaga aandolon' (tripartate movement), when the farmers demanded that 3-part of of the produce should be theirs and 1-part to the landowner. First recorded by IPTA singers in 1948. This version with Salil's own commentary. Salil used this song is several films. One of them is "Haaraaner Naatjaamaai".
1948
MS13 Maanbo naa bandhaney
A forceful song refusing to accept the unfair social justice, abject poverty, black marketeers and corrupt politicians. The song demands a better society and the right of freedom. It was recorded first time by Manna Dey. Its a wonderful recording. The version on this page is a re-recording in the '80s with Salil's commentary.
1948
MS14 Aamaar protibaader bhaasaa Lyrics
One of the earliest compositions of Salil. It's in one way a prayer and in another way a promise. Reminding people to resist exploitation of the oppressed by the oppressor. It was first recorded by Debabrata Biswas in 1963 on 78rpm. Later it was re-released on a 45rpm record. The current version which you can hear on this page is another and more modern re-recording by Salil in the '80s.
1948
MS15 Tomaar buker khuner chinho khu.nji
There were numerous casualties in the bloody riots during the strikes and movements in '48-'49. These were the Free-the-political-prisoners movement, Food riots, right-of-land-ownership for the farmers movement etc. Salil wrote this song the day his close friend the great poet Sukanto Bhattyacharya died of tuberculosis, but its also in the honour and remembrance of those who died during this period. First recorded by Sunil Mukherjee of IPTA in 1948 and released by Megaphone. This record is long unobtainable. Later rerecorded by Sabita Chowdhury in 1982 (SC55) and also by Haimanti Shukla in the film 'Haraaner Naatjamaai' (HN5)
1948
MS16 Shono Shono bhaire
I am sure that this song was composed after the independence. The lyrics are very bitter and full of sarcasm. Telling the masses if they are not prepared to starve to death then they should be ministers or a black marketeers. No room for an honest person. This song was never recorded.
1948/49
MS17 O moder deshobaashi re
Calling all countrymen to fight the men in power who are trying to divide and rule the nation. Fight against discrimination and racism. This song was based on the 'Bihu' folk style from Assam.One of the few IPTA songs recorded in the '40s. It was rerecorded in the '80s with wonderful voice arrangement by Salil and with his commentary.
1949
MS18 Haatey moder ke debey ke debey se bheri
An IPTA song singing about the power of the masses. It was first recorded by the IPTA singers in 1949. One of the very few IPTA songs which were recorded in fact. Hemanta Mukherjee recorded this song once again in 1981.Sadly one can hear his voice is not what it used to be.(HM20)
1949
MS19 O aalor patho jaatri, ejey raatri, ekhaney themo na/Ahobaan shono ahobaan
One of the most well-known mass songs of Salil. After the independence a reminder to the nation to wake up and not slumber into a lazy existence.Originally recorded by IPTA in 1949. Later at least two more versions were recorded with different vocal arrangements but the one with Manna Dey, Sabita and Chorus (1971) is outstanding. The version played on this page is from the album "Ghoombhangaar Gaan" with Salil's commentary. There's also an excellent Hindi version arranged for Doordarshan (OB15).
1949
MS20 Sei Meye, hoyto taare dakheni keu
Composed after the Bengal famine. Relates to Rabindranath Tagore's 'Krisnokoli aami tarey boli', the song about that dark doe-eyed girl. Salil's
'Sei Meye' continues the plight of that dark girl who lived through the famine. Sung by Bengal's most famous Rabindra Sangeet singer Suchitra Mitra. One of the most memorable songs in Bengali 
1950
MS21 Dustaro paraabar aay ke hobi re paar
A song of boatmen, rowing through a stormy river and symbolises the struggle of Indian people. Begining of this song was taken from a well known '50s song "Rose, rose I love you".
'50s
MS22 Janmabhoomi (Dhonno aami jonmechhi maa tomaar dhulitey)
A celebretory song for the motherland, performed originally by Suchitra Mitra (member of IPTA) and later a much modern version by Manna Dey in 1971. Salil's very effective use of "glory glory hallelujah" from John Brown's Body in the interlude gives this song a very different dimension. There is also a wonderful Malayalam version of this song (TS2) in the film "Thomasleeha" sung by Yesudas.
1951
MS23 Aamaader nanaan matey nanaan daley dalaadali (Shaantir Gaan)
After the second World War several nations were building a socially democratic society when others were trying to divide us. A warning to this threat and a call to unite. It was first recorded by the IPTA singers in 1951. The lead voices were Salil himself and Suchitra Mitra. This was one of the very few IPTA songs which wes recorded. An excellent Hindi choral version of this song was performed for Doordarshan in the early '90s. (OB18)
1951
MS24 Aayre he poushaali bataase
Salil used this song first in the Bengali film 'Rikshawaala' (1953). As far as I know no record was ever released. However, this song, a celebration of the new harvest was frequently performed by the IPTA singers. The lyrics of this song is in the Salil Chowdhury song book and it's Bengali notation (very bad !) is also available in the book published by Suhas Chowdhury. I have been looking for this song for years without any luck until recently (Feb 2002) when I met one of the IPTA veterans - Montu Ghosh who sang it for me and I taped it. Just at the same time I found out that Salil also did a wonderful hindi version of this song "naach re dharti ke pyaare" (sung by Lata,Hemant and chorus) in the film 'Heera Moti'. The MD was Roshan except for this song. This was confirmed by none other than Lata in an interview with Dada Saheb Phalke in 1990. Later Salil also mentioned this in a radio interview.
1953
MS25 E je ondhokaare bosey bandhadarey sudhu byartho ghaato aanaa
Brilliant song and brilliant lyrics.Sanat Banerjee recorded this song sometimes in the early '50s on Megaphone label. That is a long unobtainable 78 rpm ! The other side has 'Nowjawan, Nowjawan'.
195?
MS26 Nowjawaan, nowjawaan,bishshe jegechhe nowjawaan
Another rather dated but very important song calling the youth of the world to unite. A call for unity and harmony. Sanat Banerjee recoreded this song sometimes in the early '50s.
195?
MS27 Naaker bodoley norun pelaam taak dumaadum dum
Another highly political and rather sarcastic song. Very anti-British but at the sametime very critical of the people who became the rulers after the British left.The lyric of this song was heavily censored when it was recorded by Sanat Chatterjee (along with  'E je andhakarey bosey (MS23)'. Much later IPTA's Montu Ghosh sang this song for AIR,Calcutta.
195?
MS28 Chalo chalo he mukti senaani bivedo sarpo shir doli Lyrics
One of the most forceful and passionate songs composed during the IPTA days, most probably in the '50s. Debabrata Biswas recorded it first in 1963 and its a wonderful recording. It was re-released later on a 45rpm record.Very spirited song with powerful lyrics.
195?
MS29 Pathey ebaar namo saathi pathei habey e path chenaa
Another well-known song composed during the IPTA days. A call for unity and a call to stand against oppression. This song was composed in the beginning of the '50s during the West Bengal-wide teachers strike which went through the whole night in front of the 'Raj-Bhawan', the prime ministers residence. Wonderful composition. First recorded in 1954 by Hemanta Mukherjee. Another quite rare recording by Debabrata Biswas was unearthed in 2001 and in the late '80s a wonderful Hindi choral version was performed for Doordarshan (OB16)
1954
MS30 Jhankaaro jhankaao rudrobinaa
Composed for Bombay Youth Choir. A song of hope, better days to come, for peace and prosperity. A hindi version NB2 with fairly modified melody appeared in the film "Netaji Subhaas Chandra Bose'.
1959/60
MS31 Ei desh ei desh amaar ei desh
Composed for the AIR, Calcutta on the completion of 25 years of Indian independence from British rule. A tribute to the unity in the midst of diversity of the people of our country, India.
A beautiful version of this song by Antara is in the film 'Mahabharoti'.
1972
MS32 Jibon jakhan sudhu dudin
The original song in Hindi 'Tu zinda hai to zindagi ki' (OB1) was composed for Bombay Youth Choir back in 1957 and the lyrics were most probably by Shailendra. Salil wrote the Bengali lyrics in 1982 in the US when he was recording the album 'Uttaran' there. Salil also used this song in the Hindi Film 'Memdidi' ('bhula do zindagi ke gam' - Lyric : Sailendra) (MD4).
1957/82
MS33 Dur noy dur noy diganto dur noy oi shono muktir barabhoy
I don't really know exectly when this song was composed. Calcutta Youth Choir sang it regularly at concerts and they even have a record with this song. Unusual and powerful composition about the better days to come...Recently I heard another much better version performed by ICA (Indian Choir Academy) conducted by Arun Basu, a longtime Salil admirer and a choirmaster. Mr. Basu claims that ICA sings the original version.
196?
MS34 Odhikaar key kaake dai
Composed just before the election when Indian Congress Party led by Indira Gandhi was trying to get re-elected after the draconian "emergency" rulings. Right to live free,right of education,right of freedom, right to say the truth.
Who didn't have to fight for these basic rights ? Don't expect these rights to be given to you for free. You have to fight for them. Brilliant song and brilliant composition. Quite unusual chord progression and rather difficult to sing, but Subir Sen did a good job in 1981. The Hindi choral version (OB20) presented in Doordarshan wasn't so great.The lyrics sounded terrible. However, the Bengali choral version by Calcutta Choir, arranged by Salil was brilliant.
Recently (January 2005) we discovered a completely new version of this song sung by none other than Salil with chorus! The melody is different but very powerful. Sadly this version was never recorded.
1982
MS35

Ektu Chup kore shono
In a rare and excellent album called "Ektu chup kore shono" (Just be quiet and listen) Salil composed some memorable songs. This song is urging people to listen, look and think about the desparate poverty, suffering and hunger in this world. It reminds you about the nations who toture and exploit their own people. It asks why in this beautiful earth so many people should suffer only because a small minority has the power to control everything.

1982
MS36

Aaro dure jete habe
Another excellent song in the same album. This song is a warning to everybody that we really have to go much further. A call to lift your anchor from the port, set the sails and sail forward to the land where there's no poverty, no sufferings and no war. It then reminds you that that world in inside all of us - we need to re-discover that world and leave the sufferings behind. A really interesting composition and you can hear Salil singing with Sabita and Antara.

1982
MS37

Saaraataa desh juDe aamaar gharbaaDi
This song is a call to every Indian to rise above regionalism and be proud to be an Indian. It reassures us that no matter which part of India we are from we are all united as one. In a way this song reminds me of Salil's earlier composition "aamaader naanaan mate naanaan dale dalaadali" (Shantir Gaan) from 1951.

1982
MS38 Puraano din puraano mon
This was the only song Salil composed during his stay in US during 1982. This song is an invocation to the spirit of Indian people to leave behind the sterile values of life and go forward to create a new land of promise thru unity and struggle. This song was recorded for the first time in the US and is included in the album 'Uttaran' released in the US in 1982. Later Salil got Saikat Mitra to record a solo version(SK4) in 1990. Don't ask me why.
Excellent Hindi Choral version performed for Doordarshan (OB15), lyrics by Yogesh.
There's even a Malayalam version. Check OB32.
1982
MS39

Juddho kano hoy
An anti-war song asking the age-old question. Why there are so many wars, why Hiroshima, why Nagasaki ? Who benefitted from the millions who died ? Why people can't live without violence ? Why some nations start wars ? Very relevant question but is there an answer ?

1982
MS40 Cholchhe aaj cholbey kaal shantir ei michhil
This song was composed on September 1,1982 during the peace-march in Calcutta when Salil along with hundreds of others walked shoulder to shoulder and sang this song. He used this song in one film called 'Mahabharoti' and Shibaji Chattyopadhaay sang beautifully. There's also an excellent Hindi choral version performed in Doordarshan in the '80s, conducted by Salil (lyrics: Yogesh).
1982
MS41 Sedin aar koto durey
A beautiful classically based song in 7/8 rhythm.Recorded first time by Calcutta Choir with fascinating harmony arranged by Salil. An optimistic song. Looking for the day when this country will be rich, green and happy again. An excellent hindi choral version was performed for Doordarshan (OB19) and a rather disappointing Bengali solo version (HS4) by Haimanti Shukla.
1985/90
MS42

Eso aaj ei shubhodine onkikaar kori bondhu
This was definitely the last mass song composed by Salil in the early nineties. This song was composed during the racial violence which spread throughout India just after the burning of the Ayodha Mosque by the hindu fundamentalis.Till the end he dreamt of an united India without racial and religious intolerance. His urgent plea to everybody is not to forget the glorious history of India and not to allow the spread of hatred and a divided India. A powerful song with classic Salil style. It was recorded for Doordarshan (TV) by Dwijen Mukherjee with the Calcutta Choir backing him up but sadly the recording is not available. I managed to get Calcutta Choir sing this song for me on a stage. Of course the magic touch of Salil's arrangement is missing and the recording is not brilliant but you can at least hear the melody and the lyrics.

1993
MS43

Eso Nabobarsa
A beautiful song composed to welcome the Bengali New Year. Salil composed it for the Doordarshan (TV) and it has never been released. I had to beg Doordarshan for three years to get the song. It welcomes the new year and hopes that new blood will carry foward our values and our hopes. It is a wonderful song for Bengalees all over the world to sing during the New Year (Nabobarsa). Performed beautifully by Salil, Sabita and Antara.

1990/91