One String Attached, Quite Literally


A few days ago, my mother purchased this beautiful instrument from a street seller. Barely costing 50 bucks, it is a makeshift Iktara, an instrument with only one string.

I use the word ‘makeshift,’ as it uses daily items like a diya, a matchstick and other such items, for crafting the instrument. And for what goes in, I must say it is an absolute success.

Now let us have a slight brush up on the instrument. ‘Iktara’ or ‘Ektara,’ which literally translates in Hindi into ‘one-string,’ is an instrument played using a bow. Yes, I got my very own version of Violin. Only harder to play, it seems (I just can’t seem to work the string properly).

However, we must not confuse this instrument with the other Iktara. Another instrument, which also uses only one string, but is of a different make. The string is stretched between a neck of sorts, made out of bamboo cane. This instrument is also referred to as ‘Gopichand.’ To avoid confusion I will use that name in the coming lines.

So, Iktara and Gopichand carry various similarities like having only one string to play, using bamboo for the making of the body, being popular in the folk music of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh; but the difference lies in the playing style. While Iktara uses the bow in order to produce sound, Gopichand uses one’s fingers in order to pluck and play the instrument.

Both the instruments represent the culture of our country and an amazing music that many of us might not even be aware of!

And seeing the Iktara that my mum bought for me, made me think how amazing it was, that in just 50 bucks, I was able to discover all of that: the culture, the musical heritage, and its beauty.

About The Author

Tanya Bhatia

Tanya Bhatia (MCM College 36)

Hello everyone my name is Tanya Bhatia and you have just read an article written by me! I absolutely adore reading!; whether it is fanfiction or novels or mangas, I don’t discriminate. My greatest passions are writing and learning new languages.And also listening to music of said languages; whether it is Korean, Tamilian, Spanish, Japanese, English, Chinese, as I said I don’t discriminate.


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