Some changes have been made in the Beating Retreat ceremony held at the Vijay Chowk on January 29 after the Republic Day. The much popular ceremony’s famous band is likely to conclude the ceremony with the ‘Vande Mataram’.
Earlier, the ceremony used to end with the Christian hymn ‘Abide With Me’, said to be a favourite of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, and written by a Scottish Anglican preacher named Henry Francis Lyte.
A Deccan Herald report quoted MoD officials as saying that they are including with new tunes and this is a routine change.
It is notable here that the Beating Retreat ceremony, held every year at Vijay Chowk in Raisina Hill complex to mark the conclusion of the Republic Day celebrations, is a popular event where brass bands from all the three forces play tunes and signal a formal end to the festivities in the presence of the President of India.
Last year, ‘Abide With Me’ was the only western tune played by the brass bands. Traditionally, at the playing of its last note, the lights of the Raisina Hill turn on, signalling the end of the ceremony.
After the lights are turned on, the principal conductor of the ceremony seeks the President’s permission to close the ceremony. The bands then collectively retreat to Saare ‘Jahan Se Achchha’ and conclude the event.
The Beating Retreat is an old military tradition. Soldiers used to march back to their barracks to beating tunes after a day’s work. To mark the return of the soldiers, arms, tanks and other weapon systems to their respective barracks after participating in the Republic Day parade, the event is conducted at the Raisina Hill Complex three days after the Republic Day.
The Raisina Hill Complex houses India’s power centre. It has the Rashtrapati Bhavan, The Parliament House, The North Block and South Block, besides other buildings.
As per reports, last year, 18 military bands, and 15 pipe and drum bands had participated in the Beating Retreat ceremony. There were 25 tunes composed by Indian musicians, including ‘Indian Soldiers’, ‘Herana Heran’, ‘Mushkoh Valley’ etc.
This year, the Inter-services guard will be commanded by Wing Commander Vipul Goyal. The Air Force march will be led by Flight Lieutenant Shrikant Sharma and three other officers. The Air Force band is to have 72 musicians and 3 drum majors.
Reports have mentioned from government sources that it was decided that ‘Vande Mataram’ will instil a greater sense of ‘Swadeshi’ element and patriotism