Republic Day celebrations culminate with 'Beating Retreat' ceremony

Jan 30, 2014, 08:49 IST | Agencies

The ceremony witnessed Indian President Pranab Mukherjee arriving on a horse carriage, reviving a presidential tradition discontinued for 30 years

New Delhi: Republic Day celebrations came to an end with the ‘Beating Retreat’ ceremony at the Vijay Chowk here on Wednesday.

President Pranab Mukherjee alights from his horse carriage Pic: AFP 

Indian tunes were the flavour of the ‘Beating the Retreat’ ceremony this year also. As many as 18 out of 21 performances were composed by Indian musicians and just three popular tunes by foreign musicians.

Salient feature of this year’s Beating Retreat Ceremony lies in the fact that 10 new compositions were played for the first time – four by Army (‘Jahan Daal Daal Pe Sone ki Chidiya’, ‘Swarnim Desh’, ‘Blessing of the God’ and ‘Dhruv’) and six by Navy and Air Force (‘Skylord’, ‘Brave Warriors’, ‘Stride’, ‘The Western Seas’, ‘Rejoice in Raisina’ and ‘Fidos’).

Also for the first time ‘Gagan Damama Bajio’ quick march tune was played in ‘Beating the Retreat’ Ceremony.

Other than ‘Abide with Me’ and ‘Sare Jahan Se Accha’ rest of the tunes were played after a gap of six or more years.

This year for the first time Indian Army introduced a drum ‘Tum Tum’ comprising of four sets of small drums in the Beating the Retreat Ceremony. The ceremony at the Vijay Chowk on 
January 29 every year marks the culmination of the four-day-long Republic Day celebrations. This year, 14 Military Bands, 17 Pipes and Drums Bands, 85 Buglers and 14 Trumpeters from various Regiments of Army participated in the Ceremony.

Besides, four Military Bands each of Indian Navy and Indian Air Force were also part of the event.

The principal conductor of the Beating Retreat ceremony was Sqn Ldr G Jayachandran, while military bands conductor was Subedar Major (Musician) Ramesh Singh and Navy and Air Force bands commander was Master Chief Petty Officer (Musician) Ramesh Chand.

Buglers performed under the leadership of Subedar Major (Musician) Hem Raj and pipes and drums bands played under the instructions of Subedar Major (Musician) Vijayan TV.

‘Beating the Retreat’ has emerged as an event of national pride when the Colours and Standards are paraded. The ceremony traces its origins to the early 1950s when Major Roberts of the Indian Army indigenously developed the unique ceremony of display by the massed bands.

‘Beating Retreat’ marks a centuries old military tradition, when the troops ceased fighting, sheathed their arms and withdrew from the battlefield and returned to the camps at sunset at the sounding of the Retreat.

Colours and Standards are cased and flags lowered. The ceremony creates nostalgia for the times gone by.

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