The traditional Christian hymn ‘Abide with me’, which has been played at the Beating Retreat ceremony every year since 1950, has been dropped from the list of tunes for this year’s ceremony. The tune was reportedly a favourite of Mahatma Gandhi.
Instead of the four tunes played last year including the hymn, this year, there are three tunes with ‘Abide with me’ dropped from the list. The three tunes to be played by Massed Bands this year are ‘Kadam kadam badhaye ja’, ‘Drummers call’ and ‘Ae mere watan ke logon’.
Notably, the tune had been initially dropped in 2020, but was later included after protests from a section of public on social media. ‘Vande Mataram’ was played for the first time in 2020.
The military tradition of Beating Retreat is centuries old going back to the days when troops called truce and ended battle at sunset. Troops would sheath their arms and retreat at the sound of buglers’ ‘retreat’.
A brochure from the Defence Ministry explained, “It is for this reason that the custom of standing still during sounding of the ‘retreat’ has been retained to this day. Colours and Standards are cased and flags lowered at ‘retreat’”.
Meanwhile, the Beating Retreat will have two new additions this year, a drone show and a laser show on the occasion of 75th year of India’s independence.
The 10 minute drone show involves around 1,000 swarm drones and has been thought of, designed, produced and choreographed by ‘Botlab Dynamics’, a startup supported by Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi and Department of Science and Technology, officials said.
A laser projection show to commemorate 75 years of independence will also be on show on the walls of North and South Block for 3 to 4 minutes at the end of the ceremony.
Notably, the Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate was closed after the flame was merged with the flame at the National War Memorial on Friday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also announced that a granite statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose would be set up under a canopy at India Gate.