'Beating the Retreat' brings the curtains down on 2013 Republic Day celebrations

Last Updated: Tue, Jan 29, 2013 13:10 hrs

Lilting martial tunes and massed pipes and drum bands reverberated the air, while the majestic Raisina Hills was lit up as part of the 'Beating the Retreat' ceremony here on Tuesday, bringing the curtains down on the 2013 Republic Day celebrations.

Indian tunes were the flavour of 'Beating the Retreat' ceremony this year also.

As many as 18 of the 23 performances were composed by Indian musicians; just five popular tunes by foreign musicians were retained, interspersed four times with 'Fanfare', a collage by Buglers, and the 'Drummers' Call', a traditional performance by only the drummers.

President Pranab Mukherjee, the supreme commander of the armed forces, came from Rashtrapati Bhawan led by the President's BodyGuards (PBG), the oldest regiment of the Indian Army, to Vijay Chowk.

Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and their spouses also attended the ceremony that saw military bands, pipes and drums bands and bands of Navy and Air Force enchanting the audience.

UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Defence Minister A K Antony, BJP veteran Lal Krishna Advani, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, Minister of State for Defence Jitendra Singh, NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit were among the others present on the occasion.

Army Chief General Bikram Singh, Navy Chief Admiral Devendra Kumar Joshi and Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne were also present.

Fourteen Military Bands, Six Pipes and Drums Bands from regimental centres and eleven Pipes and Drums Bands from battalions, Buglers and Trumpeters from various Army Regiments performed during the ceremony. Besides, there were two Bands from the Navy and Air Force.

Most of the tunes played by the Army's Military Bands were based on Indian tunes. Two new compositions, - 'Dhola Re Dhola' by Maj. Gen. K.N. Bhatt and Maj. N. Hussain and 'Jitesh' by Maj. Khem Chand, were also played.

Other tunes which were played included 'Incredible India', 'Independence March', "Young India' and 'Scipio'. Navy and Air Force band performed the tune of 'Man of War', 'The Admiral Insignia', 'Evening Breeze' and 'Through the Great Ocean' composed by Lt. Cdr. S.K. Champion, and other tunes were 'Astronaut' and 'Sound Barrier' composed by MWO JA George.

The principal conductor of the Beating the Retreat ceremony was Lt. Cdr. S.K. Champion, while the military bands conductor was Sub. Maj. Inder Singh (Musician) and the Navy and Air Force bands commander was MCPO (Musician) Ramesh Chand. The Buglers performed under the leadership of Naib Subedar (Musician) Daya Ram Joshi and pipes and drum band were played under the instructions of Naib Subedar (Musician) Surinder Kumar.

'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 a nostalgia for the times gone by. (ANI)

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