Beating Retreat Ceremony
- January 23, 2022
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
Beating Retreat Ceremony
Subject – Art and Culture
Context – Abide With Me, the Christian hymn dropped from Beating Retreat ceremony
- A day after the eternal flame at Amar Jawan Jyoti was shifted to the National War Memorial, the government has dropped Abide With Me, the sombre highpoint of the conclusion of the Republic Day celebrations.
- Penned in the pre-modern world by Henry Francis Lyte, a Scottish Anglican minister and son of a naval captain, the hymn, which is known for its simplicity and sombre theme, is often sung to English composer William Henry Monk’s evocative tune Eventide, and has been a fixture in the Indian Beating Retreat ceremony since 1950.
- It is always the last piece to be played by the brass bands before the troops recede up Raisina Hill to the tune of poet Allama Iqbal’s Saarejahan se achha.
- The hymn, which is popular across Christian denominations, was also played at the wedding of Queen Elizabeth II. It was played by musicians as the Titanic went down.
- The piece also became significant and popular during World War I.
- It is still sung during various military services in Australia and New Zealand.
- Abide With Me was one of Mahatma Gandhi’s personal favourites.
- Played at dusk, this is also the last piece before the retreat buglers bring down the Indian flag.
- At the ceremony, the hymn creates a sombre moment when the tubular bells ring from the North and the South blocks, followed by an echo effect created by musicians posted atop the two buildings.
In place of the hymn
- Abide With Me has been replaced by Kavi Pradeep’s seminal piece Aye Mere WatanKe Logon, which was written in the wake of the Sino-Indian War, and went on to become a tableau of Indian nationalism.
- The song was first sung on January 27, 1963. Composed by C Ramachandra and sung by Lata Mangeshkar, it was first performed at Delhi’s National Stadium in a fundraiser organised by the film industry for Indian war widows. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru welled up as the six-and-a-half-minute song was sung.
About Beating Retreat Ceremony
- It officially denotes the end of Republic Day festivities.
- It is conducted on the evening of 29 January, the third day after the Republic Day.
- It is organized by Section D of the Ministry of Defence.
- It is performed by the bands of the three wings of the military, the Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force, and pipe bands from the Army, plus from 2016 a massed formation of bands of the Central Armed Police Forces and the Delhi Police.
- The venue is Raisina Hills and an adjacent square, Vijay Chowk, flanked by the North and South blocks of the Central Secretariat and the Rashtrapati Bhavan (President’s Palace) towards the end of Rajpath.
- The chief guest of the function is the President of India.
- The ceremony traces its origins to the early 1950s when Major Roberts of the Indian Army developed the unique ceremony of display by the massed bands.
- The ceremony is currently held by Armed Forces in the UK, US, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and India, among others.