This year, Indian tunes were the flavour of Beating the Retreat ceremony, on January 29, 2018. As many as 26 performances on the historic Vijay Chowk enthralled the spectators with captivating and foot-tapping music of the bands from the Army, the Navy, the Air Force and the State Police and Central Armed Police Force (CAPF). Out of the 26 performances, 25 tunes were composed by Indian musicians, which are Indian Soldiers, Jhelum, Aj Diya Rati, Herana Herana, Nritya Sarita, Kundan Singa, Mayur Nritya, Manohar, Natraj, Battle of the Sky, Sitare Hind, Mushkoh Valley, Giri Raj, Tejas, Gagan Shakti, The Great Marshal, The Brave Warriors, INS Nilgiri, Namaste India, Jai Bharti, Amrit Wani, Veer Gorkha and Shere-E-Jawan, while Power of Sound and Kingdom of Heaven are two new compositions. The only western tune was Abide with me. The event closed with the ever-popular tune of Sare Jahan se Acha.
The ceremony at the Vijay Chowk on January 29th every year marks the culmination of the four-day-long Republic Day celebrations. This year, 18 Military Bands, 15 Pipes and Drums Bands from Regimental Centres and Battalions participated in Beating the Retreat ceremony. Besides one each of Indian Navy and Indian Air Force band also formed part of the event. Another band of the State Police and CAPF comprising Central Industrial Security Force, Central Reserve Police Force and Delhi Police also took part.
The Principal Conductor of the Ceremony was Maj Ashok Kumar while Army Military bands conductor was Sub Maj SK Sharma and the Navy and Air Force band conductors were Master Chief Petty Officer (Musician-I) Ramesh Chand and Junior Warrant Officer Ashok Kumar respectively. The conductor of the State Police and CAPF bands was Constable Bhim Singh. Buglers performed under the leadership of Sub Jagdish Giri and pipes and drums bands played under the instructions of Sub Maj Num Bahadur Gurung.
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 of the times gone by.
pix: Naresh Kumar, GD Mehra, Fulchand Kitadikar, Sushil Kumar and Rakesh Mangaraj