Tabla, flute and violin debut at Beating Retreat

Tabla, flute and violin debut at Beating Retreat

The “Beating the Retreat” ceremony at Vijay Chowk here on Friday turned into a unique musical extravaganza, with sitars, flutes and tablas being heard for the first time along with 15 military and 18 pipe and drum bands.

The four-day long Republic Day celebrations came to its end with the Beating the Retreat ceremony.

President Pranab Mukherjee was joined by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vice President M Hamid Ansari and other dignitaries to witness the traditional military ceremony, which reminded the ancient days when belligerent armies stopped fighting in the evening, only to restart it next morning.

The ceremony this year had for the first time two Indian orchestras – complete with sitars, flutes and tablas – joining with military bands, playing tunes like “Ai Mere Watan Ke Logon”, “Taaqat Watan Ki Humse Hai” and “Vande Mataram”.

Bands from the state police and Central Armed Police Force performed at the ‘Beating the Retreat’ ceremony for the first time this year.

 The bands comprising Border Security Force, Indo-Tibet Border Police and the Delhi Police played the tunes ‘Samvidhan’, ‘Abhinandan’ and ‘Carriappa’.

The Tri-Services Military Band, Indian classical instruments Sinfonietta and Jazz Symphonic Orchestra playing the tune ‘Agyat Youvana’. Sinfonietta also played the tune ‘Bharat Humko Jaan Se Pyara Hai’.

Mukherjee arrived in his presidential buggy amid loud cheers by the spectators. The President was received by Prime Minister, Vice President and chiefs of Indian Army, Navy and Air Force.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and several other senior Union ministers were present at Vijay Chowk during the ceremony. So were former prime minister Manmohan Singh, and Congress president Sonia Gandhi and a host of foreign diplomats and military attaches.

Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite “Abide with Me” was played towards the end of the ceremony, before the military bands marched up Raisina Hill to the tune of “Sare Jahan Se Aachha”.

The retreat was sounded and the national flag was brought down to mark the end of the ceremony. The spectators were spellbound as thousands of light bulbs illuminated the Rashtrapati Bhavan, South Block, North Block and the Parliament House complex.

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