Indian tunes dominate Beating Retreat

Indian tunes dominate Beating Retreat

Captivating tunes played by military bands before President Ram Nath Kovind at Beating Retreat on Monday marked the end of ceremonies associated with the 69th Republic Day.

The bands from the military and central armed police forces recreated the old world charm at Vijay Chowk near India Gate in the presence of Kovind - also the supreme commander of the armed forces - Prime Minister Narendra Modi and three service chiefs.

"This year, 18 military bands, 15 pipes and drums bands from Regimental Centres and battalions participated in the ceremony, besides bands from Navy, Air Force, Central Industrial Security Force, Central Reserve Police Force and Delhi Police," said an official.

Indian tunes were the flavour of the ceremony as 25 out of 26 performances were compositions from Indian musicians. There was only one Western tune.

President Kovind arrived at the venue in his official limousine and not in the horse-driven buggy popularised by predecessor Pranab Mukherjee.

Beating Retreat is an old military tradition in which troops cease fighting, sheathe their arms and withdraw from the battlefield at the end of the day. They lower the flags and return to the camps at the sounding of the retreat at the sunset.

The Republic Day parade, on the other hand, signifies troops leaving the barrack for the battlefield.

Over the years, the colourful event has emerged as a programme of national pride when the Colours and Standards are paraded. Beating Retreat traces its origins to early 1950s when Major Roberts of the Indian Army created the unique ceremony by the bands.

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