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A musical conclusion to R-Day celebrations

If the Republic Day parade was a visual extravaganza, the beating retreat at Vijay Chowk that marked the conclusion of Republic Day celebrations, was a musical treat on Saturday. HT reports.

delhi Updated: Jan 30, 2011 00:00 IST
HT Correspondent

If the Republic Day parade was a visual extravaganza, the beating retreat at Vijay Chowk that marked the conclusion of Republic Day celebrations, was a musical treat on Saturday.

Soulful sounds of bugles, bagpipes, trumpets and drums filled the air as the band members, in their reds, olive greens, orange and navy blues, played the martial tunes.

Beating retreat is a centuries old military tradition dating from the days when troops disengaged from battle at sunset. As soon as the buglers sounded 'retreat' the troops ceased fighting and withdrew from the battlefield. It is for this reason that the custom of standing still during the sounding of 'retreat' has been retained and the flags are lowered. Drumbeats recall the days when troops were recalled to their quarters at an appointed time. Based on these military traditions, the ceremony is a nostalgic reminder for the times gone by.

President Pratibha Patil who is the supreme commander of the three armed forces was the chief guest of the occasion. Vice-President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi also attended the ceremony that saw 12 military bands, 15 pipes and drums bands, 72 buglers and 12 trumpeters from various regiments of the Indian Army taking part along with four bands each of the Navy and Indian Air Force.

Indian tunes dominated the ceremony this year, as 19 of the 25 performances were composed by Indian musicians. Bands from three armed services in their colourful ensembles played tunes such as Indian Star, Channa Bilauri, Konkan Sundari and Phoolon Ki Ghati, Gajraj, March of the Mariners, Abide With Me among others.

A large audience amid elaborate security and traffic arrangements attended the grand ceremony performed ahead of the sunset.

A collage by buglers and the Drummers' Call, a traditional performance by only drummers, received huge applause. As the ceremony ended with the very popular Sare Jahan Se Accha, the spectators sang along. But the best was saved for the last. Immediately after the tunes faded out the majestic Raisina Hills and the Parliament House was lit up as the audience erupted with joy.