For the first time, military bands will play only Indian tunes during the Beating Retreat ceremony in the Capital on Saturday that will bring the curtains down on the Republic Day celebrations.
An army official said the bands would play only Indian tunes "to boost the morale of their fighting contingents".
"For the last three-four years, we have been opting for more Indian tunes in the ceremony. Martial music has a special place in the life of a soldier and he feels more connected in case the music is from his own background or country," he added.
"Last year too we played mostly Indian tunes but this year only Indian compositions would be played. In case of pipes and drums, we don't have any Indian compositions so they will play their regular western tunes," inspectorate of bands captain Mahendra Das said here. The military musicians have composed two new tunes called 'Gajraj' and 'Reshmi' especially for the occasion.
'Gajraj' has been composed by captain Das himself, who was also the conducting officer for the military bands played during the recently held Commonwealth Games (CWG).
This year the ceremony will be conducted by the Indian Air Force (IAF) and Wing Commander Jaychandran would be the chief conducting officer for all the bands.
A total of 20 bands — 12 are from the army and four each from Navy and Air Force — will play in the hour-long ceremony.
Beating the Retreat, an adoption of ancient Indian military tradition, is held in honour of the gallant soldiers who return home from the war front.
On Saturday, 32 main retreaters playing bugles and six trumpeters would perform on the Rajpath at Vijay Chowk while a group of 10 retreaters would follow from North Block and South Block.