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HindustanTimes Tue,21 Oct 2014

India’s drummer vs Pak dholi

Aseem Bassi, Hindustan Times  Attari, June 17, 2014
First Published: 12:32 IST(17/6/2014) | Last Updated: 12:39 IST(17/6/2014)

As the ‘Beating the Retreat’ ceremony at the Indo-Pakistan border here continues to be a big attraction for tourists from all over India, the Border Security Force (BSF) has added yet another feature to it by hiring a drummer to counter Pakistan’s ‘dholi’ during the 20-minute high-voltage show.

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Music is one of the high points of the ceremony enjoyed by thousands of tourists that gather every evening to watch BSF jawans and the Pakistani Rangers outdo each other in the foot-stomping and aggressive postures.

The BSF’s ‘drummer’ has got a pride of place at the terrace of the conference room, with all his drums and gadgets. As soon as the BSF jawans march forward for the ceremony, the drum beats start, adding a gusto to the overall ambience.

As the momentum of the ceremony picks up, the beats of the drum also move towards a crescendo. The beats go in tandem with the marching jawans and the heavy foot stomping. This has not only added colour to the ceremony but also made the entire scenario more electrifying and loud.

Till now, the Pakistani side was using a couple of ‘dholis’, who play the traditional drum ‘dhol’ used during various occasions of celebration in the subcontinent, to add to the impact of the Ranger’s movements. Now, the BSF has positioned its ‘drummer’ to give them a competition.

Talking to HT, BSF DIG MF Farooqui said, “The Retreat ceremony has received enormous attention recently. The drum beats are being used to add colour and make the environment more electrifying. A ‘dhol’ is being played on the Pakistani side. But we have drummer now who has succeeded in achieving greater involvement of the Indian tourists through the drum beats”.

He further said , “We are monitoring this new feature closely and some fine-tuning is done as and when required”.

Drummer Soni Kumar (37), who plays for the BSF, says, “The drum beats have certainly added to the already high voltage ceremony. As soon as the BSF jawans start their movements, I first play a marching beat and later beats are played in consonance with various steps of our troops”.

He said, “Certainly, this a great experience for me as well. I have been told that the ceremony has become louder ever since the drums have been added”.

A LOOK AT BORDER PILLAR

In yet another feature to Retreat ceremony, the BSF now allows all the tourists reaching the ceremony area to see the border pillar that is adjacent to the Indo-Pakistan joint check-post. Earlier, only selected tourists were allowed to do so but now one spots a lot of people coming to see the border pillar. Pakistani nationals also come to have a look at the pillar.

Besides, the BSF also plays audios in Hindi and English that inform the tourists about the history of the ceremony.

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