The cheering began as the strains of Kadam Se Kadam Mila Ke wafted through the Esplanade from within the 1000-year-old Edinburgh Castle and then as the Indian Military band consisting of 40 instrumentalists, dressed immaculately in dark maroon uniforms and turbans, emerged from its high gates, many rose to give them a standing ovation. Lights beaming on the parade created a halo around the army musicians as they marched to the centre of the Esplanade with faultless coordination of music and movement.
After playing a few more tunes, the band marched away, across the Esplanade, playing Saare Jahan Se Achcha, which seemed, rather amazingly, to electrify quite a few in the audience. They stomped and clapped with the rhythm of the music. It was a moving, defining moment.
The Army Chief’s elite band participated in the world-famous internationally renowned Edinburgh Military Tattoo for the first time in its 59 year-long history, along with over 1000 performers from 40 countries including America, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and Asia.
The Chief Executive and Producer of the Tattoo Major-General Euan Loudon said, “I’m thrilled to add the first Indian military band to the line-up in almost half a century…these magnificent musicians have added something extra to the proceedings.”
Alan A. Smith, marketing manager of the Tattoo, was most excited at the Indian participation. “We are delighted that India accepted our invitation. The Band has been most popular. The stomping of the feet as they played every evening for over two weeks was from the large number of veterans who served in India and knew the tunes.”
Two such veterans, one from Inverness and another from Glasgow said they felt nostalgic as once again they heard the pulsating tunes “that fill one with a strange glow” and “remind us of our India days”. They were amazed at the precision marching of the Indian Band, “of course we knew that they are India’s top military musicians”.
They added: “We hope they will take a piece of Scotland with them and cherish the warmth we showed them.” In 23 days of the Tattoo, over two hundred thousand people, drawn from all parts of the world, watched the performance of the Indian band, informed Smith. He hoped that the band would be coming in the future as well.
“We require £100 million to build a permanent structure at the Esplanade for the Tattoo. Donations are also coming in. We hope India will help too,” he said with a smile.