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Home / India News / Vande Mataram may replace Abide With Me as Beating the Retreat finale

Vande Mataram may replace Abide With Me as Beating the Retreat finale

Bands from the three services and the Central Armed Police Forces perform at Vijay Chowk to mark the end of annual Republic Day celebrations.

india Updated: Jan 14, 2020 04:07 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Bands performing during Beating Retreat of Republic Day celebrations at Rajpath in New Delhi January 29, 2018.
Bands performing during Beating Retreat of Republic Day celebrations at Rajpath in New Delhi January 29, 2018. (Mohd Zakir/HT PHOTO)
         

The Beating the Retreat ceremony on January 29 is likely to end with India’s national song Vande Mataram, said two government officials asking not to be named, possibly ending a decades-long tradition of closing the ceremony with Abide With Me, a Christian hymn that was said to be Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite.

Bands from the three services and the Central Armed Police Forces perform at Vijay Chowk to mark the end of annual Republic Day celebrations.

“Different tunes are experimented with at the Beating Retreat ceremony. This year Vande Mataram is likely to replace Abide With Me,” said the first official cited above.

“It’s always good to repackage the ceremony with new Indian tunes to make it more interesting for the spectators,” said a second official on condition of anonymity. Congress spokesperson Pranav Jha questioned the motive behind the move. “‘Abide with me’ as well as ‘Vande Mataram’ are odes to the supreme being! We accepted Bankim’s Vande Mataram as our National Song as an ode to the Supreme Motherland... What is amazing is the priority of this government which rather than looking at abysmally low employment, crashing economy, unprecedented labour suicide and sky rocketing food inflation, is focussed on changing the music of beating retreat for the singular purpose of yet again creating rift.”

Last year, out of the 27 performances, 19 tunes were composed by Indian musicians. These tunes included Indian Star, Paharon ki Rani, Kumaoni Geet, Jai Janam Bhumi, Queen of Satpura and Vijay Bharat.

Apart from Abide With Me, composed by Henry Francis Lyte and often set to the tune Eventide by William Henry Monk, the eight western tunes included Fanfare by Buglers, Sound Barrier, Emblazoned, Twilight and Drummers Call. The formal ceremony traces its origins to the early 1950s in India. A centuries-old tradition, Beating the Retreat marked the end of day’s fighting during battle and soldiers returning to their camps in the evening.