This year, Indian tunes were the flavour of ‘Beating the Retreat’ ceremony on 29 January. As many as 26 performances at the historic Vijay Chowk enthralled the spectators with captivating and foot-tapping music of the bands from the Army, the Navy, the Air Force and Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF). The entry band were Massed Band with Swarnim Vijay theme. It was a special new composition to commemorate 50 years of victory of India in the 1971 war against Pakistan. This was followed by Pipes & Drums Band, CAPF Bands, Air Force Band, Naval Band, Army Mil Band and Massed Bands. The event ended with the ever-popular tune of ‘Sare Jahan se Acha’.
The ceremony at the Vijay Chowk on January 29 every year marks the culmination of the four-day long Republic Day celebrations. This year, 15 Military Bands and 15 Pipes & Drums Bands from Regimental Centres and Battalions participated in Beating the Retreat ceremony. Besides, one each of Indian Navy and Indian Air Force band also formed part of the event. Another band of Centre A P F also took part. The principal conductor of Beating the Retreat ceremony was Lt Col Girish Kumar U of AEC Training College & Centre.
“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 the ‘retreat’, the troops ceased fighting, sheathed their arms and withdrew from the battlefield. It is for this reason that the custom of standing still during the sounding of retreat has been retained to this day. Colours and standards are cased and flags lowered at retreats. Drumbeats are recall of the days when troops, billeted in towns and cities were recalled to their quarters at an appointed time in the evening. Based on these military traditions, the ceremony of “Beating Retreat” creates a mood of nostalgia of the times gone by.