Monday’s Beating Retreat ceremony at the Vijay Chowk that marks the end of Republic Day celebrations will this time see a new note being trumpeted at the musical parade – one that is rooted in local cultural moorings. 

For the first time, a ‘shankhnaad’ tune, akin to blowing a conch – a traditional Indian way to herald the start of functions - will be played by the bands to open the musical ritual watched by President Droupadi Murmu, Prime Minister Narenda Modi, his Cabinet colleagues and others as the sun sets over Raisina Hills.

On January 26, the Republic Day parade too opened with 100 women blowing the conch shell and playing other traditional Indian instruments, marking a departure from previous years’ displays at Kartavya Path.

Desi beats 

Over the last few years, the Beating Retreat ceremony at Vijay Chowk has been seeing a shift in beat with more Indian tunes played, pushing out the colonial martial music and Christian hymns like ‘Abide With Me’. Last year, the high point of the Beating Retreat, which traces its origins to the early 1950s when Major Roberts of the Indian Army created the unique ceremony of display by the massed bands, was Indian tunes based on classical ragas along with India’s biggest drone show by 3,500 indigenously made Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.

This year the music bands of the Indian Army, Indian Navy, Indian Air Force, and Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) like the Border Security Force, Central Reserve Police Force, and Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) “will play 31 captivating Indian tunes before a distinguished audience”, a Ministry note said.

Among the rousing numbers played by the pipes and drums bands will be ‘Veer Bharat’‘Sangam Dur’‘Deshon ka Sartaj Bharat’‘Bhagirathi’, and ‘Arjuna’. The CAPF bands will play ‘Bharat Ke Jawan’ and ‘Vijay Bharat’ among others.

‘Tiger Hill’‘Rejoice in Raisina’, and ‘Swadeshi’ are a few of the tunes to be played by the band of the IAF, while the Indian Navy band will enthrall the crowd with melodious notes of ‘INS Vikrant’‘Mission Chandrayaan’‘Jai Bharati’ and ‘Hum Tayyar Hain’.

Patriotic pitch

Raising the patriotic pitch further will be the Indian Army band’s numbers like ‘Faulad Ka Jigar’‘Agniveer’‘Kargil 1999’ and ‘Taqat Watan’ .

The crescendo will come when the Massed Bands then play popular favourites like ‘Kadam Kadam Badhaye Ja’‘Aye Mere Watan Ke Logon’ and ‘Drummers Call’. Finally, the event will climax on the note of ‘Sare Jahan se Acha’.

The principal conductor of the ceremony will be Lt Col Vimal Joshi. While the Army Band conductor will be Subedar Major Moti Lal, MCPO MUS II M Antony and Warrant Officer Ashok Kumar will be the Conductors of Indian Navy and Indian Air Force, respectively. The conductor of CAPF band will be Constable GD Ranidevi.

The Buglers will perform under the leadership of Naib Subedar Umesh Kumar, and Pipes and Drums band will play under the instructions of Subedar Major Rajender Singh.