New Delhi, January 22
For the first time since 1950, ‘Abide With Me’, Mahatma Gandhi's favourite hymn, will not be played this year at the Beating the Retreat ceremony on January 29.
‘Abide With Me’ is played on solemn occasions. At the Beating the Retreat, Massed Bands of the forces played this tune at the fag-end of the ceremony conducted each year at Vijay Chowk.
As per the programme schedule released by the Ministry of Defence, the Massed Bands will play three tunes to end the ceremony. The tune replacing ‘Abide With Me’ will be ‘Ae Mere Watan Ke Logon’ composed by C Ramchandra and sung for the first time by Lata Mangeshkar in 1963 just months after the India-China war (Oct-Nov 1962).
‘Abide With Me’ was initially dropped from the list in January 2020 but was restored following protests on social media. ‘Abide With Me’ was written in the 19th century by Scottish poet Henry Francis Lyte and composed by William Henry Monk. Ending the Beating the Retreat, the parade will march off towards Raisina Hill to ‘Saare Jahan Se Aacha’ composed by Mohd Iqbal, better known as Allama Iqbal.
Meanwhile, this year's Republic Day parade will have 16 marching contingents, 17 military bands and 25 tableaux of various states, departments and armed forces, the Army said in a statement on Saturday.
The Army will be represented by 14 mechanised columns and six marching contingents. The columns will showcase some of the tanks used in the 1971 war, like the PT 76. It will have six marching contingents, while the Indian Air Force and the Navy would have one each.
The central paramilitary forces will have five marching contingents of the Central Reserve Police Force, Central Industrial Police Force, Sashastra Seema Bal, Indian Coast Guard and Border Security Force.
The parade would commence at 10:30 am and not the usual 10 am. This has been done for better visibility for the 75 plane flypast to end the parade.
The Navy's tableau will depict the 1946 naval uprising, which contributed to the Independence movement, and its marching contingent would be led by a woman officer, Lt Commander Anchal Sharma. The Naval tableau will showcase the prowess at sea with a model of indigenous aircraft carrier Vikrant with Light Combat Aircraft.
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