Two new Indian tunes at Beating Retreat this year

Thursday, January 27, 2011

NEW DELHI - Two new Indian compositions will Saturday enthrall guests at this year\’s Beating Retreat ceremony here marking the end of the 62nd Republic Day festivities.

To be played by the army\’s martial band, the two new tunes will form part of the mostly Indian compositions at the colourful ceremony in Vijay Chowk where President Pratibha Patil will be the chief guest.

\”Gaj raj\”, one of the new tunes composed by the army band, will symbolize the fanfare associated with elephants used in battle by Indian kings of yore.

The other tune, \”Reshmi\”, will be \”a silky melody\”, according to Captain Mahender Das, who heads the Indian military band establishment here as inspector of army bands.

These apart, most of the tunes that will be played at the ceremony will be Indian compositions, being played after a decade or more at the Beating Retreat, which has been an annual fare since the early 1950s.

There will be two Western tunes - \”Abide with me\” and \”High London\” — that will be played by the military bands. There will be 12 army bands and four each of the navy and air force, apart from 15 Pipes and Drums units, 72 buglers and 12 trumpeters.

Among the regular tunes will be the popular \”Sare jahan se accha\” composed by Urdu poet Muhammad \’Allama\’ Iqbal in pre-independence India.

The ceremony, symbolising the convergence of military music with smart and agile drill movements, and the traditional fineries of the bandsmen, will be an occasion when the colours and standards of the tri-services will be paraded.

Conceived by the Indian Army\’s Major Roberts in the 1950s, the Beating Retreat ceremony portrays the rich military customs and warfare practices, when soldiers were recalled to their camps at sunset from the

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