Explained: Abide With Me’ replaced by ‘Aye Mere Watan Ke Logon’ from Beating Retreat Ceremony
New Delhi, Jan 23: One of Mahatma Gandhi's favourite hymns "Abide With Me" has been dropped from this year's Beating Retreat ceremony on January 29, according to a brochure released by the Indian Army on Saturday.
"Abide With Me", written by Scottish Anglican poet and hymnologist Henry Francis Lyte in 1847, has been part of the Beating Retreat ceremony since 1950.
The Centre had in 2020 also planned to drop "Abide With Me" from the Beating Retreat ceremony but had later retained it after a huge uproar.
The brochure released by the Indian Army on Saturday listed 26 tunes that will be played at this year's ceremony at Vijay Chowk.
For this year's ceremony, the hymn has been replaced by the popular patriotic song 'Ae Mere Watan Ke Logon', which was written by Kavi Pradeep to commemorate the supreme sacrifice made by the Indian soldiers during the 1962 Indo-China war.
This year's Beating Retreat ceremony will conclude with 'Sare Jahan Se Acha', the brochure stated.
26 soulful band performances
The 26 tunes that will be played at this year's ceremony include 'Hey Kanchha', 'Channa Bilauri', 'Jai Janam Bhumi', 'Nritya Sarita', 'Vijay Josh', 'Kesaria Banna', 'Veer Siachen', 'Hathroi', 'Vijay Ghosh', 'Ladaakoo', 'Swadeshi', 'Amar Chattan', 'Golden Arrows' and 'Swarn Jayanti', according to the brochure. 'Veer Sainik', 'Fanfare by Buglers, 'INS India', 'Yashasvee', 'Jai Bharati', 'Kerala', 'Siki A Mole', 'Hind Ki Sena', 'Kadam Kadam Badhaye Ja', 'Drummers Call' besides 'Ae Mere Watan Ke Logon' are also part of the tunes that will be played on the evening of January 29, the brochure noted. The ceremony will see the participation of 44 buglers, 16 trumpeters and 75 drummers.
Beating Retreat is a centuries-old military tradition dating from the days when troops disengaged from the battle at sunset, it mentioned.
As soon as the buglers sounded the retreat, the troops ceased fighting, sheathed their arms and withdrew from the battlefield, it added. Beating Retreat marks the end of nearly week-long festivities of Republic Day, which used to begin on January 24.
But this year, the celebrations will begin on January 23, the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.
Beating Retreat ceremony
The 'Beating the Retreat' ceremony in India traces its origins to the early 1950s, when Major Roberts of the Indian Army indigenously developed the unique ceremony of display by the massed bands.
Being initial years after independence, at that time not many tunes of Indian origin were available and played by the bands.
Over the years many Indian composers and band conductors have composed Indian tunes representing the various regions drawing inspiration from the local martial and folk music of the country. These tunes have over a period of time been gradually introduced into the ceremony. Efforts are made to select tunes which represent various regions of the country.
Last year "Abide with Me", a solemn Christian hymn was the only non Indian tune played during the Beating the Retreat.
'Aye Mere Watan Ke Logon' to replace it
To commemorate the Swarnim Vijay Varsh and as part of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, "Ae Mere Watan ke Logon" is being played instead of 'Abide with me.'
''This patriotic song written in Hindi by Kavi Pradeep, composed by C. Ramchandra, and sung by singer Lata Mangeshkar pays tributes to the Indian soldier and commemorates their sacrifices. It's touching lyrics highlight the ' Unity in Diversity' aspect of the Indian soldiers and has a very mesmerizing and solemn impact,'' Government sources told OneIndia.
The celebrated song has universal appeal and is an apt tribute to the brave soldiers of our Indian Armed Forces who have laid down their lives of our Nation. The song imbibes a sense of sacrifice and respect for those who have made sacrifices for our Country over the past 75 years. It is considered a very apt choice as the culmination tune of a ceremony which marks the closure of a week long Republic Day Celebrations.
Phasing out of tunes handed down from a colonial past and including tunes that have a wider and deeper connect with the people of India is an exercise that is an ongoing one.
Sources indicated that "Abide with Me" is a popular military tune but the lyrics for this are understood by a limited few.
''The iconic tune and lyrics for "ऐ मेरे वतन के लोगों..." has a far wider connect with the people of India. It is contextually far more appropriate to celebrate the valour and gallantry of the Armed Forces of India as compared to "Abide with Me" and the song also evokes a strong sense of patriotism with all Indians. It is for this reason, that in the 75th year of our Independence, we are making this change in the concluding performance of the Beating Retreat 2022,'' people familiar with the development said.