Only Indian tunes at Beating Retreat

New Delhi: For the first time, military bands would play only Indian tunes during Beating Retreat ceremony on Saturday that will bring the curtains down on the Republic Day celebrations.

An army official said the bands would play only Indian tunes "to boost the morale of their fighting contingents".

"For last three-four years, we have been opting for more Indian tunes in the ceremony. Martial music has a special place in the life of a soldier and he feels more connected in case the music is from his own background or country," he added.

"Last year also, we played mostly Indian tunes in the ceremony, but this year only Indian compositions would be played. In case of pipes and drums, we don`t have any Indian compositions so they will play their regular western tunes," Inspectorate of Bands Captain Mahendra Das said here.

The military musicians have composed two new tunes called `Gajraj`and `Reshmi` specially for the occasion.

`Gajraj` has been composed by Captain Das himself who was also the conducting officer for the military bands played during the recently held Commonwealth Games (CWG).

This year the ceremony would be conducted by the Indian Air Force (IAF) and Wing Commander Jaychandran would be the Chief Conducting Officer for all the bands.

A total of 20 bands- 12 are from army and four each from Navy and Air Force, will play in the hour long ceremony.

Beating the Retreat– an adoption of ancient Indian military tradition, is held in the honour of the gallant soldier who return home from the war front.

On Saturday, 32 main retreaters playing bugles and six trumpeters would perform on the Rajpath at the Vijay Chowk while a group of ten retreaters would follow from North Block and South Block. Four retreaters would be deployed on the Vayu Bhavan and Krishi Bhavan here.

"The roads from all these places lead to Vijay Chowk where the main `Flag Down` ceremony is held. In ancient India when a gallant warrior came back home the people from all over the province would welcome him by playing trumpets and bugles," the official said.

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