Beating Retreat 2023: Mega Drone Show to Dazzle Sky Over Rai…

Tunes based on Indian classical ragas and nation’s “biggest drone show” comprising 3,500 indigenous drones are some of the highly anticipated features of this year’s Beating Retreat ceremony to be held at Vijay Chowk, New Delhi, on Sunday.

President Droupadi Murmu, the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, will grace the ceremony. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will also attend the ceremony.

The Beating Retreat ceremony marks the formal end of four-day Republic Day celebrations and is held on January 29 every year. No entry fee is charged for the musical ceremony and is telecasted live on television.

Tunes Based on Ragas

Tunes based on Indian classical ragas will be the flavour of the Beating the Retreat ceremony this year, the Defence Ministry said.

Indian Air Force’s band will play “Aprajey Arjun”, “Charkha”, “Vayu Shakti” and “Swadeshi” — four tunes for the ceremony based on the ragas. “We will be playing the tunes to give a more Indian feel and flavour,” Director of Music for IAF LS Rupachandra said.

Rupachandra, who has been participating in the ceremony as a contingent since 2005 and took over as Director of Music in 2019, said the new tunes promise a fusion of sorts. ‘Charkha’ is based on Raga Bhupali and mixed with another Raga Mishra Khamaj. This would be the first time that any force plays raga-based tunes for the Beating the Retreat ceremony,” he added.

The shift towards a more “desi” ceremony comes as the Centre replaced the classic ‘Abide With Me’ with ‘Aye Mere Watan ke Logon’, dropped Bollywood songs for Indian classical music over the last few years in a bid to make the elite ceremony “more localised.”

Beating Retreat Playlist

As many as 29 captivating and foot-tapping Indian tunes will be played by the music bands of the Army, the Navy, the Air Force and the State Police and Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) in the Beating Retreat ceremony, the Centre said.

The ceremony will begin with the massed band’s “Agniveer” tune, which will be followed by enthralling tunes like “Almora”, “Kedar Nath”, “Sangam Dur”, “Queen of Satpura”, “Bhagirathi”, “Konkan Sundari” by pipes and drums band, according to the statement.

Indian Air Force’s band will play “Aprajey Arjun”, “Charkha”, “Vayu Shakti” and “Swadeshi” while the Indian Navy band will be playing “Ekla Cholo Re”, “Hum Taiyyar Hai” and “Jai Bharati”.

Indian Army’s band will play “Shankhnaad”, “Sher-e-Jawan”, “Bhupal”, “Agranee Bharat”, “Young India”, “Kadam Kadam Badhaye Ja”, “Drummers Call” and “Ae Mere Watan Ke Logon”.

The event will end with the ever-popular tune “Sare Jahan se Accha”.

The principal conductor of the ceremony will be Flt Lt Leimapokpam Rupachandra Singh. While Sub Maj Diggar Singh will lead the Army Band, the Naval and Air Force band commanders will be M Anthoni Raj and Warrant Officer Ashok Kumar, respectively.

The conductor of the State Police and CAPF bands will be Assistant Sub-Inspector Prem Singh, it said. The Buglers will perform under the leadership of Naib Subedar Santosh Kumar Pandey, and the pipes and drums band will play under the instructions of Subedar Major Baswaraj Vagge.

Drone Show

For the first time, a 3-D anamorphic projection will be shown on the facade of North Block and South Block during the grand event at Vijay Chowk on Sunday. The beating retreat ceremony will also witness the country’s biggest drone show, comprising 3,500 indigenous drones.

“The magnificent drone show will light up the evening sky over the Raisina Hill, weaving myriad forms of national figures, events through smooth synchronisation,” the statement read.

“It will depict the success of start-up ecosystem, technological prowess of the country’s youth and pave the way for future path-breaking trends,” it said.

Traffic Advisory

Traffic restrictions will be put in place from 2 pm to 9.30 pm Sunday, according to an advisory by Delhi Police, adding Vijay Chowk will remain closed for traffic.

Traffic will not be allowed on Rafi Marg between Sunehri Masjid roundabout and Krishi Bhawan roundabout, beyond Dara Shikoh roundabout, Krishna Menon Marg roundabout and Sunehri Masjid towards Vijay Chowk. The advisory said traffic would be restricted on Kartavyapath between Vijay Chowk and C hexagon.

The commuters are advised to take alternate routes like Ring Road, Ridge Road, Aurobindo Marg, Madarsa “T” Point, Lodhi Road, Sunramanian Bharti Marg, Safdarjung Road, Kamal Ataturk Marg, Rani Jhansi Road, Minto Road etc., it stated.

The buses will be diverted from their regular routes from 2 pm to 9.30 pm on Sunday to facilitate the vehicles of invitees and spectators and to avoid traffic congestion on roads around the venues of the ceremony and India Gate.

Delhi Police advised commuters to use metro services while planning their journey.

Beating Retreat Origins

The ceremony 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. “It marks a centuries-old military tradition when the troops ceased fighting, sheathed their arms and withdrew from the battlefield and returned to the camps at sunset at the sounding of the Retreat,” the Defence Ministry statement said.

(With inputs from PTI)

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