New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government is planning to replace the hymn ‘Abide With Me’ with ‘Vande Mataram’ at the iconic Beating Retreat ceremony at Vijay Chowk on January 29.
“The tune has been dropped this year,” a defence ministry official told The Hindu. “There is a review of tunes every year. There is an effort to introduce new tunes and an emphasis to add more Indian tunes.”
‘Abide With Me’ was a favourite of Mahatma Gandhi’s. The hymn was written by Scottish Anglican Henry Francis Lyte. It was the only Western tune played at the event last year.
“Annually, the hymn ‘Abide With Me’ is played by brass bands of the three forces, and at the playing of its last note, the lights at the Raisina Hill turn on, marking the end of the ceremony. After that the principal conductor of the ceremony seeks permission of the President to close the ceremony and then the bands retreat to the ‘Sare Jahan se Acha,” a senior official told PTI.
The Raisina Hill complex consists of the Rashtrapati Bhawan, the North Block and the South Block, besides Parliament House and other buildings.
Sources told PTI the Beating Retreat ceremony this year will end with ‘Vande Mataram’. “It is felt that ‘Vande Mataram’ will add a greater sense of ‘swadeshi’ element and patriotism,” a source said.
Last year, 18 military bands, 15 pipe and drum bands from regimental centres and battalions had participated in the ceremony.
There were 25 tunes composed by Indian musicians, including ‘Indian Soldiers’, ‘Herana Heran’, ‘Mushkoh Valley’, ‘Tejas’, ‘The Great Marshal’ and ‘Namaste India’.
(With PTI inputs)