Beating Retreat: Vijay Chowk to resonate with classical ragas, 3,500 drones to illuminate the sky

28 January, 2023 | Pragati Singh

vijay chowk National

This year's 'Beating the Retreat' celebration, which will be graced by President and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces Droupadi Murmu at Vijay Chowk in the national capital on January 29.

This year’s ‘Beating the Retreat’ celebration, which will be graced by President and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces Droupadi Murmu at Vijay Chowk in the national capital on January 29, will feature Indian melodies based on Indian Classical Ragas.

According to the Ministry of Defence, the music bands of the Army, Navy, Air Force, State Police, and Central Armed Police Force will perform 29 enthralling and foot-tapping Indian classics (CAPF). The celebration will also feature Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.

The event will feature the country’s largest Drone Show, with 3,500 indigenous drones. The drone performance will illuminate the twilight sky over the Raisina hills, weaving a plethora of national figures/events in seamless synchrony.

It will showcase the startup ecosystem’s success, the technological prowess of the country’s youth, and pave the way for future game-changing innovations. Botlabs Dynamics will organise the drone expo.

For the first time, a 3D anamorphic projection on the North and South Block facades will be organised during the Beating Retreat Ceremony.

According to the Defence Ministry, the ceremony will begin with the massed band’s ‘Agniveer’ melody, which will be followed by fascinating tunes like ‘Almora,’ ‘Kedar Nath,’ ‘Sangam Dur,’ ‘Queen of Satpura,’ ‘Bhagirathi,’ and ‘Konkan Sundari’ by Pipes and Drums band.

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

The 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 come to a close with the ever-popular tune of ‘Sare Jahan se Acha’.

Flight Lieutenant Leimapokpam Rupachandra Singh will be the main conductor of the ceremony. The Army Band will be conducted by Sub Maj Diggar Singh, while the Naval and Air Force bands will be led by M Anthoni Raj and Warrant Officer Ashok Kumar, respectively. According to the official release, Asst Sub Inspector Prem Singh would be the conductor of the State Police and CAPF bands.

The Buglers will be led by Naib Subedar Santosh Kumar Pandey, and the Pipes and Drums Band will be directed by Subedar Major Baswaraj Vagge.

Every year on January 29, the ‘Beating the Retreat’ ritual at Vijay Chowk commemorates the end of the four-day Republic Day celebrations. When the Colors and Standards are paraded, it has become a source of national pride.

The ritual dates back to the early 1950s, when Major Roberts of the Indian Army created the unique ceremony of display by massed bands. It commemorates a centuries-old military tradition in which troops stopped combat, sheathed their weapons, and retreated from the battlefield after sunset, returning to their camps to the sound of the Retreat. Flags are lowered and colours and standards are cased. The ritual evokes nostalgia for bygone eras.