Sunday, October 2, 2022

Beating Retreat 2022: 1,000 drones dazzle Raisina Hills

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In a first, a grand drone show dazzled the sky above the national capital during the Beating the Retreat ceremony to be held at Vijay Chowk on Saturday as part of the country’s 73rd Republic Day celebrations.

The event was graced by President and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces Ram Nath Kovind. Other dignitaries, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh,were also in attendance. The 10-minute drone show involved 1,000 drones, commemorating 75 years of Independence, that celebrated ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’. It was conceptualised, designed, produced and choreographed under the Centre’s ‘Make in India’ initiative.

During the show, the drones fabricated through indigenous technology flew with synchronised background music played during the drone show.

Earlier, martial musical tunes with Indian fervour flowed at Raisina Hills as the Beating the Retreat ceremony commenced with synchronised performances of bands of the Indian Army, Navy, Air Force and Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs).

The Defence Ministry has included the patriotic song ‘Aey Mere Watan ke Logo’ in the Beating the Retreat ceremony in an effort to make the event more Indian.

The hymn ‘Abide With Me’ has been dropped from the event as per the details of the ceremony shared by Indian defence officials. Abide With Me was part of the ceremony held on January 29 every year as part of the culmination of the celebrations of Republic Day.

‘Aey Mere Watan ke Logon’ was chosen at a time when the hostilities with the Chinese are still on after a two-year military standoff. The song had become famous after it was sung by noted playback singer Lata Mangeshkar and written by legendary lyricist Kavi Pradeep for the soldiers who laid down their lives in the 1962 war.

Meanwhile, Delhi Police fortified areas in and around Rajpath with multi-layer security, facial recognition systems and more than 1,000 CCTVs in view of the republic day celebrations.

‘Beating the Retreat’ is a centuries-old military tradition dating from the days when troops disengaged from the battle at sunset. As soon as the buglers sounded the retreat, the troops ceased fighting, sheathed their arms and withdrew from the battlefield. It is for this reason that the custom of standing still during the sounding of retreat has been retained to this day. Colours and standards are cased and flags lowered at retreats.

Drumbeats recall the days when troops, billeted in towns and cities, were recalled to their quarters at an appointed time in the evening. Based on these military traditions, the ‘Beating the Retreat’ ceremony creates a mood of nostalgia of the times gone by.

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