India on Friday marked the end of the 4-day long 72nd Republic Day festivities with Beating Retreat ceremony in Delhi which saw a spectacular show of performances. President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh were present at the ceremony. As India completed 50 years of its 1971 war victory over Pakistan, a special new composition of "Swarnim Vijay" was also played in the Beating Retreat Ceremony. The composition was led by Lieutenant Colonel Vimal Joshi and Havildar Jiwan Rasaily during a quick march at the historical Vijay Chowk where the ceremony takes place each year.
The ceremony witnessed the participation of about 60 buglers, 17 trumpet players and drummers of the army, navy and air force with the mass formation of CAPF and Delhi Police. Bands of Punjab Regiment, Rajputana Rifles, Rajput Regiment, Bihar Regiment, Gorkha Regiment were also part of the Retreat which culminated with the composition 'Saare Jahan se Accha', after which PM Modi walked around Vijay Chowk to greet the crowd. The number of seats for Beating Retreat ceremony was reduced from 25,000 to 4,000 due to the pandemic, while the number of gates was for the ceremony were increased from 11 to 20.
A day earlier, the Indian Air Force took to Twitter and posted a few images of how the Beating Retreat Ceremony looked "half a century ago"
The Beating Retreat is considered to be a centuries-old military tradition. At the sounding of retreat, the troops ceased fighting, sheathed their arms and withdrew from the battlefield, returning to their camps at sunset.
The ceremony traces its roots to the early 1950s when Major Roberts of the Indian Army came up with the concept of this unique ceremony. The very first Beating Retreat ceremony was witnessed in the early 1950s when Great Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip visited India for the first time post Independence. India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru then asked for Maj. G.A. Roberts to plan something spectacular and eventful to mark the Queen's visit.
Roberts then conceived of the Beating Retreat in honour of the visit, by developing the ceremony of display by the massed bands. Army, Air Force and Navy bands with pipes, drums, bugles and trumpeters from various regiments took part.