The iconic hymn ‘Abide with Me’, which was the key part of the Beating Retreat ceremony post-Republic Day, has been dropped this year.
The hymn, known to be Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite, triggered controversy in 2020 when it did not appear in the list of tunes.
‘Abide with Me’ is a military tune played after bugle was made to announce post-sunset let’s pick up injured and dead. It was a mutually accepted war discipline across the world.
The tune ‘Abide with Me’ was played by military bands when the warriors were collecting their Bravehearts.
It was rare that this solemn tune was not played during Republic Day.
The Beating Retreat on January 29 post-Republic Day has been to pay respect to the fallen heroes. It was never a celebration. And, ‘Abide with Me’ has been a respected tune.
Now with ‘Abide with Me’ missing in the Beating Retreat ceremony, and displaying of 1,000 drones is something which the forces have never imagined, said a source in the defence ministry. ….And this too when the controversy of dousing of eternal flame at India Gate.
The tune ‘Abide With Me’ has been a regular feature in the band since 1950.
It has been noticed that over the last few years, Indian compositions have made way in the military band termed as ‘indigenisation’ of tradition. Earlier, the force played mostly British martial tunes.
Interestingly, this year, Lata Mangeshkar-sung ‘Ae Mere Watan ke logon’ is on the list of tunes other than military compositions.
But removing ‘Abide with Me’ has been questioned by many.