Beating Retreat this Jan 29
New Delhi, Jan 29 (IANS) Beating Retreat, the annual colourful
military musical extravaganza, was not held Thursday as the
nation mourned the death of former president R. Venkataraman
- this was only the second cancellation of the event in the
history of republic India.
Beating Retreat, which symbolises the returning of troops
to their barracks, is held Jan 29 after Republic Day every
year in Delhi.
The event, which is the grand finale to the Republic Day celebrations,
was cancelled because the nation is mourning the death of
the former president, who passed away in the capital Tuesday.
The full dress rehearsal of the Beating Retreat was called
off midway as soon as the news of the death of Venkataraman
A seven-day mourning period was declared following the death.
Earlier in 2001, the Beating Retreat was cancelled for the
first time in the wake of the Jan 26 Gujarat earthquake.
The Beating Retreat was held for the first time in 1952 -
two years after India became a republic and the celebrations
had already started taking shape into an elaborate fiesta
spread over a week.
"At the first ceremony, 16 army buglers sounded the Retreat
at the Red Fort on Jan 28, 1952 and another ceremony was held
at Connaught Circus, in the lawns facing Regal Cinema, on
Feb 1,” defence ministry spokesman Sitanshu Kar said.
In 1953, the Beating Retreat ceremony was shifted to the Great
Place (now known as Vijay Chowk) and was held Jan 29.
Beating Retreat, a ceremony that goes back centuries when
troops rested their arms at sundown, is at once a combination
of dazzling military uniforms of various shades and hues,
of precision marching and - most importantly - music of the
The hour-long ceremony has been so engaging that in 1960 a
special show was staged Jan 27 for Queen Elizabeth-II and
the Duke of Edinburgh Prince Phillip, the top foreign dignitaries
at the Republic Day parade that year.
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