R-Day celebrations end with Beating Retreat ceremony
The 67th Republic Day celebrations came to a close with the Beating Retreat ceremony, which saw a host of musical performances by both military bands and bands from the State Police and Central Armed Police forces. Apart from President Pranab Mukherjee, a host of dignitaries attended the ceremony including PM Narendra Modi, Ex-PM Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.
Republic Day marks the day when India's Constitution came into effect-26 Jan 1950. On this day, India turned into a republic-a nation whose head is elected, unlike a monarchy where it is hereditary. Although the Constitution was ready on 26 Nov 1949, it came into force on 26 Jan 1950 to honour the 1st Independence Day- Poorna Swaraj day celebrated on 26 Jan 1930.
The drafting committee chaired by Dr. B R Ambedkar took 2 years, 11 months and 18 days to complete the Constitution. With almost 80,000 words, it was the world's longest Constitution at that time.
French President Francois Hollande is the Chief Guest for this year's Republic Day. France has been invited for the fifth time to be the Chief Guest – the maximum number of times for any country. France was earlier invited in 1976, 1980, 1998 and 2008. The invitation to France comes as India and France are stepping up defence ties and counter-terrorism cooperation.
Artist Robinson Wood created the Republic Day doodle showing 6 camels carrying a letter each of 'Google'. The BSF's camel contingent was not to take part in this year's parade but it was later decided to keep the 66 year old tradition alive.
As India marks the 67th Republic day, many firsts make this year's R-Day special. For the first time since 1950, a foreign contingent- 35th Infantry Regiment of 7th Armoured Brigade of France will also be participating in the parade this year. The army's dog squad will make a comeback after 26 years. 36 dogs of army aged 2-5 years will walk alongside the soldiers.
The beating retreat ceremony on 29th January, 3 days after the Republic Day, officially marks the end of Republic Day festivities. The President of India is the chief guest who is escorted by Presidential Body Guards at the Raisina Hills in Rashtrapati Bhawan. The bands of Army, Navy and Air Force perform on the day in front of the Supreme Commander of Armed Forces.
The Beating Retreat ceremony originated in 16th century England. Originally used to recall nearby patrolling units to their castle, the ceremony traditionally depicted opposing armies laying down their arms at sundown before resuming the fight on the morrow.
20 out of 26 performances in the Beating Retreat ceremony of the 67th Republic Day celebrations were by Indian composers. Mahatma Gandhi's favourite hymn, "Abide With Me", brought the proceedings to an end before the Retreat was sounded.