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Beating The Retreat Ceremony: Delhi Sky Dazzles With 1000 Drones

In a first, a grand drone show dazzled the sky above the national capital at the Beating Retreat ceremony held at Vijay Chowk on Saturday that also showcased martial musical tunes with Indian fervour.

The 10-minute show involved 1,000 drones fabricated through indigenous technology with synchronised music playing in the background. The drones lit up the sky in various patterns including India’s map on the globe, the Tricolour, and the lion symbol of ‘Make in India’.

Earlier, a laser projection briefly narrated India’s freedom struggle and its journey since Independence. The projection mapping was showcased on the walls of North and South Block to commemorate 75 years of independence.

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Martial musical tunes with Indian fervour were also the flavour of the ceremony. Twenty-six performances enthralled the spectators with foot-tapping music played by the bands of the Indian Army, Navy, Air Force and Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF).

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The entry band played the ‘Veer Sainik’ tune. This was followed by Pipes & Drums Band, CAPF Band, Air Force Band, Naval Band, Army Military Band and massed bands.

A number of new tunes were added to the ceremony to celebrate ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’. These include ‘Kerala’, ‘Hind ki Sena’ and ‘Ae Mere WatanKe Logon’. The ceremony came to a close with the ever-popular tune ‘Sare Jahan se Acha’.

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The 10-minute drone show involving 1,000 drones fabricated through indigenous technology was flown up with synchronised background music. The drones light up various patterns including India’s map on the globe, Mahatma Gandhi, Tricolour and the lion symbol of ‘Make in India’. Further “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav” was displayed during the show.

The drone show was organised by a startup ‘Botlab Dynamics’ and supported by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi and the Department of Science and Technology. The drone show was conceptualised, designed, produced and choreographed under the ‘Make in India’ initiative.

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‘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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Rajesh Negi

Defence & Sports Enthusiast

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