Army may soon get new indigenous song with Hindi lyrics for 'Solemn' national events, evaluating 3 bids

Army may soon get new indigenous song with Hindi lyrics for 'Solemn' national events, evaluating 3 bids

Of late, there has been increased focus on Indian tunes played at ceremonies such as Beating the Retreat.

The Indian Army may soon have a new audio score complete with Hindi lyrics to be played by military bands at the end of “solemn national ceremonial events” such as the Beating the Retreat ceremony.

Bids for the new score, invited in July this year by the Army’s Additional Directorate General of Ceremonial Welfare, have received responses from three private players who are currently being evaluated, News18.com has learnt.

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Several tunes currently played at military ceremonies in India have British origins. For instance, the iconic ‘Auld Lang Syne’ is played during passing out parades at various military academies. ‘Abide With Me’, a Christian hymn, is traditionally played as the last tune at the Beating the Retreat ceremony on January 29 every year before the participating bands march off to the popular tune of ‘Saare Jahan Se Accha’.

Of late, there has been increased focus on Indian tunes played at ceremonies such as Beating the Retreat. Some new tunes, including ‘Swarnim Vijay’, were played this year during the Beating the Retreat ceremony, along with other band performances based on Indian tunes. Last year, there were plans to drop ‘Abide With Me’ in favour of ‘Vande Mataram’ as the closing tune of the ceremony. However, the former was eventually retained in both 2020 and 2021.

The Army’s Request For Proposal (RFP) does not explicitly state if this new indigenous audio tune will replace ‘Abide With Me’ or any other military tune, or whether it will be added to the selection of tunes played at these ceremonies. What it does say is that the tune should be “sombre and suitable for playing as the final performance at the culmination of solemn national ceremonial events”.

The RFP says that the new song will be dedicated to the sacrifices of Indian soldiers who attained martyrdom and their kin. The lyrics, it states, must be “timeless, moving, spiritually/aesthetically appealing and should highlight the dedication of soldiers” despite the hardships faced by them. “The musical composition should be acoustically pleasing, foot tapping, hummable and adaptable by military bands,” it states.

After a firm is shortlisted, the vendor will have to present the tune within 30 days of the finalisation of the contract for the first screening. The vendor should be ready with the final rendition along with lyrics and music scores of the composed song and tune within 45 days of the contract being finalised. As per the RFP, the song will be the intellectual property of the Government of India.

Discussions are also reportedly underway on including more indigenous texts in military training and strategic studies with a greater focus on Indian war heroes, leaders and thinkers. Plans include incorporating their exploits in military studies and displaying their quotes in ops rooms and other places in military bases. Deliberations are also underway to put to rest the use of pre-Independence terms, avoiding anglicised names for military exercises, and call signs, including aviation call signs.

The Indian military has shed much of its British-origin customs and traditions over the decades. But a renewed push towards further Indianising the defence forces came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi sought greater indigenisation of the national security apparatus in his speech at the Combined Commanders’ Conference this year. News18.com had earlier reported that a study by the College of Defence Management recommended exploring ways of incorporating “relevant teachings” from ancient Indian texts such as Kautilya’s Arthashastra and Bhagavat Gita in the military training curriculum.

In 2016, the Army War College, Mhow, had also published a combat paper, which drew learnings from the Mahabharata and Arthashastra.

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