BEATING THE RETREAT
In the ‘Beating the Retreat’ ceremony in 2022, the tune of Abide With Me was replaced by the song Ae Mere Wattan Ke Logon. Since 1950, the hymn Abide With Me, said to be a favourite of Mahatma Gandhi, was played to conclude the annual 45-minute performance of military music, marking the last event of the Republic Day celebrations, at Vijay Chowk in New Delhi. Earlier in 2015, the Beating Retreat saw some major changes wherein Indian musical instruments sitar, santoor, and tabla were added for the first time. The retreat was thus infused with an
Addressing the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort on India’s 76th Independence Day in 2022, PM Modi had said: “In no part of our existence, not even in the deepest corners of our mind or habits should there be any ounce of slavery. It should be nipped there itself. We have to liberate ourselves from the slavery mind set which is visible in innumerable things within and around us.”
In tune with this mission, we have witnessed many small and big changes that have an impact on our daily life as an Indian. Here are but a few examples:
NEW NAVAL ENSIGN
On September 2, 2022, Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the new ensign (Nishaan) of Indian Navy at Kochi, while commissioning of the country’s first indigenously-built aircraft carrier INS Vikrant.
The Navy’s new flag features the national emblem with the Tricolour on the upper canton. The national emblem is encompassed by an octagonal shield and sits atop an anchor. Beneath it is the Navy’s motto ‘Sam No Varunah’.
The golden border surrounding the national emblem draws inspiration from the seal of Indian emperor Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and depicts steadfastness. The octagonal shape of the national emblem has been designed to represent eight directions, symbolising the multi-directional reach and multi-dimensional operational capability of the Indian Navy.
This move is befitting the rich Indian maritime heritage. The earlier ensign featured the Saint George’s Cross on a white background.
NO MORE CARRYING OF BATONS
More recently on July 29, 2023, the Indian Navy did away with another colonial legacy when it announced that it would end the practice of carrying batons with ‘immediate effect’. The Navy has now instructed that a ceremonial baton be placed appropriately in the office of the head of the organisation of every unit. The ceremonial handover of the baton may be undertaken within the office as part of a change of command only, the communication letter issued by the force said.
On January 28 this, the Centre renamed the iconic Mughal Garden at the Rashtrapati Bhavan as ‘Amrit Udyan’ in line with the mission to shed every spec of colonialism. Parallel to this instance, earlier in January, Delhi University’s Mughal Garden in North Campus was renamed Gautam Buddha Centenary Garden.
LOK KALYAN MARG
Back in 2016 itself this process decolonisation had started when the Race Course Road was renamed, Lok Kalyan Marg. The prime minister’s residence is at 7,
Lok Kalyan Marg. KARTAVYA PATH
Another landmark in the decolonisation of what used to be called Lutyens’ Delhi was the renaming of Rajpath as Kartavya Path. The central avenue from Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate along with the Central Vista lawns are now known as Kartavya Path instead of Rajpath as the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) — the civic body overseeing the New Delhi area — unanimously approved the name change.