A Scottish hymn, said to be Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite, was dropped from India’s annual Republic Day celebrations, as part of what the government says is an “ongoing process of decolonising India”.
The decision to stop playing the Christian hymn Abide with Me at the Beating Retreat ceremony, which honours the country’s armed forces, has divided opinion in the country.
Every year, India puts on a grand parade in the capital, Delhi, on 26 January to mark the day in 1950 when it officially became a sovereign republic. The Beating Retreat ceremony, which originates from a 17 Century British tradition, happens three days later, signalling the end of festivities.
A military source told the BBC that the song was being removed from this year’s event to make way for a playlist of Indian tunes. It was being replaced by a popular patriotic Hindi song – Aye Mere Watan Ke Logon – which commemorates Indian soldiers who died in the 1962 war against China.
“This song is more connected to the mass population because it honours all those who laid down their lives. It’s more appropriate,” the military spokesperson said.
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SOURCE: BBC, Rajini Vaidyanathan