What Does 'Abide With Me' Mean for Armed Forces & Nationalism?

What does it mean for “Abide With Me” to be a part of Republic Day and for the Indian army? Tune in!

1 min read

“Abide With Me” a Christian hymn by Scottish Anglican Henry Francis Lyte which has been performed by Indian military bands on Beating The Retreat ceremony on 29 January since 1950, recently ran into a bit of controversy.

Certain reports, from 15 January suggested that Mahatma Gandhi’s supposedly favourite hymn "Abide with Me" was being dropped from this year’s Beating the Retreat ceremony and instead being replaced with Vande Mataram, our national song.

Although the defense ministry put all those rumours to rest and declared that the hymn was not being dropped, and Vande Mataram is going to be a new addition to this ceremony, a conversation was triggered about the hymn.

What does it mean for this colonial vestige to be a part of Republic Day and for the Indian army? Does its religious tones not cater to nationalism? How did this song make its way to India? Tune in to The Big Story for more!

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