New Delhi: The Indian Government has decided to drop the "Abide With Me" hymn from the republic day celebrations. It will be replaced by Kavi Pradeep's "Aye Mere Watan Ke Logon", written during the Sino-Indian War, composed by C Ramachandra and sung by Lata Mangeshkar. "Abide With Me", written by the hymnodist Henry Francis Lyte was sung on Indian Republic Day since 1950, The Indian Express reports.
The hymn was played during the 'Beating Retreat Ceremony', which used to mark the end of the Republic Day celebrations. The government reasoned that the hymn symbolised India's colonial past. The change comes a day after the 'eternal flame' of Amar Javan Jyothi was moved from India Gate to the National War Museum.
The hymn was always played last in the celebrations in the national capital before the troops return to Raisina Hills playing Allama Iqbal's "Saare Jahan Se Achha".
It was one of Mahatma Gandhi's personal favourites. It was used to be played at Sabarmati Ashram, along with bhajans 'Vaishnav Jan Toh' and the well-known Ram Dhun by Tulsidas, 'Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram', during Gandhi's time.
The hymn, popular across Christian religion, was first sung during author Lyte's own funeral. It was played in Queen Elizabeth 2nds wedding and musicians of Titanic before it submerged.
It used to be sung regularly in Churches, school choirs and educational institutions in India and got translated to some Indian languages.
Earlier in 2020, there were rumours that the hymn was going to be replaced by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee's "Vande Mataram", but it didn't after widespread criticism.