By Abdul Bari Masoud
New Delhi: On Sunday, opposition politicians slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government for excluding Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite hymn, “Abide with me,” from this year’s Beating Retreat event.
P Chidambaram, a senior Congress leader, said the government’s decision to remove Gandhi’s hymn had harmed “thinking and sensitive” people.
‘Abide with me,’ written in 1847 by Scottish Anglican poet and hymnologist Henry Francis Lyte, had been a part of the Beating Retreat ceremonial since 1950. However, the Indian Army said on Saturday that the hymn would not be performed at this year’s celebration.
“It is very unfortunate that an old Christian hymn, which is no longer a Christian hymn but a secular hymn, has been removed from the Republic Day procession,” he continued.
In the 75th year of India’s independence, the government has chosen to abolish the anthem, according to the former Union minister.
President of Manithaneya Makkal Katchi and Tamil Nadu MLA Prof MH Jawahirullah joined the chorus of outrage, saying, “I strongly reject the Union Government’s decision to delete Gandhiji’s favourite song.”
Jawahirullah said ‘Abide with Me’ has been played at the Vijay Chowk on the occasion of Beating the Retreat on January 29 in Vijay Chowk since 1950.
The song is about the mending of hurting spirits. “The decision to erase the song is one of multiple indirect attempts to evict Gandhi’s legacy,” he said, adding that “the decision to delete the song is one of several indirect attempts to oust Gandhi’s legacy.” It’s unsurprising, given that the ruling BJP has members who praise Mahatma Gandhi’s killer, Naturam Godse.”
‘Abide with Me’ was added to the list of songs to be played during the Beating the Retreat ceremony precisely because it was Gandhi’s favorite song. It has been played for the last 71 years, he added.
‘Abide with me,’ a hymn written in 1847, is a classic. Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite hymn was this one. “Every year on the last day of the Republic Day celebrations, the event called Beating the Retreat has always ended with a march to the tune of ‘Abide with me,” Chidambaram told reporters.
This song is part of India’s tradition and on behalf of the people of India, we urge the Union Government to include Gandhi’s favorite song ‘Abide with Me’ during the Beating the Retreat parade, said MMK leader Jawahirullah .
It must be replaced by the truly “most favorite hymn of Mr. M.K. Gandhi” : Ishvar Allah there naam, sabko sanmathi dhe Bhagvan.