For any Indian it is one of the most exciting moments to witness the famous Beating Retreat ceremony at the Wagah Border in Attari, Punjab. Anybody who has taken a North India tour package anxiously awaits that day of the tour when he / she would be at the Wagah Border to witness this amazing ceremony.
The ceremony is an amazing time spent that makes you contemplate about the way things could have been if the countries were as one nation and not neighbors.
However there are a number of facts that can summarize this ceremony. We will have a brief check on what the ceremony is all about.
1. The Spectators.
The ceremony attracts a lot of people on both the sides of the border. The people who come here be it on the Indian side or the Paki side there is no difference in the level of Patriotism and excitement that they have within. The spectators create an ambiance that is equivalent of that of one which is experienced in a football match between 2 top International Clubs at a jam packed stadium. The spectators arriving for this ceremony are from different states of India speaking different languages but inheriting the same love and patriotism for their country.
2. The Ambiance.
The ambiance is loud and its real loud just as a football stadium hosting a top class club game. Here you can see the same emotions on everybody’s faces on either sides of the border. The ambiance is filled with the spectators or tourists, the local vendors selling things such as the flags, oil paintings, tattoos, eatables and other souvenirs. What gives the ambiance a more patriotic feel is the presence of the soldiers of the BSF (Border Security Force) amidst the crowd who perform all the rights of the retreat ritual. This is one of the places where you can experience peaceful ceremony between 2 countries that are known to have fought 2 fierce battles in the past and can wage a war at each other at any point of time.
3. The Rituals.
The ceremony rituals are performed by selected few soldiers on both the sides. The beginning of the ceremony is marked by the CM (Ceremony Master) shouting out the slogan of the country to fill and warm up the spectators with the patriotism. Later there is strong stomping of foots and a face off between 2 soldiers each from one side which adds to the drama of this entire ceremony. There are lots of patriotic songs played and slogans shouted out during the ceremony. At the end of the ceremony the gates are closed in Unison and the flags of both the countries are lowered with due respect.
THE AFTER EFFECT of this entire ritual is mostly and definitely more on the patriotic side, however one always feels that one could visit the other side as well as the people witness the same color of people, same language slogans being shouted and just a mere wall of border separating the 2 nations at once. This often leads them to think that if the Wall of Berlin can fall, than hopefully may be……