Bengaluru: In what might come as a refreshing and welcome move, the government may change the protocol of playing the popular Christian hymn Abide With Me at the Beating Retreat ceremony.

 The Beating Retreat ceremony is held at the Vijay Chowk on January 29, three days after Republic Day. This time, the ceremony, which happens to be the most popular ceremony in the country, may end with Vande Mataram. 

Abide With Me, was written by a Scottish Anglican preacher named Henry Francis Lyte and it said to be a favourite of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. 

Organised by the ministry of defence, the brass bands of the three armed forces used to play the song. 

The ceremony takes place at the Raisina Hills and an adjacent square. 

It  is to be noted that, at the playing of its last note, the lights at the Raisina Hill are turned on, marking the end of the ceremony. After that, the principal conductor of the ceremony seeks permission of the President to close the ceremony. The bands then retreat to "Sare Jahan se Acha".

Beating Retreat' marks a centuries old military tradition, when the troops ceased fighting and returned to the camps at sunset at the sounding of the Retreat.

Last year, 18 military bands, 15 pipe and drum bands from regimental centres and battalions had participated in the ceremony.

There were 25 tunes composed by Indian musicians, including ''Indian Soldiers'', ''Herana Heran'', ''Mushkoh Valley'', ''Tejas'', ''The Great Marshal'' and ''Namaste India''.