Wagah border ceremony

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Wagah Border Ceremony
ਵਗਾਹ ਬੋਰਡਰ मਰੇਮੋਨੀ
वागाह बॉर्डर सेरेमनी
واہگہ بورڈر کروسِنگ
Punjab map.svg
Wagah is located on the international highway between Amritsar, India, and Lahore, Pakistan.
Genre Military display
Dates Every day
Years active 53 (since 1959)
Founded Border Security Force and Pakistan Rangers

The Wagah border closing 'lowering of the flags' ceremony, or The Beating Retreat ceremony, is a daily military practice that the security forces of India (Border Security Force) and Pakistan (Pakistan Rangers) have jointly followed since 1959.[1]

Overview[edit]

This ceremony takes place every evening before sunset at the Wagah border, which as part of the Grand Trunk Road was the only road link between these two countries before the opening of the Aman Setu in Kashmir in 1999. The ceremony starts with a blustering parade by the soldiers from both the sides, and ends up in the perfectly coordinated lowering of the two nations' flags.[2] It is called the beating retreat border ceremony on the international level. One infantryman stands at attention on each side of the gate. As the sun sets, the iron gates at the border are opened and the two flags are lowered simultaneously. The flags are folded and the ceremony ends with a retreat that involves a brusque handshake between soldiers from either side, followed by the closing of the gates again. The spectacle of the ceremony attracts many visitors from both sides of the border, as well as international tourists.[2]

In October 2010, Major General Yaqub Ali Khan of the Pakistan Rangers decided that the aggressive aspect of the ceremonial theatrics should be toned down.[1][3]

The ceremony has been filmed and broadcast by Michael Palin for one of his television around-the-world travel programs; he described it as a display of "carefully choreographed contempt."[2]

Gallery[edit]

2014 suicide attack[edit]

On 2 November 2014, approximately 60 people were killed and at least 110 people were injured in a suicide attack on the Pakistan side of the Wagah border. Theories include an 18–20 year old attacker detonating a 5 kg explosive in his vest 500 metres from the crossing point in the evening right after the Wagah border ceremony ended.[4][5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Khaleeli, Homa (1 November 2010). "Goodbye to the ceremony of silly walks between India and Pakistan". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c Frank Jacobs (3 July 2012). "Peacocks at Sunset". Opinionator: Borderlines. The New York Times. Retrieved 15 July 2012. 
  3. ^ Doherty, Ben (2012-01-29). "Ritual dance between bitter brothers". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2012-02-11. 
  4. ^ "Pakistan blast 'kills 45' at Wagah border with India". BBC News. 2 November 2014. Retrieved 2 November 2014. 
  5. ^ "Police: Suicide bomber kills dozens at Pakistan border parade". CNN. 2 November 2014. Retrieved 2 November 2014. 

External links[edit]