BSF Camel Band – The true attraction of Republic Day parade

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Keeping the tradition alive, BSF Camel Band will perform during the 72nd Republic Day. Decked up in rich attire, the band is a true grandeur.

Of all the things that elevate India’s 2021 republic day celebrations, BSF Camel Band truly stands out. As India’s largest paramilitary force, the Border Security Force, owns a unique camelry that is an integral part of India’s border safety. The band which is part of BSF Camel Contingent will perform during India’s 72nd Republic day celebrations today.

Border Security Force Camel Band:

BSF Camel band is India’s Border Security Force’s one of the two official military bands. Like every other year, they will perform a march past during today’s republic day celebrations. BSF’s contingent holds a place in the Guinness Book of world records for being first of its kind. The band originally part of the  BSF camel contingent. And the contingent is the inheritor of the heritage of the Bikaner Royal Camel Force, known as ‘Ganga Risala’. This original force is based in Jaisalmer of Rajasthan.

How the band started:

According to one of the originally reported articles on Hindustan Times, it was reported the camel contingent was started to help the BSF in administrative and operational needs. Their primary use was to assist in the international border patrol at the Rajasthan dessert area. The camels reportedly perform better than sand scooters. They are mainly organized as 8 camels per a battalion of army and are used to guard a border line covering 500 kilometers. Originally, the villagers of the western Rajasthan used the camel carts in their daily routines and passed the idea to the army officials. Since the official formation of BSF in 1965, the contingent not only participated in various wars along with the army personnel but also being showcased in various ceremonial activities. It was Inspector General KS Rathore’s idea that initiated usage of camels in ceremonial activities from 1986 onwards.

The Band’s participation in the Rajpath Parade:

After its establishment, in January 1990, the band performed in the Republic parade for the first time. They underwent three years of intensive training before this first performance.

BSF Camel Band
The BSF Camel Band during the annual Republic Day Parade in 2004. Representative Image. Pic- Wiki media.

Since its first performance, the band never missed an opportunity to perform expect for one time in 2017 due to lack of preparation. And U.S. President Barack Obama lauded the performance of the band during his official visit to India on during November 2010.

Selection of camels for the band:

The camel band reportedly consists of thirteen musicians and the band specifically consists of picked camels particularly a breed of Arabian camels. The BSF has approximately 1200-1500 camels. Each camel is taken into the force at the early age of 5 and they serve approximately 15 years. The breeds picked during the selection eventually be put in three sub types – dromedary camels – Jaisalmeris, which are sturdily built; Bikaneris, which are high speed runners; and the Nachnas, which are used for ceremonial duties. Camels are reportedly be lethargic in nature. To pick the right kind, train them and make them tolerant of loud music with people sitting on them surrounded by thousands of people requires an intense training. For this reason, the parade organized by the tough to tame camels represent the determinacy and discipline army personnel in safe guarding our nation.

Like every other year, the band got fully ready to participate in the 72nd Republic Day celebrations at New Delhi’s Rajpath.

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