Police bands: Colonial legacy now in shambles

Lack of new recruits draws curtains on Adilabad band

Despite being a musical genre in their own right, the police pipe and brass bands are a neglected lot. The police bands are among the very few institutions that continue to have a link with the country's colonial past. The players in these bands are equally comfortable with the tunes of ‘Colonel Bogey March', ‘God Save the Queen' and ‘Abide with Me' as they are with ‘Kadam Kadam Badhaye Ja' and ‘Vijayi Bharat'.

The police brass band in Adilabad is one of the martial music outfits that boasts of a glorious past but is faced with a bleak future. With no fresh recruitment, the band will be bereft of players as almost all of its 10 members will retire in the not so distant future.

During the heydays, the pipe band here had shared relationship with the society at large. For example, even students from schools like the St. Joseph's Convent School used to be trained in general drill and march-past by this band. The band now gets to perform mainly on four occasions—the Independence Day, Republic Day, Police Commemoration Day and State Formation Day. The earlier group was replaced by the current brass band in 1982 with 16 players who had some musical background that gave them some advantage over their counterparts in other district. The group won the 1996 inter-district police band competitions at Hyderabad. “Following this win, we were made to play at more than five marriage functions in the city,” remembers Naitham Ramulu, the trumpeter. The ageing members of the Adilabad police band had urged the DGP for filling vacant positions of players .

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