Shaheed Udham Singh

Shaheed Udham Singh

Shaheed Udham Singh was an Indian revolutionary who was a member of the Ghadar Party and was best known for assassinating Michael O'Dwyer on March 13, 1940. At the time of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar, Michael O'Dwyer was the lieutenant governor of Punjab. Due to the deteriorating law and order situation in Punjab, British Army General Reginald Dyer was authorised by Michael O'Dwyer to take the necessary steps to restore order in the province.
 
Shaheed Udham Singh
EARLY LIFE 
• Udham Singh was born on December 26, 1899, in Sunam, Sangrur district, Punjab, India.
• His father Tehal Singh Kamboj and his mother both died early.
• Singh and his elder brother, Mukta Singh, were taken in by the Central Khalsa Orphanage Putlighar in Amritsar after their father died.
• At the orphanage, Singh was given the name Udham Singh. In 1918, he passed his matriculation exam and left the orphanage in 1919.
 
LATER LIFE
• The jallianwala bagh massacre had a profound impact on Udham Singh, who became involved in revolutionary activities and politics at the time.
• Bhagat Singh's group had a big influence on him.
• In 1924, Udham Singh joined the Ghadar Party, which aimed to organise overseas Indians in order to overthrow colonial rule.
• In 1927, he was arrested for illegal possession of firearms and sentenced to five years in prison while returning to India with associates and weapons to carry out revolutionary activities.
• Following his release from prison in 1931, Udham Singh managed to elude police surveillance because of his ties to the Ghadar Party. In 1934, he travelled to Germany and arrived in London.
• On March 13, 1940, Michael O'Dwyer was scheduled to speak at Caxton Hall, London, at a joint meeting of the East India Association and the Central Asian Society.
• Singh hid a revolver in a book with pages cut out in the shape of a revolver (As per some reference books).
• As the meeting came to a close, Singh shot O'Dwyer twice as he approached the podium.
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• After the shooting, Singh immediately surrendered.
 
Shaheed Udham Singh
TRIAL AND EXECUTION
• Udham Singh was charged with Michael O'Dwyer's assassination. Throughout his trial, he was imprisoned at Brixton Prison. He used the name Ram Mohammad Singh Azad while in custody to represent the three major religions of the Punjab region as well as his anti-colonial sentiments.
• Singh went on a 42-day hunger strike and was forced fed while awaiting his trial.
• On the 4th of June 1940, his trial began at the Central Criminal Court, Old Bailey. VK Krishna Menon and St. John Hutchinson defended him, while G.B. Mc Clure represented the prosecution. When asked about the assassination's motivation, he allegedly stated that he "was seeking vengeance for crushing the spirit of his people."
• Udham Singh was found guilty of murder and given the death penalty. He was hanged and buried at Pentonville Prison on July 31, 1940.
• In 1974, his remains were exhumed and returned to India at the request of the Indian government. Indira Gandhi and other important members of the Indian government were present when the casket containing his remains was received. Udham Singh was cremated and his ashes were scattered in the Sutlej River in Sunam, Punjab, where he was born. A portion of his ashes were kept at Jallianwala Bagh in a sealed urn.
• Political activists from the Shaheed Udham Singh Trust, in collaboration with the Indian Workers Association (GB), launched a campaign to have the court record of his statement, as well as other materials, published.
• His speech was published in 1996, along with three additional files from the trial and the Ghadar Directory, a document compiled by British intelligence in 1934 that listed 792 people considered a threat, including Udham Singh.
 
LEGACY OF UDHAM SINGH
• Shaheed-i-Azam Sardar Udham Singh, which means "great martyr," is another name for Udham Singh. The government of Uttarakhand named a district after him, Udham Singh Nagar, in October 1995 as a mark of respect.
• The day of his death is observed as a public holiday in Punjab and Haryana.
• On March 13, 2018, the International Sarv Kamboj Samaj unveiled a 10-foot-tall statue of him at the Jallianwala Bagh main entrance in Amritsar. 
• His ancestral town's official name is changed to 'Sunam Udham Singh Wala'.
• Singh is the subject of The Ska Vengers' 2015 music video and track "Frank Brazil"

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