Udham Singh

Udham Singh is an Indian freedom fighter and member of the Ghadar Party. Udham Singh waited for 21 years to take his revenge on Michael O’Dwyer by assassinating him. Michael O’Dwyer was responsible for the Massacre at Jallianwala Bagh. He is also referred to as Shaheed-i-Azam Sardar Udham Singh.

Udham Singh was born on 26 December 1899 in Punjab, India. His mother died when he was an infant. He lost his father also died later. After the death of his father, Singh and his brother joined in an Orphanage in Amritsar. He left that orphanage in the year 1919. 

At the time of the Massacre at Jallianwala Bagh in April 1919, Udham Singh was there with his orphanage friends serving the water to the crowd at Jallianwala Bagh. 

Later, in 1924 Singh was highly influenced by Bhagat Singh and the revolutionary politics and joined in Ghadar Party. In 1927, he got back to India on requests from Bhagat Singh, bringing 25 partners just as pistols and ammo. Before long, he was captured for ownership of unlicensed arms. Pistols, ammo, and duplicates of a restricted Ghadar Party paper called “Ghadr-I-Gunj” (“Voice of Revolt”) were seized. He was indicted and condemned to five years in jail.

Udham Singh moving to London

He was released in the year 1931, and the Punjab police were continuously watching his activities. He went to Kashmir from Punjab and from there he escaped to Germany. From Germany, he moved to London and joined as an engineer. From then he started planning for the assassination of Michael O’Dwyer. 

Assassinating Michael O’Dwyer

On 13 March 1940, Michael O’Dwyer was scheduled to speak at a joint meeting of the East India Association and the Central Asian Society (now Royal Society for Asian Affairs) at Caxton Hall, London. Udham Singh purchased a gun from a soldier in a pub. He arranged that gun in a book by cutting the book pages into a gun shape. While O’Dwyer was moving towards the speaking platform, Singh fired the gun and those bullets passed through O’Dwyer’s heart and right lung which, killed him on the spot. 

Udham Singh Execution

On 1 April 1940, Udham Singh was officially accused of the homicide of Michael O’Dwyer and remanded in authority at Brixton Prison. At first, requested to clarify his motivations, Udham Singh stated: “I did it because I had a grudge against him. He deserved it. I don’t belong to society or anything else. I don’t care. I don’t mind dying. What is the use of waiting until you get old? … Is Zetland dead? He ought to be. I put two into him? I bought the revolver from a soldier in a public house. My parents died when I was three or four. … Only one dead? I thought I could get more”.

While in guardianship, he called himself “Ram Mohammad Singh Azad”. The initial three expressions of the name mirror the three significant religious communities of Punjab (Hindu, Muslim, and Sikh); the final word “Azad” (in a real sense “free”) mirrors his enemy of pioneer sentiment.

Uddham Singh was indicted for homicide and condemned to death. On 31 July 1940, Singh was hanged at Pentonville Prison. His remains are saved at the Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar, Punjab.

Udham Singh speech in court

Udham Singh gave a speech before the judge at court. His speech was not released to the press. Later the Indian activists and Shaheed Udham Singh Trust worked on it and in 1996 Uddham Singh’s speech was released along with some documents. 

Below I have mentioned some of the quotes from his speech.

“I say down with British Imperialism. You say India does not have peace. We have only slavery Generations of so-called civilization has brought us everything filthy and degenerating. known to the human race. All you have to do is read your own history. If you have any human decency about you, you should die with shame. The brutality and bloodthirsty way in which the so-called intellectuals who call themselves rulers of civilization in the world are bastard blood . . .”

Udham Singh

“I do not care about the sentence of death. It means nothing at all. I do not care about dying or anything. I do not worry about it at all. I am dying for a purpose.’

Udham Singh

“I never meant anything, but I will take it. I do not care anything about it, but when you dirty dogs come to India there comes a time when you will be cleaned out of India. All your British Imperialism will be smashed.’

Udham Singh

“Machine guns on the streets of India mow down thousands of poor women and children wherever your so-called flag of democracy and Christianity flies.’

Udham Singh

“Your conduct, your conduct – I am talking about the British government. I have nothing against the English people at all. I have more English friends living in England than I have in India. I have great sympathy for the workers of England. I am against the Imperialist Government.’ 

Udham Singh

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