Shahid Udham Singh

Topics: Indian independence movement, Udham Singh, British Empire Pages: 8 (2696 words) Published: July 9, 2011
Udham Singh

Udham Singh (December 26, 1899 - July 31, 1940) was an Indian Sikh independence activist, best known for assassinating Michael O'Dwyer in March 1940 in what has been described as an avenging of the Jallianwalla Bagh Massacre.[1]

Udham Singh changed his name to Ram Mohammad Singh Azad and was also known as Ram Mohammed Singh Azad, symbolizing the unification of the three major religions of India: Hinduism, Islam and Sikhism. Singh is considered one of the best-known of the more heroic revolutionaries of the Indian freedom struggle; he is also sometimes referred to as Shaheed-i-Azam Sardar Udham Singh (the expression "Shaheed-i-Azam," Urdu: شهید اعظم, means "the great martyr"). Bhagat Singh and Udham Singh along with Chandrasekhar Azad, Rajguru and Sukhdev, were the more famous names out of scores of young firebrand freedom fighters in the early part of 20th-century India. These young men believed their motherland would win her freedom only through the jolting up the sleeping British rulers. For their strong belief in display of courage to achieve India's freedom, a nervous England labelled these men as "India's earliest Marxists".It should be noted that contrary to the British perception , these freedom fighters never harmed the common people in any way and their acts were only aimed at attracting the attention of the British rulers. They acted as a wake up call to the foreign rulers that Indians will no longer tolerate their treachorous rule and impositions.

In 1940, almost 21 years after the Amritsar Massacre of 1919 in Punjab province of India, Singh shot the unsuspecting 75 years old Michael O'Dwyer while he was attending a lecture meet at Caxton Hall in London. O'Dwyer had been Governor of the Punjab in 1919, when Brigadier General Reginald Edward Harry Dyer mercilessly ordered British troops to fire on a congregation of unarmed Indian who had gathered at the Jallianwalla Bagh on the holy day of Baisakhi, who included Sikhs,Muslims,Hindus and Christians.This cruel act of the highest degree, left a deep scar on his heart. Early life

Sher Singh Jammu was born in Sunam in the Sangrur district of Punjab to a Sikh farming family headed by Sardar Tehal Singh (known as Chuhar Singh before taking the Amrit). Udham Singh belonged to Kamboj of lineage of Khatri/Rajput warrior caste of India.[2] Sardar Tehal Singh was at that time working as a watchman on a railway crossing in the neighbouring village of Upall. Sher Singh's mother died in 1901. His father followed in 1907.

With the help of Bhai Kishan Singh Ragi, both Sher Singh and his elder brother, Mukta Singh, were taken in by the Central Khalsa Orphanage Putlighar in Amritsar on October 24, 1907. They were administered the Sikh initiatory rites at the orphanage and received new names: Sher Singh became Udham Singh, and Mukta Singh became Sadhu Singh. Sadhu Singh died in 1917, which came as a great shock to his brother. While at orphanage, Udham Singh was trained in various arts and crafts. He passed his matriculation examination in 1918 and left the orphanage in 1919. [edit] Massacre at Jallianwala Bagh

Main article: Jallianwala Bagh massacre

On April 13, 1919, over twenty thousand unarmed Indians, mainly Punjabis , peacefully assembled in Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar, to listen to several prominent local leaders speak out against British colonial rule in India and against the arrest and deportation of Dr. Satya Pal, Dr. Saifuddin Kitchlew, and few others under the unpopular Rowlatt Act. Udham Singh and his friends from the orphanage were serving water to the crowd on a warm summer afternoon.

Not much later, a band of 90 soldiers armed with rifles and khukris (Gurkha short swords) marched to the park accompanied by two armoured cars with mounted machine guns. The vehicles were unable to enter the Bagh owing to the narrow entrance.[3] Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer was in command. The troops had entered the Bagh by about 5:15 PM. With no...
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