Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Udham Singh - Love for his country


Other Names: Sher Singh,Ram Mohammed Singh Azad, Shaheed-i-Azam Sardar Udham Singh

Birth Place: Sunam, Punjab

Date of Birth: 22 December 1899

Date of Death: 31 July 1940

Movement:Indian Independence Movement

Major organizations: Ghadar Party, Hindustan Socialist Republican Association

Udham Singh fought for Liberation by Revolutionary movement;

Udham singh was born on December 26,1899 at Sunam in Punjab. He was named Sher Singh. When he was four years old, he lost his parents and he along with his brother was admitted in a Orphanage in Amrister where he got a new name Udham Singh by passing Sikh initiation rites.

Udham Singh involved in Revolutionary movement for India’s Independence.

On April 13,1919,British Indian Army soldiers under the command of Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer opened fire on an unarmed gathering of men, women and children at Jalianwala Bagh. The firing lasted about 10 minutes to 15 minutes and 1650 rounds were fired (33 rounds per soldier).
Udham Singh witnessed this massacre of his country men falling prey to British Soldiers gun shots and was deeply hurt to see the death of innocent people. At that moment he took pledge in Golden temple to avenge the bloody act.

About 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 mates from the orphanage were serving water to the crowd on a warm summer afternoon.

After few minutes, 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. Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer was in command. The troops had entered the Bagh by about 5:15 PM. With no warning to the crowd to disperse, Dyer ordered his troops to open fire, concentrating especially on the areas where the crowd was thickest. The attack lasted ten minutes. Since there was only one exit not barred by soldiers, people tried to climb the walls of the park. Some also jumped into a well inside the compound to escape the bullets. A plaque in the monument says that 120 bodies were plucked out of the well alone.

By the time the smoke cleared, hundreds of people had been killed and thousands injured. Official estimates put the figures at 379 killed (337 men, 41 boys and a six week old baby) and 200 injured, but other reports estimated the deaths well over 1,000 and possibly 1,300.

Udham Singh mainly held Michael O'Dwyer who was Lieutenant Governor of Punjab that time, responsible for this massacre. The incident had greatly shaken young Udham Singh and proved a turning point in his life. After bathing in the holy sarovar (pool of nectar), Udham Singh took a silent vow and solemn pledge in front of the Golden Temple to wreak a vengeance on the perpetrators of the crime and to restore honour to what he saw as a humiliated nation.

Udham Singh then started traveling to all places supporting the revolutionary activities. He was inspired by Bhaghat Singh very much.

Once while he was in Lahore, for possessing weapons illegally he was imprisoned for 4 years.
On his release during 1932, he found his stay in India extremely difficult and so he decided to leave India. He went to Europe in 1933. After traveling widely in Europe, he reached London and stayed there. His unfulfilled pledge of taking revenge for Jallianwala bagh massacre kept him restless and thinking over the ways to fulfill his pledge.

Finally, On April 13th, 1940, almost 21 years after the Jallianwala Bagh killings, a meeting of British officials was being held in Caxton hall in London where Michael Dyer who is main cause for Jallianwala incident too present there. At the end of the meet, all of a sudden Udham took out his pistol and shot at Dyer. He was hit twice and died immediately.

In the picture: Smiling Udham Singh (in center) leaving Caxton Hall after his arrest.

He also shot at Lord Zetland who was secretary of India and he was injured but not seriously.

Udham after shooting, didn’t managed to escape. During his trial in court he said he did it and Dyer deserved that punishment.

Udham Singh had told the court at his trial:

"I did it because I had a grudge against him. He deserved it. He was the real culprit. He wanted to crush the spirit of my people, so I have crushed him. For full 21 years, I have been trying to wreak vengeance. I am happy that I have done the job. I am not scared of death. I am dying for my country. I have seen my people starving in India under the British rule. I have protested against this, it was my duty. What a greater honour could be bestowed on me than death for the sake of my motherland?"

On July 31,1940 he was hung to death. During his trial he also asked to handover his remains to India. But after his death the British government didn’t handover his ashes. Later by 1975, by the request of Punjab constituency to Indian Government, the Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi urged British Govt to give Udham’s remains to India. The British Govt finally handover his remains to Indian Government and he was given Martyr Welcome. People of India especially Punjab people gathered to pay homage to the hero and he was cremated in his birth place Sunam and his ashes were immersed in holy Ganga Water.

Though he died, his boldness, courage, bravery and selfless love for his country and his people impress every Indians.


  1. the great udham singh.... our independent india owes a lot towards him....thanks for posting this piece of lovely info.

    bollywood should make film on him.