Today is the martyrdom anniversary of Shaheed-i-Azam Sardar Udham Singh. Udham Singh was the fearless revolutionary who avenged the Jallianwala massacre.He waited 21 years to avenge the heinous incident and finally on 13 March 1940 he assassinated Michael O Dwyer, the former lieutenant governor of Punjab. Dwyer endorsed Reginald Dyer’s action at Jallianwala Bagh.
Sardar Udham Singh was born on 26 December 1899 in Sunam village of Sangrur district of Punjab Province, lost his mother at the age of two and his father at the age of eight. He and his elder brother spent a lot of him in an orphanage in Amritsar. However, in 1917 his brother also died. Now, Udham was all alone.
In 1919, upon leaving the orphanage, he joined the Indian Freedom Movement. It was the same year that the Jallianwala Massacre happened. And Udham Singh vowed that avenging the massacre is the only purpose of his life.For this revenge, Udham Singh changed his name and travelled to Africa, Nairobi, Brazil and the United States. In 1934, he reached London and resided at Elder Street Commercial Road and purchased a car and a revolver with six bullets. Then he waited for the right time. This right time came after six years.
Twenty-one years after the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, on On 13 March 1940, the Royal Central Asian Society had a meeting at Caxton Hall, London. Michael O Dwyer was a speaker here. Udham realised that he might not get a better opportunity than this. He reached to the meeting hall with his revolver.
Udham found a unique way to hide his revolver. He cut the pages of a thick book and hid the pistol in between. After the meeting, Udham Singh got a chance, and he took a front from behind the wall to fire shots at Michael O Dwyer. Two bullets hit Dwyer, and he died on the spot. Udham Singh had a chance to escape, but he did not do so. He allowed the police to arrest him. He wanted the world to know about Dwyer’s role in Jallianwala Massacre.
After his trial and conviction, he gave a speech in court. The judge ordered not to release his speech to the press. He said, “I am not afraid to die. I am proud to die to free my native land. And I hope that when I am gone; in my place will come thousands of my countrymen to drive you out; to free my country.”
On 31 July 1940, he was hanged in Pentonville Prison.Udham Singh used to write his name Ram Mohammad Singh Azad in letters written from Brixton and Pentonville Prison.
While in India, Sardar Udham actively participated in the freedom struggle. He dodged the British government on several occasions. During his stay abroad he took different names. But whenever he signed his name he always used Ram Mohammad Singh Azad.
In 1974, MLA Sadhu Singh Thind requested to bring back his remains to India. He was cremated in his birthplace; some of his ashes were retained and are preserved at the Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar, Punjab. On every 31 July, Indians across the world pay tribute to this legendary freedom fighter.