Udham Singh Kamboj (Sher Singh or Sardar Udham Singh) was born on 26 December 1899, at Sunam in the Sangrur district of Punjab. After his father’s death, who was a railway watchman he was shifted to the central Khalsa Orphanage in Amritsar.
In the year of 1919, he left the orphanage. At the same year the infamous Jallianwala Bagh Massacare took place on the day of Baisakhi.
Jallianwala Bagh & its effect on Sardar Udham Singh
The British were known for introducing oppressive laws and acts to suppress Indians. One of such act was the Rowlatt Act also known as The Anarchial and Revolutionary Crimes Act of 1919.
The Rowlatt Act allowed the British to detain any political person without any trial and were allowed to repress any political protests.
Mahatma Gandhi decided to organize a nonviolent mass protest against this Black Act. The British in return decided to completely crush any protest against this act.
The protest against this Black Act was strongest in the Punjab province of British India. The British government had already arrested major leaders like Satya Pal and Saifuddin Kitchlew under Rowlatt Act.
On 13 April 1919, a huge crowd was protesting against the Rowlatt act and the arrest of their popular leader. At this time the young Udham Singh was serving water and other necessary things to protestors.
But on the order of General Dyer the British forces blocked the exit point of the field and ordered his men to open fire on the unarmed protesters. Around 1500 innocent men, women and children lost their lives and more than 1000 were badly wounded.
After this act there were widespread protests and attacks on the government buildings. But the British crushed the rebellion and protests mercilessly.
Young Udham Singh witnessed the massacre of the innocent people and he decided to take the revenge of this. For 21 years he waited for right time for his revenge.
Sardar Udham Singh or Shaheed Udham Singh considered Lieutenant Governor Michael O’Dwyer the main person responsible for the massacre at Jallianwala Bagh. He was always in contact with other revolutionary leader.
Mission to take revenge for Jallianwala Bagh Massacre
Later he went to USA and in 1924 he met with the veteran revolutionaries of the famous Ghadar Party. He and Bhagat Singh (Shaheed-e-Azam) were carrying revolvers and explosives for conducting revolutionary activities but both of them were captured by the British government. Sardar Udham Singh, due to this act was sent to jail for four years.
After spending three years in jail ,he went to England via Italy, France, Switzerland, and Austria. He had a six chambered revolver which he had bought for only one aim and that was for the assassination of Michael O’Dwyer.
On 13 March 1940 at Caxton Hall (London) the brave Udham Singh shot two bullets at Lieutenant Governor Michael O’Dwyer. At the same time ,Udham Singh also shot Lawrence Dundas and critically injured Louis Dane too.
Udham Singh didn’t even try to escape and allowed himself to be arrested as a proud son of Bharat Mata and a true patriot.
He took the revenge of all those innocent men, womens, children and all those freedom fighters who had been mercilessly tortured to death during British rule and sent a strong message to all the members of the then British government.
On 1 April 1940 trail was conducted on Udham Singh for the assassination of Michael O’Dwyer.
“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 seek 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 greater honour could be bestowed on me than death for the sake of my motherland?”
On 31 July 1940 he was hanged at Pentonville Prison.
The revolver, knife and diary of this brave son of Bharat Mata has been kept safely at the Black Museum of Scotland yard (crime museum).
But the sad part of the assassination of the Michael O’Dwyer was that it didn’t get any major support from the Indian leadership of that time. Both Mahatama Gandhji and Jawaharlal Nehru condemned this act of violence. The only person supported the bravery of Saradar Udham Singh was Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.
A German radio also supported Udham Singh and said that the Indians never forget to take the revenge even after 20 years. The Times of London declared Shaheed Udham Singh as a freedom fighter when Indians like Gandhi & Nehru were condemning him.
While Sardar Udham Singh‘s name had been forgotten, several Indians still paid tribute to honor his courage. A district Udham Singh Nagar had been named after him in the state of Dev Bhoomi Uttarakhand.
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