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Current Affairs

Udham Singh

Date: 27 December 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

December 26 is the birth anniversary of freedom fighter Udham Singh, known for avenging the Jallianwala Bagh massacre of 1919.

 

Details

  • In 1940, Singh shot and killed Michael O’Dwyer, the colonial official considered responsible for Jallianwala Bagh, where over 1,000 men, women and children lost their lives, and more than were 1,200 wounded.

  • Singh was born in Sunam in Punjab’s Sangrur district in 1899 and was a political activist who got associated with the Ghadar Party while in the US. 

  • In 1934, Singh made his way to London with the purpose of assassinating O’Dwyer, who in 1919 had been the Lieutenant Governor of Punjab.

  • O’Dwyer was worried that there might be a second Indian mutiny, given the Hindu-Muslim unity and the demonstrations and strikes.

  • He is considered to be the actual perpetrator, since Dyer could not have executed it without his permission.

  • On March 13, 1940, Udham Singh shot O’Dwyer at a meeting of the East India Association and the Royal Central Asian Society at Caxton Hill.

  • At the prison, Singh staged a 36-day hunger strike and in police statements and at the court referred to himself as Mohamed Singh Azad, to symbolise Hindu-Sikh-Muslim unity in the fight for India’s freedom.

  • He was sentenced to death and was hanged on July 31, 1940 at Pentonville Prison. In 1974, his remains were sent back to India and he was cremated in his village in Sunam.

  • There have been several demands in the past few years for Udham Singh’s statue to be installed in Jallianwala Bagh and the Parliament complex.

  • His statue was installed at Jallianwala Bagh during Baisakhi. Udham Singh Nagar district in Uttarakhand is named after the freedom fighter.

Ghadar Party

  • The Ghadar Movement was an early 20th century, international political movement founded by expatriate Indians to overthrow British rule in India.

  • The multi-ethnic party was believed to have communist tendencies and was founded by Sohan Singh Bhakna in 1913. Headquartered in California, the party was committed to the ouster of the British from India.