Udham Singh (1899–1940)

 Udham Singh (1899–1940)



Udham Singh, a name resonating with the spirit of resistance and nationalism, holds a significant place in the annals of Indian history. His courageous act of vengeance against the perpetrators of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre immortalized him as a symbol of India’s struggle for independence.

Early Life and Background

Udham Singh was born on December 26, 1899, in the village of Sunam in Punjab, which was then part of British India. His given name was Sher Singh, but he later adopted the name Udham Singh following significant events in his life.
Coming from a humble background, Singh experienced firsthand the injustices inflicted upon Indians under British colonial rule. His early years were marked by poverty and struggle, but they also instilled in him a deep sense of indignation toward the oppressive regime.
Growing up amidst the tumultuous atmosphere of India’s independence movement, Singh became increasingly aware of the atrocities committed by the British authorities against his fellow countrymen. The infamous Jallianwala Bagh massacre of April 13, 1919, proved to be a turning point in his life and ignited within him a burning desire for justice.
The massacre, orchestrated by British Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer, saw hundreds of unarmed civilians gunned down in cold blood at a public gathering in Amritsar. Witnessing the horrors of that day left an indelible mark on Singh’s psyche, shaping his resolve to avenge the innocent lives lost.
As Singh grew older, he immersed himself in the nationalist fervor sweeping across India, joining various revolutionary organizations dedicated to overthrowing British rule. His commitment to the cause led him on a journey that would ultimately culminate in a daring act of retribution—one that would etch his name into the annals of Indian history forever.


Involvement in the Indian Independence Movement

Udham Singh’s activism was influenced by several key figures and events within the Indian Independence Movement. He was inspired by the likes of Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekhar Azad, and other revolutionary leaders who advocated for armed resistance against British colonial rule. Additionally, the oppressive policies of the British Raj, including discriminatory laws and brutal suppression of dissent, fueled Singh’s determination to fight for freedom.
Singh actively participated in protests and revolutionary activities against British rule. He joined various underground revolutionary organizations, such as the Ghadar Party and the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA), where he collaborated with like-minded individuals to plan and execute acts of resistance. Singh’s involvement in activities like distributing pamphlets, organizing strikes, and carrying out acts of sabotage demonstrated his unwavering commitment to the cause of Indian independence.
The Jallianwala Bagh massacre of 1919 had a profound impact on Udham Singh’s life. Witnessing the brutal massacre firsthand left an indelible mark on Singh, fueling his desire for revenge against those responsible for the senseless slaughter of innocent civilians. The atrocity served as a catalyst for Singh’s radicalization and intensified his resolve to seek justice for the victims.

Journey to England


Motivated by a desire to confront the perpetrators of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre and to bring them to justice, Udham Singh made the fateful decision to travel to England. His journey to the heart of the British Empire was driven by a singular purpose—to hold accountable those responsible for the atrocities committed against his people.

In England, Singh encountered firsthand the stark realities of British colonialism and the entrenched racism prevalent within British society. Despite facing discrimination and adversity, he remained undeterred in his mission, immersing himself in anti-colonial activism and forging connections with like-minded individuals who shared his vision of liberation.

Singh’s experiences in England further radicalized him, solidifying his resolve to take decisive action against the architects of British oppression. He became increasingly involved in revolutionary circles, clandestinely organizing protests, disseminating anti-colonial literature, and plotting acts of resistance aimed at undermining British authority.



The Assassination of Michael O’Dwyer

The assassination of Michael O’Dwyer, the former Lieutenant Governor of the Punjab and a key architect of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, was the culmination of Udham Singh’s mission of retribution. On March 13, 1940, Singh attended a meeting at Caxton Hall in London, where O’Dwyer was scheduled to speak. Seizing the opportunity, Singh approached O’Dwyer and shot him dead, avenging the lives lost in the massacre.
The choice of O’Dwyer as the target held profound symbolism, representing the accountability of British officials for their crimes against the Indian people. O’Dwyer’s assassination sent shockwaves throughout the British Empire and garnered widespread attention for the Indian independence movement.
Following the assassination, Udham Singh was apprehended by British authorities and subsequently tried and convicted for murder. Despite facing execution, Singh remained steadfast in his commitment to the cause of Indian independence, declaring, “I did it because I had a grudge against him. He deserved it. He was the real culprit.”
The assassination of Michael O’Dwyer solidified Udham Singh’s place in history as a martyr for the cause of Indian freedom, embodying the spirit of resistance and sacrifice in the struggle against colonial oppression.

Trial and Imprisonment



During the legal proceedings and trial in British courts following the assassination of Michael O’Dwyer, Udham Singh maintained a defiant stance, refusing to express remorse for his actions and instead using the platform to denounce British colonial rule and the injustices perpetrated against the Indian people. His trial became a highly publicized event, drawing attention both within Britain and internationally.


Despite being advised by his defense counsel to plead guilty, Singh chose to plead not guilty, asserting that he had carried out the assassination as an act of retribution for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre and the oppression of his people by the British authorities. Throughout the trial, he remained unapologetic and resolute in his commitment to the cause of Indian independence.

During his court appearances, Singh delivered impassioned speeches, condemning British imperialism and advocating for the rights of the Indian people. His defiant statements resonated with many in India and across the world, shining a spotlight on the injustices of British colonial rule.

In the face of overwhelming evidence and Singh’s own admission of guilt, he was ultimately found guilty of murder and sentenced to death. On June 15, 1940, Udham Singh was executed by hanging at Pentonville Prison in London. Despite his execution, Singh’s legacy endured, inspiring future generations of freedom fighters and serving as a symbol of resistance against colonial oppression.

Udham Singh’s unwavering defiance and refusal to back down in the face of adversity during his trial exemplified his courage and commitment to the cause of Indian independence. Even in death, he remained a symbol of resistance and a beacon of hope for those striving for freedom and justice.





Thank you for your time and blessings 🙏❤️….


@Puja Singh….



Leave a Comment