“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 greater honour could be bestowed upon me than death for the sake of my motherland?”
These are the piercing words of Udham Singh, one of India’s fiercest freedom fighters, and he uttered these words after assassinating General Michael O’Dwyer, the cold-hearted General responsible for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.
A tribute to Udham Singh:
On April 13, 1919, on the festival day of Baisakhi, around 20,000 innocent people had gathered inside Jallianwala Bagh. Coming from outside the city, they may have been unaware of the martial law that had been imposed. On Dyer’s orders, his troops fired on the crowd for ten minutes, directing their bullets largely towards the few open gates through which people were trying to run out. The figures released by the British government were 370 dead and 1200 wounded. Other sources place the number of dead at well over 1000.
Udham Singh, a young orphan, had managed to escape, with a vow that he will come back and kill the man who approved of the massacre.
On 13 March 1940, at Caxton Hall in London, Udham Singh shot and killed the British Lieutenant-Governor of Punjab, Michael O’Dwyer. Dressed like a perfect English gentleman, Udham Singh pulled out a .45 Smith & Wesson revolver that was concealed under a book and fired six rounds into a group of people…He stood his ground, smiled, and didn’t try to escape!
Ram Mohammed Singh Azad, a.k.a., Udham Singh, was criticised by Jawaharlal Nehru at first, who had a friendly equation with the who’s who of the British Empire. Later, though, as Prime Minister, he paid tribute to the martyr.