Vicky Kaushal to robe Sardar Udham Singh
Vicky Kaushal is all set to portray his diverse range of acting skills in his upcoming movie ‘Sardar Udham Singh’. The movie is coming on Amazon Prime this month and will showcase a legendary tale of India’s freedom struggle. Kaushal will portray the story of an Indian freedom fighter who went all the way to London to kill the one responsible for one of the deadliest massacres of history- Jallianwala Bagh. Helmed by Shoojit Sircar, the movie has been produced by Rising Sun Films in collaboration with Kino Works.
Sardar Uddham Singh was responsible for the assassination of the lieutenant governor of Punjab -general Michael O’Dwyer. The trailer promises a fine depiction of the underrated mission of Sardar Udham to take revenge for the acts of Jallianwala Bagh. But how much do you know about this patriotic freedom fighter? This is his story.
Sardar Udham Singh will release on Amazon Prime on 16th October 2021.
Born as Sher Singh on 26 December 1899, he belongs to a Punjabi Kamboj Sikh family. His mother and father died at an early age leaving Singh and his elder brother in the hands of Central Khalsa Orphanage Putlighar in Amritsar. In the orphanage, he was administered the Sikh initiatory rites and received the name of Udham Singh.
The massacre of Jallianwala bagh took out on 13 April 1919, when local leaders of the Indian National Congress and hundreds of others gathered to peacefully protest against the arrest of Satyapal and Saifuddin Kitchlew. Udham Singh and his brother were serving water for the crowd along with several other children of the orphanage. Colonel Reginald Dyer with his troops entered the area and closed all the exit gates and opened fire on the protesters. Over 350 people died that day including kids. Udham Singh was one of the lucky survivors of the massacre.
Deeply traumatized by the event he decided to join the Indian struggle movement under Bhagat Singh and his group. In 1924, he joined the Ghadar Party, which was responsible for secretly organizing Indians overseas towards overthrowing colonial rule. In 1927, on the order of Bhagat Singh, he returned to India with 25 other associates. He also bought tons of revolvers and ammunition along with him.
Later, he was arrested for having unlicensed arms and was sentenced to five years in prison. In 1931, when he was released, Singh was constantly under the eyes of British officials as they feared his revolutionary acts. Despite that, Udham Singh managed to reach Kashmir from where he fled to Germany. For the next three years, he planned his movement and finally in 1934, landed in London. Disguised as an engineer, Singh secretly planned the assassination of Michael O’Dwyer.
When a joint meeting of the East India Association and the Central Asian Society scheduled the speech of Michael O’Dwyer, Singh decided to execute his plan the same day. On 13 March 1940, Singh purchased a revolver from a local pub, confiscated it inside a book which was cut in the shape of the revolver, and entered the hall. He found an open seat from where he can clearly see Dwyer’s speak. When the meeting was concluded, Singh opened fire on Michael O’Dwyer as he moved to the mic. He shot twice and one of the bullets directly passed through Dwyer’s heart killing him instantly.
Udham Singh surrendered later that day.
The Aftermath of Assassination
Singh was charged or the murder of Michael O’Dwyer on 1 April 1940. He was held in custody at Brixton Prison. When he was asked his motive for the assassination, Singh said that what he did was right and Dwyer deserved it. He also added that he does not fear death in prison. In custody, Singh named himself- Ram Mohammad Singh Azad. The first three names represent the unity of religions of the country and Azad suggests his anti-colonial views. To reflect the same he also went on 42 days hunger strike in the prison.
On 4 June 1940, when he was presented against Judge Atkins at Central Criminal Court, he was once again asked for his motive behind the act. Singh responded:
“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 the 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 British rule. I have protested against this, it was my duty. What greater honor could be bestowed on me than death for the sake of my motherland?”
His speech was never made to the newspapers as it would affect the reputation of the Company in India. Udham Singh was found guilty and was sentenced to death. He was hanged on 31 July 1940 at Pentonville Prison.
Though the Raj didn’t allow to release Singh’s speech in the newspaper, later the political activists of Shaheed Udham Singh Trust ran a campaign to release his statement. Finally, in 1996, his speech was published along with a detailed court trial both in British and Asian press.
The life of Udham Singh represents the extraordinary courage and strength of our freedom fighters. It depicts the pain our fathers and forefathers have gone through to free India from British Imperialism. The heroics of Udham Singh will forever be remembered in the heart of our countrymen and his tale will continue to inspire millions.