As India gears up to celebrate its 77th Independence Day on August 15, 2023, a wave of patriotism and the spirit of freedom resonates across the nation. This auspicious day serves as a reminder of the dawn of a new beginning – an era free from the oppression of over 200 years of British colonial rule.In the long and arduous battle for freedom, many of India’s true sons and daughters lost their lives. One such martyr who made the ultimate sacrifice for his motherland was Sardar Udham Singh. On this Independence Day, as we remember the journey that led us to our hard-earned freedom, it is imperative to revisit the life and sacrifice of Udham Singh, a true patriot.
Born Sher Singh on December 26, 1899, into a Kamboj Sikh family, Udham Singh emerged as a fervent Indian revolutionary. Orphaned at a young age, Singh and his elder brother, Mukta Singh, were raised in the Central Khalsa Orphanage Putlighar in Amritsar. It was here where Singh was bestowed with the name Udham, marking a turning point in his life and igniting his spirit to fight for his nation’s freedom.
Udham Singh’s sacrifice for the nation came in the form of his retaliation against General Michael O’ Dwyer, the former Lieutenant Governor of Punjab. Known for ordering the brutal Jallianwala Bagh massacre of 1919, Dwyer’s actions led to the death and injury of thousands of Indians. In revenge for this horrific event, Singh assassinated Dwyer at a meeting of the East India Association at Caxton Hall, London, on March 13, 1940.
Some lesser-known facts about Sardar Udham Singh that mark his place in the history of India’s freedom struggle include:
- After assassinating Dwyer, Singh immediately surrendered himself and was imprisoned at Brixton.
- He was a close ally of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, whom he considered his ‘guru’, and whose teachings he followed till his last breath.
- While in custody, Udham Singh adopted the name Ram Mohammad Singh Azad, symbolizing unity among the major religions in India.
- In honor of his contributions, a district in the Indian state of Uttarakhand is named after him, known as Udham Singh Nagar.
- Singh’s mortal remains were returned to India in 1974 and are kept at Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar.
Udham Singh’s sacrifice, and that of many others, form the pillars on which our freedom stands today. As we approach our 77th Independence Day, it is the time to remember and honor the lives and sacrifices of these great individuals who ensured a free future for the generations to come.