This episode talks about the history of 31st July which includes events like the battle of Alexandria, assassination attempt on King Henry V, and many more. The story also features the martyrdom of Udham Singh, an Indian revolutionary known for assassinating Michael O’Dwyer.
The history of 31st July includes various events of significance. Like the Battle of Alexandria in year 30 where Mark Antony achieves minor victory over Octavian, but most of his army subsequently deserts, leading to Octavian’s invasion of Egypt.
Again from the history of 31st July, I see that there was an assassination attempt on King Henry V in the year 1415. This was a part of the Southampton plot and put Edmund Mortimer on the throne.
Again from the history of 31st July, I see that it was this day in the year 1658 when Aurangzeb appoints himself as the Mongol Emperor. It was also this day when “Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect” by Robert Burns was published by John Wilson in Kilmarnock, Scotland in the year 1786. This was also the day when the first State Transport Service in India was established in Calcutta in the year 1948.
With this, I come to the feature story from the history of 31st July.
Udham Singh: The Real Avenger
On March 13, 1940, a historic event unfolded at the Caxton Hall in London – the assassination of Michael O’Dwyer, the former Lieutenant Governor of Punjab, by a man named Udham Singh. This act of vengeance shook the British Empire and highlighted the unresolved scars of one of the darkest chapters in India’s history – the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. Let’s delve into the life of Udham Singh, the events that shaped him, and the motivations behind his revolutionary actions.
Born as Sher Singh on December 26, 1899, in Punjab, Udham Singh faced adversity from an early age. Orphaned at a young age, he found refuge at the Central Khalsa Orphanage in 1907. It was during his formative years that India witnessed a horrifying incident that would forever impact the young boy’s life – the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. On April 13, 1919, Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer ordered his troops to open fire on unarmed protesters at Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar. The tragic incident claimed the lives of over a thousand people and left thousands injured.
Though historical accounts vary about Udham Singh’s presence at the scene, it is evident that the massacre left an indelible mark on his conscience. The pain and suffering inflicted upon innocent lives fueled his resolve to seek justice and fight against British oppression in India.
Udham Singh’s journey to becoming a revolutionary began with his deep involvement with the Ghadar Party, founded by Kartar Singh Sarabha, which aimed to free India from British rule. After moving to America, he actively participated in the party’s activities and even formed his own organization called the Azad Party, mobilizing Indians towards the cause of independence.
It was during this time that Udham Singh encountered another influential figure in India’s struggle for freedom, Bhagat Singh. Bhagat Singh’s revolutionary ideology resonated with Udham Singh, further solidifying his determination to fight for India’s liberty.
Udham Singh’s dedication to the cause extended beyond Indian borders. He established contacts with revolutionaries in various countries like France, Germany, Japan, and more. In 1927, he even delivered arms and ammunition to Bhagat Singh and others who were actively working towards overthrowing British rule.
After serving a prison sentence for possession of revolvers, Udham Singh emerged from incarceration with a new identity – he adopted the name Udham Singh and traveled to England in 1931. His travels through Europe coincided with the outbreak of the Second World War, and this period became a turning point for revolutionaries who saw an opportunity to strike against the British Raj.
On that fateful day at Caxton Hall, Udham Singh’s act of retribution reverberated across the world. He shot dead Michael O’Dwyer, the man whose support for General Dyer’s brutal actions at Jallianwala Bagh had fueled his thirst for justice. Udham Singh also injured several others, including Lord Zetland, the Secretary of State for India, Sir Louis Dane, and Baron Lamington.
Subsequently, Udham Singh was arrested and put on trial. He was convicted and sentenced to death. On July 31, 1940, he was hanged at Pentonville Prison in London.
Udham Singh’s legacy is one of valor, sacrifice, and unyielding patriotism. He became a symbol of resistance against oppression and a living testament to the price many paid in India’s fight for freedom. His actions served as a stark reminder to the British Empire of the atrocities committed at Jallianwala Bagh and the persistent call for justice.
Today, Udham Singh is remembered as a hero in India’s struggle for independence. His name is etched in history as the avenger of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, a man who dared to stand up against imperialist forces and fought for the rights and dignity of his fellow countrymen.
As we reflect on the life of Udham Singh, let us remember the importance of never forgetting our past, for it is through remembering that we honor those who laid down their lives for the freedom we cherish today. Udham Singh’s sacrifice serves as a constant reminder that the quest for justice and freedom is a noble cause worth pursuing, no matter the challenges that lie ahead.
That’s all from the history of 31st July.
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A devoted foodie with keen interest in wild life, music, cinema and travel Somashis has evolved over time . Being an enthusiastic reader he has recently started making occasional contribution to write-ups.