Shaheed-i-Azam Sardar Udham Singh, the “avenger of the Jallianwala massacre”

He was one of the witnesses of the Jallianwala massacre on 10th April, 1919.  He was a volunteer and was serving water to the peaceful protestors there.

Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer ordered his troops to fire on the crowd without any warning whatsoever. Around 379 people were killed and over 1,200 were injured.

Even, Udham Singh was hit by a bullet and collapsed to the ground. However, he soon got up and continued to serve them water.

This incident had a deep impact on his and was yearning to take revenge. He held the governor of Punjab responsible for this massacre as he had supported it.

He involved himself into revolutionary politics and considered Bhagat Singh as his guru. In 1924, he became involved with the Ghadar party which organized Indians residing overseas to contribute towards overthrowing the British rule.


In 1934, Udham Singh reached London, where he planned to assassinate Reginald Dyer. He had to bide his time before he got his opportunity. On 13 March 1940, Michael O’Dwyer was scheduled to speak at a joint meeting of the East India Association and the Central Asian Society.

He shot O’Dwyer twice as he moved towards the speaking platform, killing him immediately. Singh did not attempt to flee and was arrested on site.

While awaiting his trial, he went on a 42-day hunger strike and had to be forcibly fed. At the commencement of his trial, he explained his motivation behind the murder in the following words:

“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 a greater honour could be bestowed on me than death for the sake of my motherland?

Singh was convicted and sentenced to death. On 31 July 1940, Singh was hanged at Pentonville Prison and buried within the prison grounds.


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