Letters of Udham Singh

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Item Code: UAZ846
Author: J.S. Grewal and H.K. Puri
Publisher: Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar
Language: English
Edition: 2010
ISBN: 9788177701579
Pages: 100
Other Details 9.00 X 6.00 inch
Weight 230 gm

Book Description

The publication of this small book on July 31, 1974, exactly 34 years after the death of Udham Singh is a token of our homage to the memory of the man who was prepared to lay down his life for his country and its people, irrespective of their caste or creed.

Udham Singh's cool courage and firm determination are a legend, but of his life as a whole very little is known. Some of his letters were received by the Guru Nanak University through the courtesy of Mr. M.S. Gill of the Indian Administrative Service as a token of his concern for this new institution. I appreciate his gesture of good will. Professor J. S. Grewal, Head of the Department of History, has prepared these letters for publication with the help of Mr. H. K. Puri of the Department of Political Science. I am thankful to both of them for having done this work for the University, and done it so well.

I have no doubt that the general reader will find it useful for understanding something of the legendary Udham Singh.

I don't care, said Udham Singh having shot Michael O'Dwyer dead on March 13, 1940, I don't mind dying. What is the use of waiting till you get old? This is no good. You want to die when you are young. That is good, that is what I am doing'. After a pause he added, 'I am dying for my country. Within three and a half months he was sentenced to death and executed on July 31 in London.

In Udham Singh's utterances in the face of trial and death, there are echoes of Kartar Singh Sarabha who had died for the country twenty four years earlier. However, Udham Singh was consciously emulating another young martyr: Bhagat Singh. In one of his letters he refers to Bhagat Singh as his 'best friend' who had left him behind by ten years, adding 'he is waiting for me'. The portrait of Udham Singh, more even than the legend that has grown around his person, clearly reflects the cool courage and firm determination which are associated with him.

Udham Singh has not been ignored by the writers of independent India, not in the recent past at any rate. His name is included in Giani gurmukh Singh Musafir's book on the martyrs of the twentieth century, in the Eminent Freedom Fighters of the Punjab by Professor Fauja Singh, and in the Sardar by S. Kulbir Singh. The story of 'the heroism of Shaheed Udham Singh' has been publicized; he has been portrayed as 'the patriot whot avenged the Jallianwala Bagh massacre'; and he has become the subject of a historical novel : Shaheed Udham Singh by Kesar Singh.

Whatever the character of the uprising of 1857, by the beginning of the present century, for a considerable number of politically articulate people in India, it became a symbol of 'revolt' against foreign rule. The events of 1857 created bitterness, distrust and fear among the British rulers of India; they became all the more alien for their aloofness and efficiency. The Indian Councils Acts of 1861 and 1892 provided for an extremely limited participation, that two of the aristocracy, of the Indian people in the government fo the country. While the British Indian Government conceived of only small doses of representation to the ruled, the educated upper middle classes of the country increased in numbers and became discontented with the existing order of things. They asked for a greater share in the government.

Some new organizations came into existence before the end of the 19th century which were pan-Indian in their theoretical scope, like the Acts of the British Indian Government. In 1876, for instance, the Indian Association was formed, and in 1885 was founded the much better known Indian National Congress destined to play a vital political role in the present century. Its programme in the beginning, however, was little more than 'political mendicancy: it asked for minor concessions without agitation. Nevertheless, in retrospect, the struggle for independence, ultimately, may be said to have begun with the founding of the Indian National Congress.

In the early years of the twentieth century some important members of the Indian National Congress gradually gave up the attitude of 'mendicancy' and advocated agitational approach.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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