Why did Udam Singh shoot Michel O' Dwyer to death in Caxton hall, London?

Udam Sigh shot dead Gov. O Dwyer (Punjab governor)indianexpress.com

On this year's Republic day( 26 January 2022) it is a great thing to remember patriot Udam Singh who shot dead retired Governor of Punjab Michael O'  Dwyer who issued the official orders to shoot he people in the bagh without prior warning................................... 

In the aftermath of Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar, Punjab  massacre on 13 April 1919 that left behind more than 1000 death (unofficial account) and  scores of people seriously wounded, the macabre incident was not reported in the English media immediately because the media knew well  that the Raj would get a bad name.  Some 1,700 rounds were emptied (Lee Enfield rifles) on the helpless crowd feeling the narrow exist to escape death. Some conscientious  British journalists had leaked the incident to the British media  about this tragedy.  In the bagh  roughly  20,000 unarmed civilians had gathered, cramped together for lack of space. It was more a religious gathering and  their only  unlawful act was  the assembly was in defiance of the colonial martial law,  and promulgation of 144 banning  all public gatherings across Punjab.

In India when anger and  emotions welled up  high among  nationalists and people, the British government played it safe by shipping Reginald Dyer, the man who supervised the massacre, back to Britain.   His rank  Brigadier-General was only  temporary and he  landed in  London with the rank of Colonel with the lower pension. However,  a small section of British ladies along with some national newspaper, awarded him  £ 26,000 for saving the modesty of British womanhood. This cash reward helped him ease his his retirement. 

Already infuriated over the cash award for Dyer what further angered the freedom fighters in India was the way the Lt-Governor of Punjab, Sir Michael O’ Dwyer,  defiantly defended Dyer and oved the higher-ups  to have the higher rank restored.  It was something like  rubbing  the salt on the wounds.  The same governor was responsible for issuing the official  orders to  Brig. Gen Reginald Dyer  to shoot  the crowds gathered in the bagh.   By that time when steps were being taken to increase his retirement benefits, etc.,  Dyer  had already  suffered from strokes and heart disease, and till his death he was haunted by horrors of massacre  he committed on the innocent people of Punjab. His mental agony and suffering  had no match for those innocent people who were bled to death by Dyer. The victims died a painful death for no fault of their own. 

Uham Singh (Born on 26 December 1899 in a Sikh family in Punjab), 40 years of age was very  much affected by  the great man-made   calamity  that engulfed the bagh (as he was an eye witness to the tragedy)  and had been planning to take revenge on the erring military officer and the governor.  Acceding  to Udam Sigh, the main culprit was Sir Michael O' Dwyer and the massacre was committed in collusion with him. Overwhelming with patriotic zeal he became a sort of revolutionary with obsession to  kill  retd. Gov. Michael O Dwyer.  

It took  roughly 21 years for Udam Singh to take revenge on O' Dwyer.   Unstoppable, he travelled to London and there he waited for the right opportunity to strike  him.  On  13 March 1940  in the guise of  a perfect English gentleman,  he entered  the  Caxton hall , London with his weapon  .45 Smith & Wesson revolver  concealed under a book. At the right time, he whipped out the gun  and fired six rounds into a group of people. Two shots hit a 75-year-old man in the back, one bullet passing his right lung and heart, the other piercing both kidneys. O' Dwyer was killed instantly.

This act of mass murder is etched in the history of India's freedom from the British.   There is ''wise saying'' in India in the case of violence or  murder, the one who deserves severe punishment is the instigator and not the one who commits the crime. In the case of Jallianwala Bagh, the governor of Punjab Michael O' Dwyer was the first one to be blamed. Equally distressing is this ICS  administrator had  neither  compassion for  innocent people including women and children  nor had the ability to foresee consequences in the aftermath of such a horrific  crime. 

Mahatma Gandhi reaction to the death of Michel O' Dwyer was in a different vein:  on hearing of the incident told reporters, “The news of the death of Michael O’Dwyer and the injuries to Lord Zetland, Lord Lamington and Sir Louis Dane, has caused me deep pain. I regard this act as one of insanity.” He went on to express the hope that it would not affect Indian politics and expressed his condolences with O’Dwyer’s family.

This patriotic man is one among the forgotten  in the pantheon of freedom fighters.