Shaheed Udham Singh Jayanti 2024

26 December 2024
Haryana    Regional holiday

Shaheed Udham Singh Jayanti is a regional Indian public holiday observed in the states of Haryana and Punjab on July 31st. This day commemorates the execution of a famous revolutionary on this day in 1940.

The story of Shaheed Udham Singh is a tale of revenge that spans over twenty years.

On April 13th 1919, Indian troops under the command of Brig-Gen Reginald “Rex” Dyer fired on peaceful demonstrators in a walled garden (the Jallianwala Bagh) in the city of Amritsar in Punjab. At least 379 were killed and more than a 1,000 injured. It is said that Shaheed Udham Singh witnessed the massacre first hand and vowed from that day forward he would track down the men responsible for the foul deed. Liberal Britain and Indian nationalists denounced the massacre; Winston Churchill called it a “monstrous event” and Dyer had to retire in disgrace.

Sir Michael ODwyer was Lieutenant Governor of Punjab at the time of the massacre. Although ODwyer did not order the massacre, he sent a message afterwards approving of what Dyer had done which made many people, including Singh, consider ODwyer as responsible for the killings. ODwyer didnt deflect any blame, by bullishly continuing to defend the use of lethal force at Jallianwala Bagh. ODwyer retired from the Indian Civil Service in 1925. On March 13th 1940, ODwyer made a rare public appearance at a public meeting in London to discuss the future of Afghanistan. Singh was executed on July 31st 1940. Singh is seen as a hero in India. As well as this public holiday in Punjab state on the date of his martyrdom, the state of Haryana also sometimes observes his birthday as a public holiday. A 10-foot statue of the freedom fighter was unveiled in Jallianwala Bagh by Union home minister Rajnath Singh in March 2018.