Wednesday November 22, 2017

Real Avenger: Udham Singh, freedom fighter who assassinated O’Dwyer, gets eulogised by Ska Vengers

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By Aishwarya Nag Chaudhary

Udham Singh, one of India’s lesser known freedom fighters, just got an unconventional tribute. It did not come in the form of a gigantic statue or a ‘yojna’ (scheme) named after him. Nor was it the regular rift between the left and the right, the two sides trying to appropriate his bravery. Udham Singh, aka Frank Brazil, is the subject of a new music video. The Ska Vengers, a popular indie outfit, has released a video called ‘Frank Brazil’ as a tribute to the freedom fighter on the 75th anniversary of his execution.

Udham Singh, the Indian freedom fighter, was considered to be a terrorist in Britain. He was executed in Britain for the assassination of O’Dwyer. The Ska Vengers used the title ‘Frank Brazil’ from an alias during an overseas undercover trip.

This was a welcome change from the usual discourse on freedom struggle today. Discussions on the freedom struggle are relegated to Independence Day and Republic day. Today when someone even talks about India’s past it begins with the Vedas and ranges to rigid social constructs. This video is unusual yet progressive, considering the trivial subjects used in most contemporary music videos.

Udham

The four minute video tells the story of Udham Singh. Orphaned at an early age, Singh was serving water to the protesters at Jalianwala Bagh when the massacre took place. O’Dwyer was the Lieutenant Governor of Punjab at the time. Many believe that it was O’Dwyer who premeditated the massacre at Jalianwala Bagh. Singh traveled overseas to Britain and shot him at a town hall meeting in London. However, Singh did not attempt to flee the scene. He was arrested, tried and finally executed four months later.

The video was featured on VH1 on July 31st, marking the 75th anniversary of his assassination.

The song was born out of the band’s shared fascination for the freedom fighter. Taru Dalmia, the vocalist of Ska Vengers, said that the group was also inspired by blues singer Bessie Smith’s popular death song “Send me to the ‘letric chair.”

The new song features a feisty pro-independence protagonist who says his punishment does not scare him. He does not care if he spends 99 years in prison or is sent to the electric chair.

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Pingali Venkayya: Remembering the man responsible for our National Flag

A tribute to Pingali Venkayya on his birth anniversary, a humble man belonging a small village in Andhra Pradesh.

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Pingali Venkayya and National Flag
Pingali Venkayya designed the Indian National Flag. Twitter
  • Venkayya first conceived the idea of a national flag on 31st  March 1921 at an Indian National Congress conference
  • A postage stamp was issued to commemorate him in 2009
  • In January 2015, a statute was dedicated to him by M. Venkaiah Naidu, was put forth in the fore lawns of the All India Radio (AIR) building in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh

August 2, 2017: Pingali Venkayya was an Indian freedom fighter and the man who designed the flag on which Indian national flag is based. He was born on 2 August 1876 in Bhatlapenumarru village near Machilipatnam in Andhra Pradesh. He was a language enthusiast, knew multiple languages like Japanese and Urdu, had a doctorate in Geology, fond of history and also established an institute in Machilipatnam, Andhra Pradesh.  His village Bhatlapenumarru did not even have a statue of him till 1998.

Venkayya joined the British Indian Army at the tender age of 19 and also took part in the Anglo-Boer war in Africa. It was during this war that Venkayya met Mahatma Gandhi and formed a bond that lasted for more than 50 years.

Venkayya first conceived the idea of a national flag on 31st  March 1921 at an Indian National Congress conference. His version of the flag comprised of two colors- saffron and green to which Mahatma Gandhi added the white stripe. Lala Hansraj, Arya Samaj movement founder added the Dharm Chakra ( wheel of law) to it. Thus the present tricolor flag we see today was adopted on on July 22, 1947.

Pingali Venkayya: The unsung hero who designed India’s National Flag

Venkayya died with poverty on 4 July 1963 in Vijayawada. A postage stamp was issued to commemorate him in 2009. His name was proposed for Bharat Ratna in 2011 but In 2014 the award was instead given to cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and scientist C.N.R. Rao. Venkayya’s contributions were sidelined by the Indian government.  In January 2015, a statute was dedicated to him by M. Venkaiah Naidu, was put forth in the fore lawns of the All India Radio (AIR) building in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh.

On his 141st Birth Anniversary, Twitterati remembered him:

– by Kritika Dua of NewsGram. Twitter @DKritika08.

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Shaheed Udham Singh: A Patriot Who Avenged Jallianwala Bagh Massacre

Here are 10 unknown facts about the Indian Revolutionary - 'Udham Singh'

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Shaheed Udham Singh Poster. Twitter

July 31, 2017: Udham Singh was born on 26 December 1899, at Sunam, Punjab. He was an Indian Revolutionary, best known for avenging the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. He did so by assassinating Michael Francis O’Dwyer, the former governor of Punjab who had supported the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. The Punjab Governor was responsible for it as he handed the command to Brigadier General Reginald Edward Harry Dyer to kill unarmed men, women, and children at Jallianwala Bagh.

On the 31st July 1940, freedom fighter Udham Singh was hanged at Pentonville jail, London. His last words were,” I don’t care, 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’.  Such was the spirit of the brave hearted soul.

Here are 10 unknown facts about Udham Singh:

  1. Udham Singh was born with the name Sher Singh. He was brought up in Central Khalsa Orphanage, Amritsar and after Sikh initiatory rites received the name, Udham Singh.

2. He was an eye-witness of Jallianwala Bagh Massacre as he was serving water to crowd gathered along with his friends. This incidence turned him to the path of revolution which later resulted in avenging the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.

3. In 1935, when he was on a visit to Kashmir, he was found carrying Bhagat Singh’s portrait. He invariably referred to him as his guru.

4. He loved to sing political songs and was very fond of Ram Prasad Bismal, who was the leading poet of the revolutionaries.

Udham Singh
A picture depicting Udham Singh as he is being led away from Caxton Hall after the assassination of Michael O’ Dwyer. Wikimedia Commons

5. On 13 March 1940 at 4.30 p.m. in the Caxton Hall, London, where a meeting of the East India Association was being held in conjunction with the Royal Central Asian Society, Udham Singh fired five to six shots from his pistol at Sir Michael O’Dwyer. Later, he was jailed for doing so. He also went on a 42-day hunger strike in jail and was forcibly fed.

 

 

6. Udham Singh’s actions were condemned by Gandhi and Nehru but most of the commoners and other aggressive leaders said that it is an important action for Indian independence struggle. Later on, Nehru applauded his actions in 1962 and used the word ‘Shaheed-e-Azam’ for him.

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7. In 1995, the Mayawati government in U.P named a district in present-day Uttarakhand after him, called Udham Singh Nagar

8. The Times of London called him ‘Fighter for Freedom’ and Bergeret in Rome also praised his actions as courageous. Singh’s weapon, a knife, a diary and a bullet from shooting are kept in Black Museum, Scotland Yard.

9. In 1974, his remains were exhumed and repatriated to India at the request of MLA Sadhu Singh. The casket was received by Indira Gandhi, Zail Singh, and Shankar Dayal Sharma. Later he was cremated at Sunam, Punjab (his birthplace) and his ashes were scattered in Sutlej River, the same river in which the ashes of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev were scattered.

10. Udham Singh addressed himself as Ram Muhammad Singh Azad. This name was adopted to emphasize the unity of all the religious communities in India in their struggle for political freedom.

by Kritika Dua of NewsGram. Twitter @DKritika08


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Pistol of Legendary Freedom Fighter Bhagat Singh to be Displayed in Khatkar Kalan Museum, Punjab

Martyr's family demands that the pistol should be brought back and placed in the Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh Museum in Khatkar Kalan

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Representational image. Pixabay

Chandigarh, November 28, 2016: At the BSF’s Central School of Weapons and Tactics museum in Indore Bhagat Singh’s “pistol” was found. The legendary freedom fighter’s nephew Abhay Singh Sandhu demanded on Sunday that it should be displayed in the museum named after him at Khatkar Kalan in Punjab.

According to PTI, 58-year-old Sandhu said, “Till 1969, the pistol was lying at the Punjab Police Academy in Phillaur, Punjab. It was only recently due to the efforts of several people at various level that it was traced in the museum in Indore.”

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He further added, “A senior official of the CSWT, Indore, recently rang me up informing that the serial number and the make of the pistol were the same which had been accessed from the records and files pertaining to the martyr.”

He said that the martyr’s family demands that the pistol should be brought back and placed in the Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh Museum in Khatkar Kalan.

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He further added, “We demand that the Punjab government make efforts to bring back the pistol belonging to Shaheed Bhagat Singh. As the extension of this museum is also coming up, we demand other personal articles belonging to the Shaheed, which are lying at various other places outside the state, may also be brought and placed in this museum in Khatkar Kalan.”

He also said that Bhagat Singh’s shoes and his watch, which are in possession of a private individual in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, should be brought back as well and it should be displayed in the museum in Khatkar Kalan.

– prepared by NewsGram team with PTI inputs