Udham Singh was born as Sher Singh on December 26, 1899, to a Kamboj family in the village Sunam in the then princely state of Patiala. Sher Singh and his elder brother, Mukta Singh, lost their parents early. At the orphanage, they were initiated into Sikhism and consequently received new names; Sher Singh became Udham Singh, while his brother took on the name of Sadhu Singh. Tragically, Sadhu Singh died just a decade later, in 1917, leaving the 17-year-old Udham alone.
In 1918, Udham Singh passed his matriculation examination and left the orphanage for good the following year. At that time, there was intense political turmoil in Punjab, and young Udham was no stranger to the many upheavals around him.
Sunday, April 13 1919, was the day of Baisakhi, a major Punjabi festival to celebrate the arrival of the New Year, and thousands of people from neighboring villages had congregated in Amritsar for the usual festivities and fun fairs. After the closure of the cattle fair, many people started gathering together at Jallianwala Bagh, a public garden of 6-7 acres that was walled on all sides. Fearing that a significant insurrection could occur at any time, Colonel Reginald Dyer had earlier banned all meetings. However, it was doubtful that the general public knew of the ban. Upon hearing of the gathering at Jallianwala Bagh, Colonel Dyer marched with his troops, sealed off the exits, and ordered his men to fire indiscriminately at the men, women, and children. In the ten minutes of insanity before the ammunition got exhausted, there was complete mayhem and carnage. According to official British Indian sources, 379 people died, and 1,100 were wounded. However, the Indian National Congress estimated the deaths to be over 1000, with 1,500 wounded.
Being an emotional person, Udham Singh was deeply affected by the Jallianwala Bagh tragedy. He never recovered from the shock of the carnage in Amritsar on April 13 1919. Swayed by the disaster, Udham Singh took a solemn pledge to punish sometime the perpetrators of the crime. To fulfil this aim, he left for Africa. From there, he went to the United States of America and turned a revolutionary there. Udham Singh returned to India with 25 companions and some arms as a clean-shaven Sikh, and he was arrested in Lahore under the Arms Act. Tried and sentenced to four years of rigorous imprisonment, he was released on October 23 1931. Udham Singh went to Srinagar, Kashmir, and stayed there for one year. In 1933 he duped the police and escaped to Germany. In the same year, Udham Singh reached England and joined an Engineering course in London. He obtained a six-chamber revolver and ammunition. He was looking for a suitable opportunity, and the long-awaited chance came on March 13, 1940, about 21 years after the Jallianwala Bagh tragedy. On that day, at about 4.30 p.m., Udham Singh shot and killed Sir Michael O’ Dwyer in a meeting of the Royal Central Asian Society and the East India Association in Caxton Hall, London. Udham Singh was arrested and produced before the Court. When the Court asked his name, he replied, Ram Mohammed Singh Azad. As expected, Udham Singh was sentenced to death on June 25, 1940, and executed by hanging on July 31, 1940.