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Martyr’s legacy: British author says Udham worked in films
Balwant Garg
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, December 6
This fact may not be known to many, but martyr Udham Singh worked in English films. Three years before Udham Singh fired six shots at Caxton Hall in Westminster, London, killing Michael O’Dwyer, he worked in two English movies — Elephant Boy (1937) and The Four Feathers (1939) — to lend financial support to the Ghadar Party.

These films were directed and produced by Alexander Korda, a famous Hollywood film producer, and his younger brother Zolton Korda.

It was Roger Perkins, a famous British writer, who disclosed this fact first time in his book, The Amritsar Legacy, written in 1989. As Ghadar Party representatives in London did not possess sufficient funds to sustain themselves, Udham Singh worked as non-European supporting actor as an “extra” in the two films, wrote Roger Perkins.

Available on social networking website YouTube, Elephant Boy is a British adventure film based on the story ‘Toomai of the Elephants’ from Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book. The film was shot at London Films Studios at Denham and in Mysore. The film was released in 14 countries, including England, on April 9, 1937. However, it was never released in India. The film won the Best Director Award at the Venice Film Festival.

Rakesh Kumar, a senior engineer in Indian Railways, provides a unique view about Udham Singh in his book ‘Azadi Di Shama Da Parwana, Mahan Ghadri Inqulabi Shaheed Udham Singh’.

Based on British official documents, Kumar has claimed that firing by Udham Singh in Caxton Hall on March 13, 1940, was not an emotional trigger for him after the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, as it is generally believed. But it was his long-protracted fight against the British imperialism that he opened the firing. It was for this reason that he targeted not only Michael O’Dwyer, who was Lieutenant Governor of Punjab at the time of the massacre, but attacked three other English officers who had a close shave.

The British official documents revealed that 13 years before firing by Udham Singh in Caxton Hall, he was arrested by the Amritsar police on August 30, 1927, as it was suspected that he was in possession of unlicensed revolvers and a pistol. Copies of ‘Ghadr-di-Gunj’ were recovered from him and he was prosecuted under Section 20 of the Arms Act and sentenced to five years, mentioned Kumar’s book.

“In the Ghadar Directory compiled by The Director, Intelligence Bureau, Home Department, Government of India, in 1934, comprising names of persons who had taken part in Ghadar Movement, Udham Singh’s name was on page 267 (S-44) of the directory with aliases Sher Singh, Ude Singh and Frank Brazil…”, states Kumar on basis of British documents.

Cover of elephant boyWhat the book says

* Martyr Udham Singh worked as supporting actor in Elephant Boy (1937) and The Four Feathers (1939) to lend financial support to the Ghadar Party. British writer Roger Perkins disclosed this fact in his book The Amritsar Legacy written in 1989

* Except for India, Elephant Boy was released in 14 countries, including England, on April 9, 1937. 

Cover of elephant boy





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