Book Review – The Patient Assassin by Anita Anand

 

The Patient Assassin: A True Tale of Massacre, Revenge and the RajThe Patient Assassin: A True Tale of Massacre, Revenge and the RajAnita Anand
5 of 5 stars

This is the fascinating story of Sardar Udham Singh who patiently but meticulously planned the assassination of the culprits of Jallianwala Massacre at Amritsar. The massacre in 1919 is arguably the most cowardly and dastardly act by British imperialiam anywhere in their brutal empire and led to the cold blooded execution of around 2000 unarmed and peaceful demostrators in a park in Amritsar including numerous women and children. It took Udham Singh more than two decades to bring his plan to execution but ultimately he did it in style by shooting dead Sir Michael O’Dwyer at London thus ending the life of a bigot who had ordered Martial Law in Punjab which ultimately resulted in the infamous massacre. Udham Singh took over the fictional identity of Mohammed Singh Azad in executing the revenge plan, a name which has a syllable each of the Muslim, Sikh and Hindu communities trying to unite Indian people who were being deliberately misled by the divide and rule policies of British occupation forces.

The author has done commendable research to bring to light hidden aspects of Udham Singh’s life, how he abandoned the love of his life, his own children and never let anything come in between him and his revenge. The story of Udham Singh’s meeting with Bhagat Singh, another Indian nationalist hero in Punjab jail where both were incarcerated at the same time needs perhaps further research but meeting with young Braveheart was quite impactful on Udham Singh and made his resolve ever firmer to exact revenge for Amritsar massacre.

The narrative of Indian independence struggle was hijacked by Nehru and Gandhi duo post 1947 and an utter falsehood of non violent nature of the struggle was imprinted on the minds of Indian population. This meant that the contribution of heroes like Udham Singh was sidelined or in most cases suppressed. Indian independence struggle was multi faceted and the part played by Ghadar party has been underplayed, it’s enlightening to read this story and understand the role of the number of Ghadar party leaders like Lala Hardayal who kept the armed struggle against the British occupation running as far as he Californian shores, Mexico border, Communist Russia, UK and other numerous locations.

The book also brings to the light, depravity of Nehru and Gandhi who publicly denounced the courageous act of Sardar Udham Singh at behest of their English lords, never in the annals of history, would anyone find a treachery as horrendous as that. What was worse was that Nehru actually ensured that his crony Krishan Menon was part of the defence of Udham Singh at London court-house and the guy did not let Nehru down. It is on record that Krishan Menon did not utter even a single word at the farce trial in defence of Udham Singh and he went one step further by ensuring that the final words of Udham Singh in that courtroom never see the light of the day. The author dug out those final words of Udham Singh’s and I wish that outcry of Inquilab Zindabad in defence of his motherland reaches to the ears of every Indian who should absolutely read this book. It took a Modi government to get the hero his due and after a lapse of seven decades, a statue of the Udham Singh was finally installed at Jallianwala park in 2018. A nation which cannot give its own heroes their due is bound to fail, it’s high time we Indians take cognisance of our own heroes and throw the pretenders like Nehru to the dustbin of history.

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