On his 75th death anniversary, Indian pop group Ska Vengers has paid tribute to legendary freedom fighter Udham Singh. The band, that has established a reputation for its socio-politically themed songs, has released the first single from its fifth album in honour of Singh, showcasing his life after the Jallianwala Bagh tragedy of 1919.
The animated video uses graphic novel images to portray Singh’s story: he travelled to London and assassinated Michael O’Dwyer (then Lieutenant Governor of Punjab) for sanctioning the Amritsar killings, and was executed for his deeds at Pentonville Prison in 1940. During his court trial, Singh defended his actions saying: “For full 21 years, I have been trying to wreak vengeance. I am happy that I have done the job. I am not scared of death. I am dying for my country.”
These words appear at the start of the video that has been made by Kunal Sen and Tisha Deb Pai and continues for nearly four minutes: “It’s essentially a murder ballad as found in many folk traditions across cultures. It is inspired by a lot of blues and folk musicians who spoke about grim and macabre subjects in their songs,” said band member Stefan ‘Flexi’ Kaye in an interview with Indian Express. Ska Venger’s vocalist Taru Dalmia also added that the group was inspired by American blues singer Bessie Smith’s death song called ‘Send Me To The ‘Electric Chair.’
The title of the album ‘Frank Brazil’ has been inspired by an alias used by Singh during an overseas undercover trip.
Here is a look at the animated video: