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The following is a collection of News Articles, going
back to 2004, concerning Noor-un-nisa Inayat Khan, GC,CdG,MBE

Viewing Page 1 of 7 (Total Entries: 70)

August 25th 2014
12:36:42 PM
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A spy and a saint

Did Noor Inayat Khan, super secret agent during World War 2, ever visit Delhi? Perhaps we’ll never find out, but the story of her father, Inayat Khan, and his legacy in Delhi, is intriguing in its own way

In this time of World War anniversaries few are aware that Noor Inayat Khan, super secret agent, had a close link with a Delhi shrine. And thereby hangs a tale that goes back to Tipu Sultan, who died fighting the British at Seringapatnam during the Fourth Mysore War in 1799. Long after that, one of his descendants founded a Sufi order in Delhi. Hazrat Inayat Khan, great-grandson of Tipu, was a man of many tastes who went abroad in 1920 to give music concerts, having become a musician of note early in life. According to Sadia Dehlvi, Inayat Khan died in 1927 and was buried in Delhi, though he had settled down with his wife in Suresness, a Parisian suburb. His son, Pir Vilayat Khan succeeded him, whose successor was Pir Zia Khan, head of the Sufi Order International.

Inayat Khan’s daughter, Noor Inayat Khan (just as famous as Mata Hari) was a British Special Operations Agent (Madeline) during World War II. She became the first female radio operator to be sent by the Allies into occupied France to aid the French Resistance (under Gen Charles de Gaulle). Captured by the Germans, Noor was executed in Sept 1944 when she was 30 and was posthumously given the highest civilian award (George Cross) by the British Govt. in 1949. Recently a special postage stamp was issued and a statue installed in her memory in Britain.

Dr. A. Ali, who long ago organised lectures in Delhi by Pir Vilayat Khan on behalf of Hamdard, remembers him as a handsome man with European features, who had a mastery over written and spoken English and hardly looked like an Indian Sufi divine. Incidentally, his half-brother was an American Yogi. The message he preached (like his father) was that one doesn’t have to embrace Islam to become a Sufi. Hazrat Inayat Khan had defined Sufism as a religious philosophy of love, harmony and beauty for all. His dargah is not far from the one of Hazrat Nizamuddin. Situated in an “elegant modern structure”, it is quite unlike the usual conception of a dargah. Some call it the “white man’s dargah” as most of the visitors are foreigners, who stay in the rooms attached to it and attend cultural events hosted by Dr. Fareeda of the West Indies.

There are many in Delhi and elsewhere who do not subscribe to Inayat Khan’s philosophy but still visit the dargah on Fridays when qawwalis are held. This is a departure from tradition as qawwalis are generally held on Thursdays at sufi dargahs.

Hazrat Inayat Khan preceded Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and Osho Rajneesh in popularising Eastern philosophy abroad (to which Pandit Ravi Shankar also made his contribution) and the Beatles and Mia Farrow were among the devotees who came to India. Somehow Inayat Khan did not attract much attention in Delhi, known as the “Threshold of the 22 Khwajas” or saints.

Be that as it may, it cannot be denied that the Sufi Pir’s daughter played a role in countering the Nazi dream of world domination, after trying her hand as a writer of children’s stories and a stint in Paris as an artist. Did Noor Inayat Khan visit Delhi? No one is sure as there is no record of it, but Khushwant Singh, while once commenting on her, thought it was quite likely she did.

For this he cited a member of the Nizami family of Pirs who escorted a pretty westernised young woman to the shrine of Inayat Khan on a cold, bleak, afternoon. Asked for her name she said it reflected the Noor of the saint and disappeared with a wave of her hand. If she was really Noor Inayat, then the incident could have taken place before the war broke though it is more likely that she came as a teenager during her father’s funeral. Those were the days when people came in ships via the Suez Canal, landed in Calcutta or Bombay and then made their way to Delhi by train.

But imagine Noor Inayat arriving at Old Delhi station all by herself later, which in itself was a courageous act.

It was of the likes of her that Jawaharlal Nehru said that such heroines gave the lie to the belief that Eastern women were not meant to lead but to be led. One thinks of this when one visits Inayat Khan’s dargah on a wet Friday evening.

Excerpted From:

NOTE: Regarding the question as to whether Noor had visited Delhi.

Here is a quote from: \"Noor-un-nisa Inayat Khan, GC, MBE, CdG\" by
Jean Overton Fuller.

Page 48

Noor:\"We have all been to pay homage at my father\'s tomb.\"


June 19th 2014
08:44:52 PM
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Birth centenary of Noor Inayat Khan, Indian-origin WWII spy observed in England

London, 19 June 2014: The centenary year of Noor Inayat Khan, the famous Indian-origin World War II spy, was observed in the UK this week. Popular English novelist and political commentator Frederick Forsyth was among the key guests at a special memorial event in London to celebrate the life of Noor, the great-great-great-grand-daughter of Tipu Sultan, who became the first female radio operator to be sent from Britain into occupied France. \"What is so remarkable about Noor Inayat Khan is that she owed us nothing; she didn’t have to go,\" said Forsyth, the well-known thriller writer behind books such as ’The Day of the Jackal’ and ’The Odessa File’ who compared her to the 18th century ruler, Tipu Sultan, known as the ’Tiger of Mysore’.

Family of Noor Inayat Khan

\"When it came to being recruited for the SOE (Special Operations Executive), she could have said ’thank you but no’...but she volunteered. There must be something of the old tiger in her genes. It is recorded that she fought like a tigress...Noor absolutely did not die for nothing. She is an amazement, a remarkable and extraordinarily brave woman who did what she did for a country to which she owed nothing,\" Forsyth said.

The memorial event was organised by the Noor Inayat Khan Memorial Trust set up by Shrabani Basu – author of the World War II heroine’s biography ’Spy Princess’. It coincided with the dates of June 16-17, 1943, when Noor – under her codename Madeleine – was flown to the landing ground in Northern France. \"She combined the rational side of her personality with her hatred of injustice and became one of our greatest heroines. My hope is that she would have gone back to that inner life that sustained her,\" said Christine Crawley, a Labour party politician who has campaigned for the contribution of women agents in the war to be commemorated.

Noor Inayat Khan

The SOE was an underground force established in Britain in 1940 by war-time Prime Minister Winston Churchill to \"set Europe ablaze\". It recruited men and women to launch a guerilla war against Hitler’s forces.

Noor, born on January 1, 1914 to an Indian Muslim father and an American mother, grew up in Britain and France. Despite her pacifist views, she decided to join the war effort to defeat the Nazis and was eventually captured. In spite of being repeatedly tortured and interrogated, she revealed nothing and was executed by an SS officer on September 13, 1944, at Dachau concentration camp at the age of 30. She was later awarded the George Cross, the highest civilian decoration in the UK, in recognition of her bravery.

A bust in Noor’s memory now stands at Gordon Square in central London, a stone’s throw from the home she briefly lived in.



May 6th 2014
08:47:31 AM
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First female president of Islamic Society of Britain, Sughra Ahmed, to give lecture at Stortford college


THE first woman to be appointed president of the Islamic Society of Britain, Sughra Ahmed, will give the next Ferguson Lecture at Bishop’s Stortford College.

She will give an insight into Islam, Christianity and British Muslims.

The Ferguson Lectures are a programme to provide opportunities for people to meet, discuss and ponder on a wide range of contemporary topics, named after an eminent former pupil Professor John Ferguson to commemorate his outstanding contribution to education.

Sughra, pictured, is programmes manager at the Woolf Institute in the Centre for Policy and Public Education at Cambridge, where she has responsibility for the design and delivery of research and training on issues such as faith, belief, integration and cohesion.

Previously, she worked as research fellow in the Policy Research Centre where she explored the migratory and settlement experiences of first generation Muslim women and men in the UK, and worked with a number of organisations to consider the issues young people face whilst growing up in the UK and the impact of this on wider British communities. She has published a number of papers and key reports – Seen and Not Heard: Voices of Young British Muslims (2009) and British by Dissent (2014).

Sughra is a trustee of the Inter Faith Network UK, the president of Islamic Society of Britain and an advisor to FaithxChange. She has a BA (Hons) in English language and literature and an MA in Islamic studies. She is also a qualified chaplain and holds a diploma in Islamic jurisprudence.

Active in interfaith work both locally and nationally working with organisations to help build stronger and more effective relationships across faith and beliefs, Sughra regularly contributes to debates in the media and is a contributor to Radio 2’s Pause for Thought. She was recently awarded the Noor Inayat Khan Memorial Award, for Muslim Woman of the Year at the British Muslim Awards.

The lecture takes place on Wednesday, May 14, at at 4pm in the Ferguson Lecture Theatre. Entry is free, but places need to be booked in advance. See or call 01279 838575.



April 23rd 2014
09:39:55 AM
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SVSU to host film \'Enemy of the Reich\' in honor of Dr. Raana Akbar

KOCHVILLE TOWNSHIP, MI – While everything around her erupted in fear and anger following the terrorist attacks in 2001, Dr. Raana Akbar reached out in peace.

The Saginaw Township allergist, who died in 2009, visited churches, schools and civic groups so that people would better understand the Muslim faith she embraced, one that condemned the violent acts of rogue extremists.

And as the fifth anniversary of her death approaches in December, Saginaw Township orthopedic surgeon Dr. Waheed Akbar continues his wife’s quest Thursday, April 24, with the Saginaw premiere of the docudrama \'Enemy of the Reich: The Noor Inayat Khan Story\' at the Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts at Saginaw Valley State University, 7400 Bay.

Khan, a young Muslim who with her family fled Paris during the Nazi invasion, later volunteered to help the French Resistance as a radio operator at great personal sacrifice. Her heroism is recognized to this day; she received Great Britain and France’s highest honors for civilian service following the war, and two weeks ago, Great Britain issued a postage stamp honoring her contributions during World War II.

The free program, which starts at 6 p.m., also features a question-and-answer period with producer Michael Wolfe, an American Muslim convert who opened the Raana Akbar Memorial Lecture Series in 2011.

\'We knew Michael for 20 years and would give his book, ‘The Hadj: An American’s Pilgrimage to Mecca’ to friends making their first pilgrimage,\' Akbar said. \'He is very well published, and when he realized how little most people know about Islam, he moved into television and movies.\'

That includes working as a consultant in Hollywood as television and movie producers attempt to accurately reflect the typical Muslim.

\'He decided to do something about the lack of understanding, and that’s what we’re doing events like this,\' Akbar said. \'In the past few weeks, we’ve had two tragic events, but can you tell me the religion of the gunman at Fort Hood?

\'National statistics show the negative view of Muslims is rising, but here, we have churches calling us to schedule visits and school groups visiting our Islamic center. We never give up; through microcosms of our history, such as this film, we show that true Muslims respect those around them.\'

As \'The Cosby Show\' and \'Murphy Brown\' in past decades changed Americans’ view of African-Americans and powerful women, said Wolfe, the work he and others such as his co-producer Alex Kronemer continue through the Unity Productions Foundation could do the same.

\'We’re working with a lot of TV programs, dozens of them on an ongoing basis,\' he said as he waited in an airport for his flight to Los Angeles. While he isn’t allowed to name specific shows, \'it’s a function of Hollywood, through great storytelling making certain factions more familiar.\'

The sense of fear that followed the 2001 attacks, not only among Americans but innocents in Iraq and Afghanistan fearing reprisal, is dispelled as we realize the common ground we share, Wolfe said.

\'As Muslims, we’re the new kids on the block, but we have rites of passage, we have jobs and mortgages, and we’re working hard to make this world a better place,\' he said. \'’The Hadj’ was directed toward people who don’t know anything about Muslim. And we hope \'Enemy of the Reich,\' through PBS and showings in schools, churches, synagogues and mosques, will engage Americans again in our shared history.\'

First and foremost, Wolfe said, it’s an inspiring story, and that’s the response he gets from audiences, as well.

\'This has been a real education for me,\' he said, describing how, on opposite coasts, he and Kronemer started hearing stories of Muslim bravery during World War II from Holocaust survivors.

\'Those stories were difficult to substantiate, but in the process of checking them out, we heard about Noor Inayat Khan,\' he said.

Born to an American mother and Indian father in Moscow, she was raised in France, and with her mother and brother, fled to Great Britain during the Nazi invasion.

\'She was a writer, her father was well-known, and she joined the resistance effort, which was well documented in Great Britain. Curiosity led us to find out who she was and what happened. I don’t want to say it was a detective story, but it was investigative journalism.\'

Set against a very real and dangerous backdrop, it’s a powerful story of high ideals and personal sacrifice for the greater good.

Excerpted From:

Read Also This Article, entitled: How Muslims Won the Second World War

March 25th 2014
12:02:29 PM
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Britain’s Royal Mail issues stamp on Noor Inayat Khan

The woman of Indian origin worked for a secret organisation started by Winston Churchill

Britain’s Royal Mail has issued a postage stamp of Noor Inayat Khan, World War II heroine, who fought fascism and died in the Dachau concentration camp.

The stamp — part of a set of 10 stamps in the ‘Remarkable Lives’ series — honours Noor on her centenary year. Other honoured in the set include actor Sir Alec Guinness and poet Dylan Thomas.

“I am happy that Royal Mail has commemorated Noor with a stamp,” said Shrabani Basu, author of Spy Princess, The Life of Noor Inayat Khan, and the Chair of the Noor Inayat Khan Memorial Trust. “It will ensure that her sacrifice and bravery will not be forgotten.”

Ms Basu campaigned for a memorial for Noor which was unveiled in November 2012 by Princess Anne.

Noor Inayat Khan was born in Moscow in January 1914 to an Indian father, Hazrat Inayat Khan and an American mother, Ora Ray Baker. The couple had met in the Ramkrishna Mission ashram in America. Hazrat Inayat Khan was a Sufi preacher and musician, and travelled the world taking Sufism to the West.

Noor was brought up in Paris and the family moved to London when Paris was occupied by the Germans in 1940 during WW II. Noor joined the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force and was later recruited for the Special Operations Executive, a secret organisation started by Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

She was the first woman radio operator to be flown undercover to Paris. She worked from there for three months under the code name Madeleine. However she was betrayed, arrested and finally executed in the Dachau concentration camp in Germany.

Though she was tortured and interrogated, she revealed nothing, not even her real name. Her last word as they shot her was “Liberte”! She was only 30.

Noor was awarded the highest honour, the George Cross, by Britain. France awarded her the Croix de Guerre.

In 2006, President Pranab Mukherjee, then the Defence Minister, paid an official visit to Noor’s family house outside Paris and described her bravery and sacrifice as “inspirational”.


Read also this article: \'India should issue stamp of WW II heroine Noor Inayat Khan\' . Click HERE

Read also this article: \'Docudrama builds a case for compassion - Enemy of the Reich\' . Click HERE


February 12th 2014
04:09:30 PM
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Kareena Kapoor perfect to play spy princess!

Shyam Benegal doesn’t want to put his dream project, based on the famous woman spy Noor Inayat Khan, on the backburner. The director has already made up his mind about whom to cast as Noor. The actress is no one else but Kareena Kapoor.

Shyam Benegal is a trailblazer with terrific films like Mandi, Trikal, Sardari Begum and Zubeidaa under his belt. He has more than 20 films in his filmography and is now looking forward to direct a biopic based on the life of the well-known woman spy, Noor Inayat Khan.

Talking about his film to a daily, Shyam Benegal explained why Kareena Kapoor suits the role of a spy princess to a T.

According to Benegal, Kareena looks a lot like Noor as the actress is beautiful and slender.

“Working as a counter intelligence person, Noor first escaped to Paris, only to be captured and finally killed at a German concentration camp. So you may well gauge that the project needs to be canned in a proper epic form and deserves to made on a big scale,” Shyam is quoted as saying.

The director wants to make the film on a big scale as the plot mostly unravels in places like Britain, France and Germany during World War II.

Kareena Kapoor has acted in spy thrillers like Kurbaan and Agent Vinod.



February 12th 2014
04:05:09 PM
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Spy princess and a gypsy

He still dreams big for cinema and his chase in that direction continues unabated. Septuagenarian filmmaker Shyam Benegal talks about two projects that he has been nurturing for quite sometime now.
However, the Dadasaheb Phalke awardee rues that one of his most ambitious ventures based on the life and times of Noor-un-Nisa Inayat Khan, more well-known as Noor Inayat Khan, is still in limbo. While the script is ready, a film like this requires a lot of money to mount its launch, says the Mandi director. “The plot largely takes place in Britain, France and Germany during World War II, propelled with a multitude of battle sequences and parachute landings,” he says.

Elaborating on the biopic, the colossal figure of Indian parallel cinema narrates the daredevil spy princess’s glorious feats. “Working as a counter intelligence person, Noor first escaped to Paris, only to be captured and finally killed at a German concentration camp. So you may well gauge that the project needs to be canned in a proper epic form and deserves to made on a big scale,” he says.
Noor, the daughter of Inayat Khan and a descendant of Tipu Sultan’s imperial lineage, had served as a British spy during the Second Great War as a formal SOE agent. Historical records reveal that she became the first female radio operator to be sent from Britain into occupied France to aid the French Resistance.

“Initially, we acquired a producer from Europe but that unfortunately backfired in want of a right kind of budget. So we are now working out the logistics to probably pitch in as a co-production unit and tie up with a big distribution company,” he says.

Asked if he has zeroed in on any actress who he thinks can fit the bill to essay an author-backed role like Noor’s, the director promptly replies: “Yeah, there have been several people on my mind from Britain, France and India too. But one face that can perfectly suit the character to the tee is Kareena Kapoor. That would be an apt casting in my opinion. For Noor was a beautiful, slender girl with nice features. Kareena looks a lot like her.” Quite a casting coup that’d be. Interestingly, 12 years ago her sister Karisma Kapoor had essayed the title role in Benegal’s much critically-appreciated movie Zubeidaa.

Also slated to reel an epic musical titled Chamki Chameli, inspired by George Bizet’s classic Spanish opera Carmen, Benegal saab informs that “at the moment, the subject is yet again sitting as a script on my desk. But that doesn’t mean the film has been shelved forever. Fact is, movies like these do cost a fortune. Look, I wanted to make this almost a dozen years ago and had come quite close to laying down its spadework. But it could never get off the ground. While a certain genre of films will always find takers to be funded on a hefty budget, projects like these suffer much difficulty in procuring a producer. But this particular film I feel should cater to the interest of a large section of audience.”

The story revolves around Chamki, a beautiful gypsy girl with a fiery temper. Written by Shama Zaidi, the music is scored by A. R. Rahman and lyrics penned by Javed Akhtar.



January 11th 2014
04:03:06 PM
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Divas, spies and first ladies of their ilk
Ratnottama Sengupta

Gauhar Jaan

Noor Inayat Khan

{images added by PNASI WEB ADMIN]

KOLKATA: When they died, both Gauhar Jaan and Noor Inayat Khan were laid to rest in unmarked graves. Other than this, they had another thing in common - Kolkata. This emerged on the fourth day of AKLF, on at The Park, in association with The Times of India.

Gauhar Jaan \'Kalkattewali\', the first Asian to be recorded on 78 RPM, was the toast of this city\'s upper crust. They were mad about her ghazals and thumris; she was mad about her cat and hosted lavish parties for their litter. Born to a Hindu grandmother, British grandfather, and Armenian father, she would ride down Red Road on her four-horse buggy and wave at the viceroy if he happened to pass by, even if that spelt a thousand-rupee penalty. Inevitably, she was paupered and had to seek employment with the Wodeyars of Mysore. Two years later when she died, childless, no one bothered to place a tombstone on her grave.

Noor was daughter of Hazrat Inayat Khan, a descendent of Tipu Sultan who died fighting the British rulers. Being a Sufi, Inayat didn\'t care for fights: When his murshid told him to travel west, he arrived in California with his veena and his chelas. There, he fell in love with this beauty called Ray Baker, married her and headed for London. When he realised he was being trailed, he fled to Moscow where Noor was born full 100 years ago, on January 2. When the October Revolution happened, Inayat returned to London where they stayed through WW1. Again, when he was followed, he moved to Paris where he suddenly died. Noor, all of 13, took charge of her mother and siblings.

In 1939, with war clouds hovering over them, Noor\'s brother Vilayat said, \"Though Sufis, we must fight fascism.\" So they\'re back in London, he joins RAF, she its women\'s wing. The war had empowered the women in many ways: Noor learnt radio transmission and became the first woman wireless operator. Soon she was inducted into the secret service: one day a young man unilaterally informed her in French: \"You\'ll be sent to Paris. If you\'re caught you\'ll be killed. Are you ready?\" Noor didn\'t think even once, she simply said \"Yes\".

Nora or Madelaine - as she was known - had an appetite for adventure. But the job at hand was full of danger - she could decode in less than 72 hours but her circuit was broken in less than a week. She rebuilt it and had a busy time for three months. But her beauty proved her undoing: She was betrayed by an informer whose infatuation she didn\'t reciprocate. The feisty spy found herself in Dachau, condemned to \'disappear without trace\'.

Spy or diva, both citizens of the world had to get the better of logistical challenge. Noor, wherever she went, had to carry the transmission machine in a box, plug it electrically, transmit and scoot - with the box! And Gauhar? Since there were no microphones then, she had to scream at the top pitch into a horn, with two technicians standing by her to hold back her hand if she lifted it to her ears, Hindustani-vocalist style! Don\'t you see? It\'d disturb the recording - that ended with the declaration \'I am Gauhar Jaan!\' -which would then be cut into a disc by a technician in Hanover.

Screechy, even funny to our stereophonic-and Dolby-attuned ears, these recordings still bring us the story of the diva who led the vinyl recording movement that went unnoticed in its 100th year - 2002. That\'s why Vikram Sampath has taken up the task of making available to everyone who\'s interested in the \'Voices of India.\'

Noor? She was decorated by the Brits with a George Cross and the French with a Grand Croix. But India did not know of her. Full 50 years after WW2 had ended, when the secret service records were declassified, details of her war against fascism surfaced. And Shrabani Basu picked up her trail. Besides penning down her impassioned story, she even raised 100,000 pounds for a bronze bust that was unveiled in London 2012 - by Princess Anne!



December 22nd 2013
05:26:38 PM
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Screen Asia: Enemy of the Reich, The Noor Inayat Khan Story, a film by Robert H. Gardner

Throughout the 1930’s, an unimaginable evil tore through Europe, as Hitler’s Third Reich terrorized its way to domination. During these tumultuous times, a young Muslim woman living in Paris found her calling. Noor Inayat Khan grew up in a home that fostered faith and hope. Leading with her heart, she overcame her quiet nature and joined Winston Churchill’s covert operation to give the Allies a new chance at victory. This is her story.

Video: Official Trailer


READ ARTICLE FROM Mar 1, 2014 HERE entitled: \"New documentary recounts story of heroic Muslim spy\"


November 8th 2012
07:52:14 PM
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Tribute to an Indian princess who died for our freedom: Sculpture unveiled of spy tortured and executed by Nazis after refusing to betray Britain

* Noor Inayat Khan was one of Churchill's elite band of women spies
* Spy was the first radio operator to aid the French Resistence
* Despite being tortured and interrogated by Gestapo she never gave up her loyalty to Britain
* Shot by firing squad in 1944, Noor's last word was 'Liberte'

By David Wilkes

A beautiful Indian princess, she sacrificed her life for Britain as a wartime secret agent.

With astonishing courage, Noor Inayat Khan evaded the Gestapo before being betrayed, tortured and, after refusing to reveal any information, executed at Dachau concentration camp.

Her last word as the firing squad raised their weapons on September 13, 1944, was 'liberte'

Noor had a degree in child psychology, played sitar, and wrote short stories for children

The statue of Noor Inayat Khan was made by London artist Karen Newman

Noor was part of an elite band of women in the Special Operations Executive (SOE) and the first woman radio operator to be flown into occupied France to aid the Resistance.

Born in Moscow to an Indian father and an American mother, Noor was a descendant of Tipu Sultan, the 18th century ruler of Mysore. The family lived in London, moving to Paris when Noor was six.

She studied the harp, gained a degree in child psychology and wrote children's stories.

When Paris fell to the Nazis in 1940, she returned to London and volunteered for the Women's Auxiliary Air Force.

Recruited by the SOE in 1942, she was sent to Paris in June 1943 with the codename Madeleine.
Many members of the network were soon arrested, but Noor chose to remain in France, trying to send messages back to London while avoiding capture.

The Princess Royal unveiled the statue today at Gordons Square in London

Princess Anne said stories such as Noor's are 'remarkable in their own right' but have a real connection to make with the modern age through their 'multi-cultural aspect'

Herione: Noor was executed in Dachau for refusing to give up state secrets

That October she was betrayed by a Frenchwoman and arrested by the Gestapo. She was kept in chains and in solitary confinement. Her captors kicked and interrogated her but she revealed nothing.

When posthumously awarded the George Cross, Britain's highest civilian decoration, for her gallantry in 1949, the citation read: 'She refused to abandon what had become the principal and most dangerous post in France, although given the opportunity to return to England, because she did not wish to leave her French comrades without communications.'

Noor was one of only three women in the SOE to be awarded the medal. The other two - Violette Szabo and Odette Hallowes - have been more widely known and celebrated until now.

Campaigners spent years raising 60,000 pounds for Noor's statue, by London-based artist Karen Newman, from public donations and enlisted the support of politicians including David Cameron, who said it was 'impossible not to be moved' by her bravery.

Shrabani Basu who wrote a biography of Noor in 2006 called 'Spy Princess' and spearheaded the campaign to get her formally recognised, said: 'I realised how much Noor's story had touched ordinary people, especially the young.

'I felt it was all the more important to remember Noor's message, her ideals and her courage in the troubled times we live in.'

Noor's brother Hidayat Inayat Khan, 95, was unable to travel from his home in The Hague, Netherlands, to attend the ceremony due to old age but said in a message read by his grandson Omar:




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