Noor Inayat Khan: A heroine of the second world war

Noor Inayat Khan was an unlikely candidate for the shadowy world of spies. Born into the royal family Tipu Sultan, Noor grew up in Europe. Repulsed by the Nazi ideology and their pogrom against the Jews, Noor joined the war effort as a radio operator sabotaging enemy communication lines.

In her short life spanning the two World Wars — Noor was born in 1914 and snuffed out by a bullet in 1944 — she packed in a full existence; starting out as a writer and broadcaster of children's stories and signing out as the only Asian secret agent in Europe in the Second World War. She is also the only woman among the nine Indians awarded the George Cross — the highest civilian honour in Britain — for services in the Second World War.

Still, not much is known about her in India though in France she is a heroine — the French know her as Madeline of the Resistance — and every year a military band plays outside her childhood home on Bastille Day, and a city square has been named after her. With the help of a recently released secret archive, journalist Shrabani Basu pieces together her life and brings to India a forgotten daughter.

The book is available at all leading bookshops.
Spy Princess: The Life of Noor Inayat Khan, Shrabani Basu, Roli, Rs. 395.

Courtesy: The Hindu
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