Anglo-Indian heroine of Churchill's spy squad to be honoured

Posted By: Anita Nair
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London, Jan.4 (ANI): Noor Inayat Khan, who joined former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill's sabotage force, the Special Operations Executive (SOE), at the height of the second World War, and was the first female radio operator sent into France, with the famous instruction to "set Europe ablaze", is to be finally honoured by the British Government.

The role was so dangerous and Noor's life expectancy was estimated to be about just six weeks, but she lasted three months, single-handedly running a cell of spies as she traversed Paris, frequently changing her appearance and alias until she was betrayed, aged 30, most likely by the jealous girlfriend of a comrade.

While France recognized her great courage with two memorials and a ceremony is held each year to mark her death, in Britain, the contribution of this Anglo-Indian heroine was forgotten, at least till now.

According to The Independent, that is about to change with the launch of a campaign to raise 100,000 pounds to install a bronze bust of her in central London close to her former home.

It would be the first memorial in Britain to either a Muslim or an Asian woman.

The project, which has the backing of 34 MPs and prominent British Asians, including human rights campaigner Shami Chakrabarti and film director Gurinder Chadha, is being led by the London-based biographer of Noor as part of a rekindling of interest in her story, which includes the making of a 10 million pound biopic by a British production company.

Around 25,000 pounds of the cost of the bust has been raised and permission granted to site the sculpture on land owned by the University of London in Gordon Square, close to the Bloomsbury house where Noor lived as a child in 1914, and where she returned while training for the SOE during the Second World War. New Year's Day marked the 96th anniversary of her birth. (ANI)

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