London: Twenty-two British lawmakers have
backed a proposal for a memorial here for Noor Inayat Khan, a
descendant of erstwhile ruler of Mysore Tipu Sultan, who was
awarded UK`s highest civilian honour for her crucial role as a
secret agent during the World War II.
Valerie Vaz, the newly elected Labour MP, tabled an
early day motion in Parliament calling for the House to
recognise the "extraordinary bravery" of Noor who was awarded
the George Cross.
She wanted the House to back a campaign to have Noor`s
bust installed in Gordon Square, near the house where she
It will be the first memorial for an Asian woman in
The campaign for a memorial for Noor also has the
backing of high-power Asian women who signed a petition last
week on her behalf. These include Director of Liberty Shami
Chakrabarti, and filmmaker Gurinder Chadha.
"Noor Inayat Khan sacrificed her life for this
country. We cannot let her memory fade away," said Shrabani
Basu, author of Spy Princess, The Life of Noor Inayat Khan,
one of the prime movers of the campaign.
"She was a gentle young woman, a writer and musician,
but when the time came, she showed the most extraordinary
bravery in the field. She believed in the principles of
freedom and liberty and died for her adopted country. We owe
this to her."
Noor was a secret agent in the Second World War.
Recruited by the Special Operations Executive, the secret arm
set up by the then British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to
"set Europe ablaze", she became the first radio-operator to be
infiltrated into occupied France under the codename of
She played a crucial role in the war effort helping
the French resistance. She was betrayed and captured by the
Germans, and brutally tortured and shot at Dachau
She was only 30. She was posthumously awarded the
George Cross by Britain and the Croix du Guerre by France, the
highest civilian honours of both countries.
In September 2006, Indian Finance Minister Pranab
Mukherjee visited her family house in Suresnes in Paris and
honoured her memory.
In France, Noor is known as the `Resistance heroine`.
In Paris a featy square has been named after Noor. There is a
plaque outside her house in Paris and every year a military
band plays outside it on Bastile Day to honour her memory.
There is a plaque in her honour at Dachau
Concentration camp. There is no personal memorial for her in