Brexit has unfolded various aspects of British history that were not brought to limelight for decades. The talk about Noor Inayat Khan, a British Spy in Nazi France during World War II, is one among such aspects. The brave lady who belonged to an Indian Muslim royal family, and sacrificed her life for a cause, is likely to be featured on the new 50-pound currency note, after Brexit.
Who is Noor Inayat Khan?
Noor, a descendant of Tipu Sultan of Mysore was born to an Indian father and an American mother in Moscow, Russia in 1914. The family was then guest to the Russian Royal family.
Noor Inayat’s father was a Sufi teacher and a musician who then moved to Paris where he worked as a teacher and wrote stories for Children. Noor was also a Sufi, a Muslim writer, and staunch supporter for Indian independence.
In regards to the debate about the new £50 note I think Noor Inayat Khan,GC is worthy.She gave her life to defend British freedom.Thats why. pic.twitter.com/J1afD1dlSY
— Adam Gale #TeamQueen 🇬🇧 (@gale_adam) October 22, 2018
Joining Women’s Auxiliary Air Force
When France to Nazis, Noor escaped to England and joined Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF). She later joined Special Operations Executive (SOE) as a radio operator and went back to France. She was considered suitable for this post due to fluency in the French language. As a radio operator, Noor Inayat Khan worked for Prosper network with the codename of Madeleine.
It is important to be noted that Noor Inayat chose to remain in France and carry on her work, even though many members of her network were already arrested. Gestapo arrested the brave lady and moved her to a concentration camp, where she was shot dead.
Nazis didn’t just shot Noor Inayat. She was put in chains and kept in solitary confinement. According to available resources, Noor refused to give any information to Nazis despite facing such harsh physical torture.
Inayat was awarded George Cross after the World War II for her services.
Petition to Feature Noor Inayat on 50 Pounds Currency Note
Zehra Zaidi started a petition on Change.Org to make Noor Inayat Khan the face of new £50 currency note to be issued by the Bank of England. Zehra says that it till now no woman from a minority ethnicity has been featured on a currency note. She further, urged if Bank of England can print more than one face on currency note then it should also consider printing all three women SOEs who received the George Sword. Apart from Noor Inayat, other ladies who sacrificed their lives for freedom are Odette Hallowes and Violette Szabo.
Notable Personalities Backing Noor Inayat’s Face on Currency Note
Zehra Zaidi is not alone in her quest for featuring Noor on £50 currency note. Many politicians like Saeeda Warsi, Nusrat Ghani, Tom Tugendhat and even notable Indian politicians like Shahi Tharoor have also backed this move.