The princess spy awarded the George Cross


by Sunny
20th February, 2006 at 7:04 pm    

The story of Noor Inayat Khan came to light a few years ago when secret documents from WW2 shed light on the daughter of an Indian Sufi prince who gave up her life for Britain during the war. She was post-humously awarded the George Cross.

For more than half a century, myths, misconceptions and outright fantasies have crowded around the memory of Noor Inayat Khan. She was the first female radio operator sent into Nazi-occupied France by the Special Operations Executive (SOE). Through the frantic, terrifying summer of 1943, the untried 29-year-old spy found herself virtually in charge of Resistance communications in the Paris area as the Gestapo arrested cell after cell around her. [The Independent]

The renewed interest comes on the back of a book being published on here life.

Author of ‘Spy Princess: the life of Noor Inayat Khan’ Shrabani Basu will be talking with Ian Jack (Granta) and MRD Foot at the Nehru Centre on 1 March.


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Filed in: Culture,India,South Asia






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  1. Kiran — on 20th February, 2006 at 10:20 pm  

    I think she was a very brave princess. It takes loads of guts to actually be a muslim indian during the world wars to go out of your way and be a spy.

  2. mirax — on 24th February, 2006 at 4:06 pm  

    Didn’t know anything at all about this woman and the subsequent googling I did turned up quite fascinating stuff. Her connections to the founder of universal sufism(her dad), her conflict over her indo-western identity, her less than competent spying.

    Her last word, before the bullet to the brain at Dachau, was ‘liberte’. Admirable.

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