Recently, On 11 December, A movie named “A Call To Spy” was released on Amazon Prime where actress Radhika Apte can be seen portraying Noor Inayat Khan.
During WWII, Intelligence agencies realized there is paucity in their recruits then decided to tweak and so, a field that was mostly dominated by men, saw women recruits.
Among many women recruits, there was Noor Inayat Khan, the Indian princess who became a World War 2 spy.
On 28th August 2020, listed as the first Indian-origin woman to be honored with the Blue Plaque in the UK. Moreover, For her sacrifices, she was honored with the title of Special Operations Executive (SOE) in France.
Noor was born in Moscow on 1st January,1914. Her father Hazrat Inayat Khan was an Indian Muslim who was a musician and Sufi preacher by profession and a descendant of the Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan and her mother, Amina Begum (originally- Ora Ray Baker) was an American from Albuquerque, New Mexico, who met Inayat Khan during his travels in the United States. Shortly after World War, I broke out, the family settled in England.
As a child, Noor was described as quiet, shy, sensitive, and idealist. Just like her father, she had a firm belief in non-violence and the oneness of all religions.
However, In 1927, her father died, during a trip to India. At that time, she was just 13 years old and the responsibility of taking care of her mother and her three siblings was on her shoulders then.
Marking, the beginning of her journey. when France fell to Nazi Germany, Noor fled to Britain with her family in 1940.
There Noor studied child psychology at the Sorbonne and music at the Paris Conservatory under Nadia Boulanger, composing for harp and piano. Later, she pursued a career in writing poetry and children’s stories. All the same, she always desired to help during the war.
In the same year 1940, Noor along with her brother Vilayat decided to aid defeat the Nazis, after that, she enlisted in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) as Nora Inayat Khan after spending six months training as a wireless operator in Edinburgh. A year later, she applied for a commission in Intelligence. Little mindful of her life was about to change forever.
At the first spark of World War II, the former PM of the UK Winston Churchill ordered his new spy agency to train women for covert operations as they were facing a shortage of men.
At 26, she became a radio operator and the first British-Muslim woman wireless operator to be sent to Nazi-occupied France. She went undercover and worked in France for three months to establish crucial connections and to send information back to London.
While living in France, she worked as a children’s nurse under the name of Jeanne-Marie Reinier. Although within 10 days of her arrival, all the British spies in her network had been arrested, Still, after knowing that her life was at risk, she refused to return to London.
Her transmissions became the only hookup between the agents around the Paris area and London so she had a crucial role to play. She was expected to live and survive for only 6 weeks after backing “the most dangerous post in France” but miraculously, she went unnoticed for 3 months.
Unfortunately, she was betrayed by a Frenchwoman and was sent to Dachau concentration camp. There, she went through hell. She was tortured for information for almost 10 months but she refused to reveal any point. She stayed loyal to her country till her last breath. Eventually, On 13th September 1944, she was shot dead in Dachau, with other three SOE agents.