Indian-origin British spy Noor Inayat Khan to appear on coins in UK

WION New Delhi, India Jul 30, 2020, 10.14 PM(IST) Edited By: Palki Sharma

Noor Inayat Khan Photograph:( Twitter )

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British media reported this week that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, is considering a proposal to feature historical figures from the Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) community of the country on a set of coins titled ‘Service to the Nation’.

British media reported this week that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, is considering a proposal to feature historical figures from the Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) community of the country on a set of coins titled "Service to the Nation".

The Black Lives Matter movement is shaking the pillars of history in Britain. It is reminding the former coloniser of its persecutions, which includes the enslavement of India. Britain is now seeking to undo its wrongs by recognising heroes from its ethnic minority communities, if the proposal is passed, it will be the first time that non-white people will be featured on British coins or notes.

The plan has been submitted to the Royal Mint, which is to come up with proposals and designs and the name Indian-origin Noor Inayat Khan is on top of the the list. She was a descendent of Tipu Sultan, a ruler of the Mysore kingdom in India. 

Noor Inayat Khan was labelled a spy by UK during World War II. After she was executed at a concentration camp in Germany, Britain now wants to honour her.

She was born in Moscow in 1914 to an Indian father and an American mother and raised a Sufi. Her father Inayat Khan founded the Sufi order in the West. It is known by his name, the Inayati order.

During the World War-I, she moved along with her family first to London and then to Paris.

In November 1940, she became a wire operator in the British Royal Airforce as a part the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force. She became the first radio operator to be sent to Paris to work for SOE’s Prosper resistance network under the codename Madeleine.

Shaped by a cosmopolitan family, she never forgot her origins or humanist faith fighting against fascism till her last breath. The Germans captured her in 1943 and classified her as ''highly dangerous''.

On September 13, 1944, Noor was executed at the Dachau concentration camp in southern Germany. In 1949, Britain honoured her posthumously with the George Cross.

During the war, Noor used to say, ''I wish some Indians would win high military distinction in this war''.

She believed the courage and bravery would build a bridge between England and India, which was still a British colony.

She did not witness India become free but as she wanted the bravery of Indians during the war is being remembered.