Britain’s Indian-origin World War II woman spy Noor Inayat Khan became the first to be honoured with a memorial Blue Plaque at her former family home in Central London on Friday.
The Blue Plaque scheme which is run by the English Heritage Charity honours notable people and organizations that were connected with particular buildings across London.
The plaque honouring Khan was placed at 4 Taviton Street in Bloomsbury. Khan had lived in the building before she travelled to Nazi-occupied France to monitor Heitler’s men as an undercover radio operator, serving Britain’s Special Operations Executive.
Khan was the daughter of Indian Sufi saint Hazrat Inayat Khan, who was a direct descendant of the 18th-century ruler Tipu Sultan. She was later killed at the Dachau concentration camp in 1944.
Shrabani Basu, who unveiled the commemorative plaque, is a historian who authored the book “Spy Princess: The Life of Noor Inayat Khan” which states “She was an unlikely spy. As a Sufi, she believed in non-violence and religious harmony. Yet when her adopted country needed her, she unhesitatingly gave her life in the fight against Fascism.”
Speaking at the event Basu said “It is fitting that Noor Inayat Khan is the first woman of Indian-origin to be remembered with a Blue Plaque. As people walk by, Noor”s story will continue to inspire future generations. In today’s world, her vision of unity and freedom is more important than ever.”
Basu is also the founder and chairperson of the Noor Inayat Khan Memorial Trust, which had previously ensured installation of a sculpture of Noor in 2012.
Khan was awarded the George Cross for her bravery in 1949. The plaque that has been installed reads as “Noor Inayat Khan GC, 1914-1944, SOE Agent codename ‘Madeleine” stayed here”
The other Indian-origin historical figures who have been honoured with Blue Plaques are- Mahatma Gandhi and B R Ambedkar.