The British politicians, historians, and academicians have been throwing their weight behind a campaign to feature World War II hero, who for a very long time has remained unnoticed and unsung – Ms. Noor-un-Nisa Inayat Khan on a redesigned 50-pound currency note. Importantly, Noor Inayat Khan had volunteered for SOE, served bravely as an agent in occupied Europe, was eventually captured and murdered. Raised in Britain and France, Noor Inayat Khan was a descendant of Tipu Sultan and daughter of Indian Sufi saint Hazrat Inayat Khan. Also known as the Spy Princess, she was the first female wireless operator sent to Nazi-occupied France during the war at just 29. Despite evading capture for three months, she was eventually arrested and subject to torture by the Nazis. However, she refused to reveal any information and was transferred to Dachau concentration camp in Germany, where she was killed in 1944. Her final word before being executed was “Liberte” and narratives of her bravery have been etched in the annals of history.
According to the British Transport Minister Nusrat Ghani , “It’s a phenomenal story, you don’t think about the money in your purse when you think about young girls taking a minute to think about the fantastic work that she did and the ultimate sacrifice she made. The more you learn about her, the more you learn how brave and bold she was”. Even the Indian Congress MP Shashi Tharoor egged people to sign the petition, saying, “Want to see an Indian woman, a war hero, on the new British £50 note? Sign this petition!”
Importantly, Indian-origin lady spy’s face on the new note could be the face of the first ethnic minority on any UK currency.