By Naila Missous
On September 13 1944, brutally tortured by Nazis lay a British spy known to most as Nora Baker.
Her name was in fact Noor Inayat Khan: an Indian Muslim and first female radio operator to infiltrate occupied Paris. She was sent into France by Winston Churchill’s secret Special Operations Executive, but was later betrayed and captured after three months.
A statue commemorating Noor goes up in London’s Gordon Square on November 8 this month, and it will be the first statue to an Indian woman in Britain – and the first to any Muslim.
The bronze statue sculpted by London-based artist Karen Newman will be unveiled by Britain’s Princess Anne, near the house where Noor lived as a child.
The event marks the end of several years of campaigning by the Noor Inayat Khan Memorial Trust headed by her biographer Shrabani Basu, to revive the memory of the forgotten war heroine.
The campaign has received the support of British PM David Cameron and several MPs and peers, as well as from eminent women like film maker Gurinder Chadha, stage artist Nina Wadia, and sitarist Anoushka Shankar.