My Story: Noor-Un-Nissa Inayat Khan


My Story: Noor- Un-Nissa Inayat Khan, is the little known story of ‘Madeleine’, the special operations executive trained by Winston Churchill’s forces to operate in occupied French territory during WWII. Although she was born in Russia, with an Indian father and American mother, Noor was raised in Paris. Her family returned to London, where she’d lived in infancy, when the Nazis invaded France. Noor found WAAF duties tedious and learned Morse Code to take up switchboard work. Her first language, French, proved interesting to special operations and she was invited to train with them.

However Noor’s mixed race heritage and gentle demeanour betrayed her. There were doubts about her suitability as an agent. Yet Noor’s lineage could be traced to Tipu Sultan who’d dared to defy the invasion of the British East Indian Company. Furthermore she saw her brother join the navy and was determined to play an active role in the fight against Nazi tyranny.

However life in Paris was treacherous. Despite Noor’s training and quick radio operations’ skills, a rat in the nest is difficult to overcome. When Noor and the group with whom she worked were betrayed, she showed daring and courage in holding out against months of torture and deprivation. Subsequent to her death Noor was honoured in countries across Europe.  In France she received the Croix de Guerre with Gold Star. She was honoured with the George Cross in Britain, one of only twelve women to receive this award.

Bookwagon urges readers to take up this story to recognise and honour this brave, intrepid heroine. Sufiya Ahmed has created My Story: Noor- Un-Nissa Inayat Khan, empathetically and sincerely.

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My Story: Noor- Un-Nissa Inayat Khan

Sufiya Ahmed


My Story: Noor- Un-Nissa Inayat Khan is the story of SOE ‘Nora Baker’. Although born in Russia and raised in France with an Indian father and American mother, Noor defied nationalising. This is ‘Norah Baker/ Madeleine/ Jeanne- Marie Renier’ who trained and performed as a WWII secret agent. Sufiya Ahmed tells the story of this courageous, intuitive young woman who was so calm and gentle that at first high command thought her an unlikely agent. However Noor had a tiger in her soul.
Her great-great-great- grandfather was Tipu Sultan who had led resistance against Britain’s East India company in the eighteenth century. He asserted that it was better to ‘live like a tiger for two days than a sheep for two hundred years’. Noor lived to that adage. Although she believed in Indian independence from Britain, she recognised the evil of the Nazi regime. Thereafter, she was determined to employ her skills as a French linguist in the Allied campaign. Therefore she trained in radio operations, to become one of the fastest operatives. Although the situation in Europe was dire, she returned to Paris to work with a small resistance team radioing messages to and from London.
However the team was infiltrated by a double agent. It meant that Noor faced unendurable torture against which she remained defiant till her end.
My Story: Noor-Un-Nissa Inayat Khan is a brilliant history. Sufiya Ahmed recreates Noor’s voice so that we feel her griefs, freaks and pride. Thereafter, we are part of the challenge she accepts, realising the tiger spirit that feeds her soul. Bookwagon is awed by this subject and proud to share her biography with our readers.


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