Friday, August 19
Punish those who brought death to Noor Inayat Khan
Just finished reading 'Spy Princess the life of Noor Inayat Khan' written by Shrabani Basu. Brief sketch of the wonderful person is: Noor Inayat Khan/Nora Baker, (1 January 1914, Moscow - 13 September 1944, Dachau concentration camp), usually known as Noor Inayat Khan was of Indian Muslim origin. She was a British
Special Operations Executive agent during the Second World War, and the first female radio operator to be sent into occupied France to aid the French Resistance.
Although Noor Inayat Khan was deeply influenced by the pacifist teachings of her father Inayat Ali Khan, she and her brother Vilayat decided to help defeat Nazi tyranny: "I wish some Indians would win high military distinction in this war. If one or two could do something in the Allied service which was very brave and which everybody admired it would help to make a bridge between the English people and the Indians," she is quoted to have said, which amply hints at the thought-process behind the impending sacrifice.
On 19 November 1940, she joined the Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF), and as an Aircraftwoman 2nd Class, she was sent to be trained as a wireless operator. Upon assignment to a bomber training school in June 1941, she applied for a commission in an effort to relieve herself of the boring work there. Later she was recruited to join F (France) Section of the Special Operations Executive and in early February 1943 she was posted to the Air Ministry, Directorate of Air Intelligence, seconded to First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (FANY), and sent to Wanborough Manor, near Guildford in Surrey, and from there to various other SOE schools for training, including STS 5 Winterfold, STS 36 Boarmans and STS 52 Thame Park. During her training she adopted the name Nora Baker.
Her superiors held mixed opinions on her suitability for secret warfare, and her training was incomplete. Nevertheless, her fluent French and her competency in wireless operation—coupled with a shortage of experienced agents—made her a desirable candidate for service in Nazi-occupied France. On 16/17 June 1943, cryptonymed 'Madeleine'/W/T operator 'Nurse' and under the cover identity of Jeanne-Marie Regnier, Assistant Section Officer/Ensign Inayat Khan was flown to landing ground B/20A 'Indigestion' in Northern France on a night landing double Lysander operation, code named Teacher/Nurse/Chaplain/Monk. She was met by Henri Dericourt, who later on confirmed to be a double-agent, though he claimed to be a triple agent, that is, of MI6 as well. Trial was conducted at the end of the World War-II, but he was let go off the hook. However, he died in a plane crash in 1962.
She traveled to Paris, and together with two other women (Diana Rowden, code named Paulette/Chaplain, and Cecily Lefort, code named Alice/Teacher) Noor joined the Physician network led by Francis Suttill, code named Prosper. Over the next month and a half, all the other Physician network radio operators were arrested by the
Sicherheitsdienst (SD). In spite of the danger, Noor rejected an offer to return to Britain. She continued to transmit as the last essential link between London and Paris. She refused to abandon what had become the most important and dangerous post in France and did excellent work.
On 11 September 1944 Noor Inayat Khan and three other SOE agents from Karlsruhe prison, Yolande Beekman, Eliane Plewman and Madeleine Damerment, were moved to the Dachau Concentration Camp. In the early hours of the morning, 13 September 1944, the four women were executed by a shot to the head. Their bodies were immediately burned in the crematorium. An anonymous Dutch prisoner contended that Noor Inayat Khan was cruelly beaten by a high-ranking SS officer named Wilhelm Ruppert before being shot down from behind. Her last word was "Liberté". She was 30 years old.
It was also reported in the English media then, that 'these ladies were burnt alive'. However, it could not be substantiated later on. Nevertheless, 'the most dangerous prisoner', who never broke to any torture and harassment of the Nazis, was surely beaten badly by the Germans. Certain clues are of being raping her as well.
It is certainly a heart-wrenching portrait of courageous girl, who gave her life to the British survival against Hitler's advancing forces. A lot of observations have been made about the working of the SOE, its officers, and their criterion in the English annals and media.
I have read about putting the Germans to trial, very rightly so as well. But nothing has gone beyond my eyes which could dilate upon the post-World War-II probe or investigation into the careless acts or reckless handling by the British officers back home, which led to the killings of a very large number of good brains, like Noor Inayat Khan, in the foreign lands. It suffices nothing perhaps if one's chest is adorned with medals, posthumously.
May Allah rest her in eternal peace! Amen