noor khan

Noor Inayat Khan

James Bond. But a Girl. And Muslim.

1. Her code name was Madeleine (or Nora Baker or Jeanne-Marie Rennier) and she was an enemy of the Reich

2. She was a British secret agent of Indian and American origin (can I get a woot woot for diversity?)

3. As an SOE agent, she became the first female radio operator to be sent from Britain into occupied France to aid the French Resistance

4. But before WWII broke out, she studied child psychology at the Sorbonne and music at the Paris Conservatory under Nadia Boulanger, composing for harp and piano. She began a career writing poetry and children’s stories, and became a regular contributor to children’s magazines and French radio.

5. She wrote Twenty Jataka Tales, inspired by the Jataka tales of Buddhist tradition.

6.  After joining the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force, she was recruited to join F (France) Section of the Special Operations Executive. 

7. She was betrayed to the Germans, either by Henri Déricourt or by Renée Garry, and then arrested and interrogated. There is no evidence of her being tortured, but her interrogation lasted over a month. During that time, she attempted escape twice. Hans Kieffer, the former head of the SD in Paris, testified after the war that she did not give the Gestapo a single piece of information, but lied consistently.

8. On November 25, 1943, Inayat Khan escaped from the SD Headquarters, along with fellow SOE Agents, but was captured in the vicinity. She was shackled at hands and feet for ten months and was classified as “highly dangerous.”

9. On September 11, 1944, Inayat Khan and three other SOE agents were moved to the Dachau Concentration Camp and executed 2 days later. Her last words were recorded to be, “Liberté”

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Noor Inayat Khan (1914-1944) was a spy for the British during WWII. She was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, to a white American mother and an Indian Sufi nobleman and musician. Ironically, she was descended from Tipu Sultan, the ruler of Mysore until his death at the hands of the British in 1799. Unlike her great-great-great grandfather Tipu, she chose to join the British army in 1940 and fight the Nazis because she “wish[ed] 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.“ 

The girl who was raised to be a pacifist and who was described as shy, sensitive and quiet, who composed music for the piano and harp, and who wrote short stories and poems for children’s magazines was fearless and determined to do something for her people’s cause.

Since she grew up in France and England respectively, she was multilingual and fluent enough in French to go undercover in Nazi-occupied France and spy for the British. She joined the SOE spy unit in 1943 and transmitted secret information to the Allies via radio. Even when her cover was thought to be blown, she refused to return to England and continued her mission until she was arrested by the Nazis in October of that year.

The Nazis tortured and interrogated her, but she refused to comply. The SD unit found her journals, but could not get a word out of her and kept her shackled and imprisoned for 10 months, in accordance to the Nacht Und Nebel policy. Noor was kept in very poor conditions and was allegedly beaten and sexually assaulted, and could be heard crying at night by other inmates. On September 13, 1944, she and 3 other agents were executed in the Dauchau Concentration Camp with a bullet to the back of the head. Her last word was supposedly “liberté.”

Noor was honored posthumously with the George Cross. Her memory serves as a reminder of all the courageous Indians and Muslims who fought the Nazis during WWII. She’s often referred to as a forgotten war hero, but her sacrifice and premature death at the age of 30 should be remembered by all.

A rare photo of Noor Inayat Khan,an Allied SOE agent during the Second World War who spied for Britain in Nazi-Occupied France.

She was killed in 1944 in Dachau concentration camp, Germany and posthumously awarded the George Cross, the highest civilian decoration in the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth nations.

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Shamsha Hashwani A Mughal Mirage Bridals F/W 2016
Shamsha Hashwani takes us back to the Mughal era with a collection paying homage to the time where grandeur and opulence reigned supreme. Ivory and shades of red and coral dominated this collection, embellished with zardozi, resham, and marori kaam. Keeping in line with the traditional motifs, silhouettes throughout this collection included ghararas, lehngas and angarkhas. The addition of contemporary pieces into this collection pulled this collection together, creating a magnificent masterpiece. 

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Born to a Indian noble family, Noor Inayat Khan served as a spy working for British Special Operations Execution (SOE) during World War II.  Her identity was compromised by a double agent, and she was arrested by the German Gestapo on the 13th of October, 1943.  She was kept shackled for ten months, considered a highly dangerous prisoner who had made three escape attempts. She was executed September 11th, 1944.  She was posthumously awarded the George Cross and French Croix de Guerre.

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Sania Maskatiya August Dream Bridals F/W 2016
Sania Maskatiya’s latest collection suits were so dreamy! Long, flowy silhouettes were a dominant presence within her womenswear pieces, and crisp, clean shapes were present in the menswear pieces. The color palette was predominantly in the gold and bronze shade range with accents of reds and blues. Intricate thread work and the monotoned suits made this collection stand out in a unique way.  

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Shehla Chatoor’s “All the Raj” fashion film is giving me all kinds of feels.

Spring Break = Writing Again
This week was spring break. Today is the last official day of break, if you are counting week days. I’ve been working this week on revisions to several scenes involving Leo Marks, master SOE cryptographer.

One scene deals with the training of agents in coding messages and the use of poem codes. Coding is complicated and esoteric, and the scene will be accompanied by animated projections that visualize the coding process. The challenge with this scene is to make the material accessible. Perhaps by interjecting questions from the women in the training class, we can get to something more theatrical. Is there clarity in brevity? I hope so.

Another scene is a monologues dealing with Marks’ decision to switch from poem codes to the silk-handkerchief codes.
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The challenge here is to get across some level of detail of his plan in terms of the production of the codes and silks, then follow up on the notion that the handkerchiefs could be camouflaged (or easily hidden) within clothing. The idea here being to tie the metaphoric and literal ideas of camouflage.

Last, but not least, back to Noor & Marks. The work here is to make the point more about Noor’s promise to Marks and less about the issue of telling a lie. This has not proven too difficult, it’s more a matter of crafting the dialogue. Reviewing the M.R.D. Foot interview footage has been valuable here.

Writing is re-writing as they say.

okay this is all i know about my biological father… he is “Noor” Mohammed Khan (he went by Noor). He is from Pakistan but he lived in Texas in 1993-94 (using those dates cuz i was born in 1994). Probably in his 20s. He ran a convenience store and my birth mom was with him for some time. Also, he is Muslim. yeah i know i have nothing to really go on if i am trying to find him.