Victoria_Cross_of_canada

THE

 

TO THE VICTORIA & GEORGE CROSS

COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE

victoria_cross george cross scan0004

b. ? d. 1947 India.

 

DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 14/06/1936 Hyderabad, India.

 

Ashra-un-Nisa (? – 1947), also known as the “Lady of Hyderabad”, has no known date of birth or place of birth. All that is known of her background prior to her actions which led to the award of the Empire Gallantry Medal, is that she was the wife of Lieutenant Muzaffaruddin.

 

On 14th June 1936, in Hyderabad, a fire broke out in the Moti Mahal cinema. She was sitting in the purdah balcony with many women and children. The fire cut off both exits, so she stripped herself of her sari, tied it to the balcony railing and lowered 5 women to the lower floor, from where they escaped. Her own escape she left so long that she was unable to descend by the sari and had to jump, injuring herself in so doing and actually losing consciousness. 14 people burnt to death in the blaze.

 

Ashra recovered from her injuries, and on 1st February 1937, she was awarded the Empire Gallantry Medal, which was presented to her by the Viceroy of India. In September 1940, with the creation of the George Cross, she was entitled to exchange her medal. Little else is known of her life sadly, and it is believed that she died in 1947, and is thought to have been cremated. The location of her George Cross is unknown.

 

LOCATION OF MEDAL: UNKNOWN.

BURIAL PLACE: UNKNOWN - BELIEVED CREMATED.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NO IMAGE AVAILABLE

Begum Ashra-un-Nisa EGM

“The KING has been graciously pleased to approve of the Award of the Medal of the Civil Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire to the undermentioned : -

 

For Gallantry.

Ashraf-un-Nisa Begum, Hyderabad, Decan.

 

On a night in June, 1936, a disastrous fire broke out in the Mod Mahal Cinema, Hyderabad City, and the building was prac¬tically razed to the ground, twelve women and two children being burnt to death. Ashraf-un-Nisa Begum, the wife of Lieu¬tenant Muzaffaruddin, retired, was responsible for saving the lives of several purdah women. She was sitting with the fourteen victims and some thirty more women in the purdah balcony, from which both exits were cut off by the fire. These women were thus driven to the front of the balcony; and as their presence was forgotten they had no means of escape otherwise than by jumping. Their plight was made the more terrifying by the smoke, darkness and leaping flames which within a few minutes turned the whole building into one huge blaze. Ashraf-un-¬Nisa Begum, though a purdah lady, stripped herself of her sari, tied it to the balcony railing and lowered five women to the lower floor, whence they escaped. Her own escape she left so late that she was unable to descend by the sari and had to jump, injuring her¬self in so doing and actually losing conscious¬ness. Ashraf-un-Nisa Begum's act at such self-sacrifice and risk was of outstanding bravery.”

1st February 1937 transcribed by Terry Hissey