Ashra-un-Nisa GC (EGM exchanger)

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.

George Cross

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. For her own escape she left it so long that she was unable to descend by the sari and had to jump, injuring herself in so doing so 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.