Homai Vyarawalla, a name not new to the photojournalist community of India is nonetheless one of the most iconic women of India’s history pre and post Independence. In 2011, she was awarded Padma Vibhushan, the second-highest civilian award of India.
With time, the first woman journalist of India received national level acclamation, even more after moving to Delhi.
She photographed many political leaders national and international, her favourite being Jawaharlal Nehru.
She photographed many leaders in the period leading up to independence, including Mohandas Gandhi, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Indira Gandhi and the Nehru-Gandhi family while working as a press photographer. She also captured the various state visits of prominent figures such Dalai Lama, just after he had escaped from Tibet and John F. Kennedy and the first lady Jacqueline Kennedy.
Her most famous pictures include the pictures of first tricolour-hoisting after Independence, the death of Mahatma Gandhi, the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru releasing a pigeon, now a part of national archives.
Vyarawalla learned photography from a friend and began taking pictures of Bombay life at the age of 13. Originally from Navsari in Gujarat, Homai earned a diploma from Sir Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy School of Art, Mumbai.
Today marks the 104th birthday of the influential woman of pre as well as post-independent India. A time when women were strictly confined to household chores until and unless one was a prominent figure in those times, Homai chose her passion and made a career out of it. An impressive step in that era, with today’s Indian woman to be much more independent and educated in the current year of 2017, a lot can be achieved if one believes in their passion and inner strength regardless of gender. Homai Vyarawalla is a true inspiration.
Homai Vyarawalla – India’s first woman photojournalist // image source
Check out latest edition of Inspiro India magazine – here