Meet Homai, India’s First Woman Photojournalist Google Paid Tribute To In Doodle

Google paid tribute to Homai Vyarawalla, India’s first woman photojournalist, with a Doodle.

She was known for photographing India’s transition from the British Raj to an independent country after its subsequent partition.

She was introduced to photography by her husband Manekcshaw Vyarawala, a photographer at the Times of India. Started her career as a photojournalist during the onset of World War II, she started taking up assignments for the Illustrated Weekly of India magazine. In 1942 she joined the British Information Service as a full-time employee.

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She was a familiar sight among the other journalists and VIP personalities in Delhi. She was often seen in sari-clad, travelling from one end of the city to the other on a cycle.

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Her contributions as a photo-journalist include immortalising the moment when the first Flag was hoisted at the Red Fort on August 15, 1947, the departure of the last Viceroy, Lord Mountbatten from the country, and the funerals of Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Lal Bahadur Shastri.


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Vyarawala also photographed Queen Elizabeth’s and former United States president, Dwight Eisenhower’s visits to India.

One of her close friends Sabeen Gadihoke describes her as an adventurous woman. Narrating an incident to The Hindu, she said, Stranded in Sikkim, she hitched a ride back on an army truck after taking images of a young Dalai Lama crossing the border in 1959. Once she came tumbling down while trying to shoot Mohammad Ali Jinnah, bringing to a halt the proceedings of his last press conference the day before he left for Pakistan in 1947. Homai’s fall brought a smile on Jinnah’s face. ‘

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She was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award in India in 2011. She passed away at the age of 98 in 2012 in Vadodara, Gujarat.

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