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The world has recognized Homai Vyarawalla – India’s first woman photojournalist – and now the ultimate honor in a social media savvy world – the Google Doodle! On her 104th birthday – Google shares her inspiring story with the world.
Jawaharlal Nehru caught by the camera at Palam airport while waiting for his sister, Vijayalakshmi Pandit, the Indian Ambassador in Moscow, 1954 gelatin silver print Alkazi Collection of Photography
Homai Vyarawalla: Capturing the Essence of a Nation
A picture tells a story more eloquently than words. On India’s celebration of Republic Day, we pay tribute to the wonderful Homai Vyarawalla, India’s first woman photojournalist (1913-2012) who captured the nation’s ups and downs in a series of remarkable photographs.
We were fortunate that the Rubin Museum of Art hosted a retrospective of her work last year. Visitors got a glimpse of the India that was, and also saw the work of a woman who captured history as it was being made. Her images include those on the historic meeting of Gandhi and the Congress Committee on the 1947 plan for partition, of a changing India as well as of many dignitaries who visited India including Queen Elizabeth, Ho Chi Minh, Zhou En-lai and Jacqueline Kennedy.
Homai Vyarawalla, Indian (1913 – 2012) The ashes of Mahatma Gandhi being carried in a procession, Allahabad; February 1948 Gelatin Silver Print Alkazi Collection of Photography
The exhibition at the Rubin Museum of Art was curated by Beth Citron and presented in collaboration with the Alkazi Foundation for the Arts in New Delhi.Vyarawalla lived an extraordinary life and visitors to the Rubin Museum caught glimpses of it in a biographical film.
Sabeena Gadihoke, close friend and biographer, shares some intriguing insights in an article in the Hindu: “Homai was an adventurous woman. 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.”
You can read the article in its entirety here
Homai Vyawalwalla, Indian (1913 – 2012) The Dalai Lama in ceremonial dress enters India through a high mountain pass. He is followed by the Panchen Lama, Sikkim, India; 1956 Gelatin Silver Print Alkazi Collection of Photography
Dr. Helen Keller, who was calling on President Dr. Rajendra Prasad at the Rashtrapati Bhawan, being greeted by, Prime Minister Nehru who had come to see her Homai Vyarawalla India; 1955 Alkazi Collection of Photography
Homai Vyarawalla, Indian (1913 – 2012) Queen Elizabeth II at a fashion show organized by the wives of diplomats at the Central Cottage Industries in Delhi; 1961 Gelatin Silver Print Alkazi Collection of Photography
Homai Vyarawalla, Indian (1913 – 2012) Jacqueline Kennedy feeding Urvashi, the baby elephant at Teen Murti House, 1962 gelatin silver print Alkazi Collection of Photography
Homai Vyarawalla, Indian (1913 – 2012) Queen Elizabeth II examining a gigantic garland presented to her in Madras; 1961 Gelatin Silver Print Alkazi Collection of Photography
Homai Vyarawalla, Indian (1913 – 2012) Ho Chi Minh, President of North Vietnam being escorted by Pandit Nehru and Dr. Rajendra Prasad; 1958 Gelatin Silver Print Alkazi Collection of Photography
Homai Vyawawalla, Indian (1913 – 2012) Nehru releasing a dove, sign of peace at a public function at the National Stadium in New Delhi; mid 1950’s Gelatin Silver Print Alkazi Collection of Photography
Freedom at Midnight, Sixty Years Later