INDIA: Death of a Great Pioneering Woman Photojournalist

On Sunday, India’s first female photojournalist passed away at a hospital in Vadodara, according to the Times of India, a leading English daily newspaper in India.

Homai Vyarawalla, 98, had recently been hospitalized due to a fall from her bed. Vyarawalla was deeply admired and respected by many in India. She was extremely passionate about photography and had recently stated that she felt the new generation of photographers in India was too competitively driven. She received many lovely obituaries, especially in The Times of India.

Born in 1913, Vyarawalla completed her studies at the former Bombay University and received an arts diploma from Sir J.J. School of Arts before moving to Delhi in the late 1930s.  There, her talents, versatility, and hard work quickly helped jump-start her successful photography career, which lasted until the 1970s.

Vyarawalla photographed many important figures and moments including her favorite subject, India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, the second prime minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri, the capture and expulsion of British statesman Lord Mountbatten from India, and Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi’s funerals.

Even after official retirement, she continued to make a splash up until the end of her life. Just last year, Vyarawalla was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award in the Republic of India by the president. Vyarawalla’s death certainly comes as a tragedy to many. Her work will always continue to channel her passion and talent.

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Times of India (1)

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