Homai Vyarawala dead

Vyarawalla captured key events that had a decisive impact on India’s history, including a meeting where leaders voted for the June 3 plan for India’s partition.

India’s first woman photo-journalist Homai Vyarawalla died at a private hospital here this morning at the age of 98.

She fell from her cot three days ago and was hospitalised at a private hospital, officials said.

Her husband Maneckshaw Vyarawalla predeceased her in 1970.

She was awarded the Padma Vibhushan in January last year.

Click Here for the full story.

Also check rediff.com’s tribute – Click Here

An NPR piece on Vyarawalla done by a young Parsi photojournalist, Kainaz Amaria – http://www.npr.org/blogs/pictureshow/2012/01/20/145484804/indias-first-female-photojournalist-captured-a-nation-in-transition

Biographer Sabeena Gadihoke’s book on Homai Vyarawalla tells the story of India’s first woman photojournalist who passed away on January 15 2012.  First published in Parsiana, April 21, 2006. Click Here to read further

When I heard that Homai Vyarawala had died, I remembered taking Mona—my dear friend with whom I made the book Myself Mona Ahmed (Scalo Publishers, 2001)—to meet Homai in the year 2000. Homai was then staying at the Parsi Dharamsala in Delhi, close to the graveyard where Mona still lives after leaving the world of eunuchs. Read the full report – Click Here

The life and times of Homai Vyarawalla

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for the full story in Indian ExpressBarely four days before she passed away, Homai Vyarawalla attended a function where the Parsi Anjuman of Vadodara honoured her for receiving the Padma Vibhushan last year. At the function, Vyarawalla sat on an open stage in the winter and refused to cover her head to keep herself warm. Those who were present recalled how she accepted the felicitation with dignified restraint. It was this very quality I had witnessed when we attended the investiture ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Vyarawalla, who would be 98 in a few months, left her wheelchair and chose to walk up to the President to receive one of the highest civilian awards of the country.

The evening was cold and windy, but she refused to cover her head. When after the hip fracture she had to leave for the hospital, she insisted on packing her own suitcase despite the excruciating pain. That was Homai Vyarawalla, proudly self reliant till the very end.

Click Here for the full story from Asian Age





HOMAI VYARAWALLA was not only India’s first woman news photographer but had the privilege of capturing exclusive shots of momentous events in the country’s history. This correspondent met her last July while on an assignment in Vadodara, where she lived alone. The Vadodara Parsi Panchayat, which alone could reach Vyarawalla, organised a meeting with her. Its authorities warned me that she was 97, was hard of hearing, and therefore might not respond to all questions.

This correspondent found her sitting alone reading newspapers at the entrance to her tiny apartment in a nondescript locality of the city. A petite lady with a shock of short grey hair and dressed in a skirt and T-shirt, Homai Vyarawalla did not seem her age. A photograph of Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel hung by her bedside. When she understood why I was there, she was wonderfully warm and soon happily settled into a conversation about her career and the current state of news photography.

Homai Vyarawalla had an amazing memory for a nonagenarian. She spoke with great clarity and a sparkle in her gentle eyes. It was fascinating to hear her recount incidents that took place 50 years ago. Click Here for the interview

One comment

  • i had the good fortune of meeting this wonderful lady when i had gone to baroda two years ago.
    my maami, arnavaz jimmy havewala,was very close to her and took me to see her.
    i also attended the opening of her photohraphic exhibition at the ngma last year.
    she was an icon.
    and a pioneer.
    india has lost a great photographer and a superb human being.

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