It was from him that she learned to operate a camera and learned the art of photography. Homai Vyarawalla decided she wanted to become a photographer at a time when women were not encouraged to have a trade or an occupation, other than being a homemaker.
Ms Vyarawalla's choice to become a photographer was encouraged by her husband as well as her family. Her choice led to her becoming India's first female photojournalist. This is turn pushed her towards documenting a vast number of historical incidents at a time when India was undergoing a number of drastic changes, post-Independence.
Homai Vyarawalla's life was filled with a huge number of anecdotes as to how she documented these changes. Whether it was accidentally disrupting Mohammad Ali Jinnah's last press conference in India, the day before he left for Pakistan in 1947 (her fall allegedly made Jinnah smile) or when she had to hitch a ride on the back of an army truck after taking the historic images of a young Dalai Lama as he crossed the Chinese border onto India in 1959. One of the most prominent historical figures featured in many of her photographs was Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.
Homai Vyarawalla passed away at the age of 98 on 15th January in 2012.
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