New Delhi: Search engine giant, Google, paid homage to India’s first woman photojournalist, Homai Vyarawalla, on Saturday with a doodle on her 104th birth anniversary.
Born on December 9, 1913, to a Parsi family in Gujarat’s Navsari, Vyarawalla spent her childhood moving from place to place with her father’s travelling theatre company.
After moving to Bombay, she studied at Bombay University and the Sir J. J. School of Art and later married to Manekshaw Jamshetji Vyarawalla, an accountant and photographer for the Times of India.
Vyarawalla started her career in the 1930s, and at the onset of the World War II, she started working on assignments for the Bombay-based The Illustrated Weekly of India magazine which published many of her black and white images that later became iconic.
Vyarawalla, who learned to operate a camera and the art of photography from her husband, decided to become a photographer at a time when the idea of women working was yet to get traction in the society. She was awarded with the second highest civilian award Padma Vibhushan in 2011.
Eventually, her photography received notice at the national level, particularly after moving to Delhi in 1942 to join the British Information Services, where she photographed many political and national leaders in the period leading up to independence, including Mohandas Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Indira Gandhi and the Nehru-Gandhi family.
Shortly after her husband’s death in 1970, Vyarawalla decided to give up photography lamenting over the “bad behaviour” of the new generation of photographers. Vyarawalla passed away at the age of 98 on January 15 in 2012.