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homai vyarawalla

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kunjuppu

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those of us who saw the movie gandhi, would remember candice bergen playing margaret bourke-white, the female american photographer, who was a friend of MKG and who had accesses to certain exclusive pix of the great man.

most of my buddies here, i suspect are past 60 and hence lived through what can be called 'modern history'.

a one or a two might have experienced the salt satyagraha, 1930, many more the independence, 1947, and others like me would remember the 1957 election, 1959 lizzie the second visit and also khrushchev/bulganin.

i do not think anyone here would have heard of homai vyarawalla. she is a parsi female, yes that dying breed and tradition. born 1913, and still kicking, she could probably claim credit to being the first indian female photographer.

possessing both spunk and charm, it is not surprising that she too had access to the top echelons of indian politics of the 20th century. but in a country, where photography is what you do at weddings, the concept of serious situation oriented pix taking is only now taking root.

Rare photos on Indian history on display - Hindustan Times

the above url gives a brief blurb about a current exhibition of homai's lifetime works, an exhibition being held in nai dilli. such as those of us who live near the capital might want to take advantage of feeling the warmth of the last of somebodys who breathed the same air as gandhi, patel or nehru.

others, can be like me. enjoy this url in all its multi pages...

Homai Vyarawalla - Google Search

with our community's obsession about IT right now, i do not know how many let our wards to venture beyond the realm of bits and bytes. i should give credit to the parents of one of my nephews, who thought different, and with the encouragement of mom & dad, is now a photographer for NDTV. :)
 
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siganeswarie

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The Padma Vibhushan is the second highest civilian award in the Republic of India. It consists of a medal and a citation and is awarded by the President of India. It was established on 2 January 1954. It ranks behind the Bharat Ratna and before the Padma Bhushan. It is awarded to recognize exceptional and distinguished service to the nation in any field, including government service.win by homai vyarawalla
 
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siganeswarie

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TO Homai Vyarawalla, India's first woman photojournalist, history seems to have delivered less than it had promised. Vyarawalla's political photographs are a vivid document of the turbulent years that heralded and followed Independence.

Her striking images of the death of Gandhiji and the visits of international dignitaries such as Ho Chi Minh, Queen Elizabeth and Jackie Kennedy were stamped on public memory.

The world saw the optimism and jubilation of a newly liberated country through her pictures.

But Vyarawalla herself was never in the limelight and after she retired in 1970, her name was all but forgotten.

It was only during the golden jubilee of Independence that she began to get the appreciation she deserved. Among the long-overdue tributes to Vyarawalla's work is a documentary with the sub-title — "A Talented Woman History Forgot".

A quaint sight in Lutyens' Delhi of the 1940s and 1950s, the sari-clad Vyarawalla bicycled around the town and clicked some of history's most unforgettable images of people and events.

She carried her cumbersome equipment herself, kept a low profile and discouraged people from focusing on her. "I was very stern — no hanky-panky and no unnecessary smiling which could be misconstrued. I would stand in a corner watchfully, taking pictures as the opportunities came.

The other photographers would leave soon after they had taken their routine shots but I would always wait for an out of the ordinary picture."
Ninety-year-old Vyarawalla draws effortlessly on memory to evoke those early days of Indian photojournalism and the environment she worked in.

"Those were the days when photography was a respected profession and the men I worked with prided themselves on decorum — we were all siblings working together," she declares. She could cover an event like the Kurukshetra Mela and even spend the night at the venue because her colleagues were all gentlemen who were careful to avoid off-colour jokes and remarks when she was around. The camaraderie they shared would be unthinkable in these days of aggressive competition

. Vyarawalla recalls the rehearsals for the Independence Day celebrations at the Red Fort. "The army general in charge of the drill was adamant that there should be no movement of photographers during the flag hoisting. They were to take up their positions at the flag post and the guard of honour and not move from these places. All of us boycotted the function and our editors supported us."

The General apologised subsequently.
"Before this incident, there were hardly any restrictions and photographers could move about freely in political and diplomatic circles." Pandit Nehru, Vyarawalla's favourite subject, was particularly accessible and would be photographed with all and sundry who came to greet and hug him on occasions like Holi.

These pictures would be prominently displayed in places such as barbers' shop-windows and paan shops till Panditji's security staff clamped down. "The security people were afraid for our leaders' safety and so they were often rude to press photographers. Whenever we went to the External Affairs Ministry, or to see Panditji, we had to submit our cameras for them to inspect. A few press photographers brought a bad name to the profession by gatecrashing embassy parties.

Half an hour later, they would return with an album to pester the hosts." Vyarawalla, who never attended a party without an invitation card, recalls one occasion when an ambassador threw some of these photographers out. Disgusted and disillusioned with this new face of Indian photojournalism, Homai Vyarawalla decided to put away her camera for good.
 
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KRS

Well-known member
Dear Sri Kunjuppu Ji,

Thank you for posting this.

In my younger age I dabbled in serious photography, with a twin reflex Japanese camera with great optics that my brother gave me (I still have it in working condition).

It is definitely a serious art. But I have not heard about Ms. Vyarawalla Ji before. Not surprising. We in India always discount our own, especially those in modern arts. Looking at her work, seems like it is outstanding, especially he black and whites.

Thank you.

Regards,
KRS
 
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