Homai Vyarawalla: Photographer

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The Independent Online

Homai Vyarawalla, who died on 15 January at the age of 98, was widely acknowledged to be India's first woman photojournalist. She took photographs of key events that would have a decisive impact on Indian history, including the meeting where leaders voted for the plan for India's partition. She also photographed the first flag-hoisting ceremony, at Red Fort on 15 August 1947, the departure of Lord Mountbatten from India and the funerals of Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Lal Bahadur Shastri.

Born on 9 December 1913 to a Parsi family, Vyarawalla grew up in Bombay, now Mumbai, and moved in 1942 to Delhi, where as an employee of the British Information Services she photographed many of the events leading to India's independence.

A follower of Gandhi, she followed a simple, spartan lifestyle, and lived in near-anonymity for years. She was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India's second highest civilian award, in 2011.