Vyarawalla,a chronicler of history,to be cremated today

Homai Vyarawalla,who captured the pre and post-independent India in pictures,will be cremated at a Vadodara crematorium as per her wish on Monday,according to her biographer and friend Sabeena Gadihoke.

Written by Express News Service | Vadodara | Published: January 16, 2012 3:44 am

Homai Vyarawalla,who captured the pre and post-independent India in pictures,will be cremated at a Vadodara crematorium as per her wish on Monday,according to her biographer and friend Sabeena Gadihoke.

Gadihoke said the funeral procession will start from the photographer’s Nizampura house in Vadodara at 10am.

Nikitan Contractor,a local Parsi community leader,said,“We shall respect her wish and will not put her body in Dokhma (a tower-like structure for disposal of dead according to Parsi customs).”

As the news of her death spread,friends,fans and art-lovers started flocking Vyarawalla’s house at Divyajyoti Society in the Nizampura area where she had been living alone for years.

Mayor Jyoti Pandya was among the politicians who paid their last respect to the deceased in the evening.

The photographer Vyarawalla clicked some memorable pictures between 1938 and 1970.

The pictures of first tricolour-hoisting after Independence,the death of Mahatma Gandhi,the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru releasing a pigeon and others have become part of national archives.

Nehru was one of her favourite subjects. In 1959,to have a proper angle to her picture of Nehru and visiting Pakistani President Ayub Khan,she almost laid flat on the ground.

Vyarawalla,who also worked for British Information Service for many years,used to cycle-around in Delhi and click pictures.

A year after her husband passed away in 1969,Vyarawalla quit photography.

In 1973,she moved to Vadodara where she lived alone till her last day. Her only child,son Farouq,had died of cancer in 1982 and since then she had been living alone.

Vyarawalla donated her six Rolleiflex and Mamiyaflex twin lens cameras,negatives of around one lakh photographs and thousands of prints to Delhi-based Alkazi Foundation for the Arts in March 2010.

She was awarded Padma Vibhushan,India’s second highest civilian award,last year. She was also conferred with Lifetime Achievement Award by the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in 2010.

Politicians pay tribute Paying tribute to Vyarawalla,Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly Shaktisinh Gohil and Gujarat Congress president Arjun Modhwadia said she had contributed in recording the freedom struggle and other national events.

Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni,in her condolence message,said Vyarawalla “created new benchmarks in the domain of photography. Her portrayal of visual images during the national movement had a deep impact on the minds of the people of this country”.

“She photographed India’s march to freedom with visual brilliance. Her photographs have etched in our memory even today. In her death,we have lost a creative genius,” she said.

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