Just one small positive thought in the morning can change our day. In Western countries, Sunday is considered the first day of the week, while the week begins with Saturday in many Middle East countries, whereas in India, Monday is the first day of the week. Being motivated throughout the week is very essential, but for Monday we need a little extra motivation right.

From today onwards, Every Monday, we will have motivational content with the hashtag of #MondayMotivation from our 'From India' blog, as we consider Motivation is one the important life skills. 

Homai Vyarawalla

Well, Today we are going to talk about Homai Vyarawalla, the first female photographer of India. She was the one to photograph India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru unfurled the National flag of India for the first time at the Red Fort on August 16, 1947. (Red Fort is a historic fort in the capital of India, Delhi) 

Moreover, the moments of Indira Gandhi with her father Nehru, Nehru and Lal Bahadur Shastri's (The Second Prime Minister of India) last moments, preparations for the Second World War, Jacqueline Kennedy's (The first lady of the United States during the presidency of John F Kennedy) visit to India in 1962, Dalai Lama's first visit to India in 1956, a congress meeting approving the partition of Pakistan, when Mountbatten's sworn in as governor-general, Nehru's speech after he was sworn in as the Prime Minister and many other visits to India by foreign leaders and so many important historical events of India she captured with the camera. In her early period of her career, her photos weren't allowed to be published with her name. Just because she is a woman, her photos were published with her husband's name. 

The Dalai Lama's visit to India. Image: Homai Vyarawalla

In those days, when women were not even sent to school, Homai graduated from Mumbai's famous J.J. College of Arts and Science. She started her career in the 1930s for the Mumbai based magazine known as 'The Illustrated Weekly of India'. She later worked for the 'Times of India'. From the first moment of Independence India, Homai captured every leader of India and traveled with them. But she did not capture the final moments of Mahatma Gandhi. That was the only regret in her life.

On the morning of Gandhi's assassination, she left to record that moment but her husband stopped her. So she didn't capture that moment. To compensate for it, the pictures she took of Gandhi's ashes were taken away, pictures of thousands of people crowded to see Gandhi's ashes at every railway station. Those pictures became the greatest asset of India. We can see those pictures are taken by her at Museums, Monuments, etc., Her pictures still speak today.

The great lady who captured so many unforgettable events of Independent India, Homai Vyarawalla was born on December 9, 1913, to a Parsi family in Navsari, Gujarat. She married Manekshaw Jamshetji, an accountant and photographer of Times of India. After her husband died in 1969, she decided to give up photography because she doesn't want to be in the culture of Paparazzi. 

"It was not worth it anymore. We had rules for photographers. We even followed a dress code. We treated each other with respect, like colleagues. But then, things changed for the worse. They were only interested in making a few quick bucks. I didn't want to be part of the crowd anymore" She stated these lines to the question of 'Why do you leave photography when you're at the peak of your profession'. 

After her son Farouq's death she lived all alone in a small apartment at Vadodara, Gujarat. She spent her time almost in gardening. The great soul died on January 15, 2012, at the age of 98. 

She was awarded Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award of India. Google created a doodle in the name of 'First Lady of the Lens' on her 104th birth anniversary in a way to honor her. She is one of the greatest assets of India. She was the lady who has taken up such a challenging profession even in the time when women were oppressed in society. 

Think Big! Aim Big! 

Happy Monday! 

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