In Dishoom King’s Cross, we pay homage to a particularly special, pioneering woman whose aim was to capture the world through her camera so that important moments in history might always be remembered and preserved.
Homai Vyarawalla was born into a humble Parsi family in 1913 and began working as a photojournalist in 1938. Despite whispers of disapproval and the forces of an orthodox society working against her, she went on to become India’s first female photojournalist and a champion chronicler of history.
Her extraordinary lifework spans three decades from the late 1930s to 1970, during which time she captured iconic moments from India’s history, such as the meeting of Gandhi and the Congress Committee to determine the vote for partition in 1947; the first Independence Day celebration; and the funerals of political leaders, such as Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru.
We love her images. They are poignant and captivating and allow us a glimpse of the most historic moments in India’s history. She captured both the euphoria and the disappointment that defined the independence and post-independence eras, with pictures that convey palpable human emotion.
Homai is without doubt, one of the most significant chroniclers Indian Independence and her pictures are indelible treasures that both current and future generations will be able to keep forever.
In our own small act of remembrance, we admire the images taken by this talented lady, who touched the lives of millions with her photos.
Gandhi addressing the All India Congress Committee delegates, 14th June 1947
A show of hands: voting for Partition, 14th June 1947
First Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru Swearing-In ceremony, 15th August, 1947
Lord Mountbatten among the jubilant crowds outside the Parliament House on 15th August, 1947.
Crowds congregating at the Red Fort, 16th August 1947, with the Jama Masjid in the background
Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the day before he left for Pakistan, 1947
Gandhiji’s body at Birla House, 31st January 1948
The Mountbatten family at Gandhi’s cremation at Rajghat, 31st January 1948
Nehru’s Cabinet, 1948
Homai Vyarawalla – India’s first woman photojournalist
Photos and captions courtesy of “India in Focus. Camera Chronicles of Homai Vyarawalla,” by Sabeena Gadihoke.
The Bacon Naan Roll has something of a cult following; it must surely be our signature breakfast dish. The freshly cooked naan is graced with a little cream cheese, tomato-chilli jam and fresh coriander, and wrapped around a few rashers of smoked streaked bacon from top supplier Ramsay of Carluke.
There are many varieties of Chai. The kind we make at Dishoom is the sort of spicy, sweet chai you will find at Bombay's innumerable tapris (street stalls), normally poured with great dexterity and skill from arm's length into a small, stout glass. The powerful concoction of milk, sugar and caffeine is what keeps the city running.
We began working with the Akshaya Patra Foundation in 2015, supporting them in their goal of ending hunger as a barrier to education in India. Over the years, we’ve developed lasting friendships with the incredible team and had the sincere privilege of visiting many of the schools and communities they serve in India. Last month, we celebrated reaching the milestone of donating 10 million meals to hungry children with Magic Breakfast and Akshaya Patra through our meal for a meal partnership. Akshaya Patra’s CEO and Trustee, Bhawani Singh Shekhawat, kindly took the time to reflect on the impact of the foundation’s life-changing work.
We began working with Magic Breakfast in 2015, supporting them in their goal of ending hunger as a barrier to education in the UK. Over the years, we’ve developed lasting and loyal friendships with the incredible team and their partner schools. This month, we celebrate reaching the milestone of donating 10 million meals to hungry children in partnership with Magic Breakfast and Akshaya Patra. Magic Breakfast’s Head of Schools, Rachael Anderson, has kindly taken the time to reflect on the last six years of our work together, as well as sharing her thoughts on the profound impact the past twelve months have had.