Homai Vyarawalla

Homai Vyarawalla

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

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.

Read the café stories

Suggested Reading

See the journal

Diwali at Dishoom is back!

This year, on Thursday 20th October, we will celebrate the festival of light at Studio Spaces in Wapping. A night-time affair filled with poetry, live music and bespoke dance performances curated in partnership with our good friend Sweety Kapoor.

The Dishoom Canary Wharf story – Chapter one

Tuesday 12th April – 1973, BOMBAY. It is almost light outside. It must be about six. He’s been awake half the night trying to figure out what to do. Lying on his bed, he stares through the rotating blades of the ceiling fan which only serve to stir the close warm air of his room. He needs to think – he’s running out of time. But his eyes feel salted and his head throbs.

Soumik Datta: The Dishoom Interview

In August, we held a series of events to commemorate 75 Years of Indian Independence and the creation of Pakistan. Before the events took place, we were delighted to sit down with Soumik, a super-talented musician, composer and sarod player, who composed the musical score to accompany the 75 Years series. It was a real pleasure to discuss music, identity and inclusivity, amongst many other topics. We invite you to read on to learn more about how he created such a joyous atmosphere at our events.

An all-new café, coming soon

With greatest delight, we are beyond excited to share that this November we’ll be opening the doors to the brand-new, most fine and gorgeous Dishoom Canary Wharf! Our newest home, nestled in a little corner of Wood Wharf, will bring to life the glittering-shimmering, big-business, metropolitan scene of ‘70s Bombay. When fortunes were made and lost, swindles plotted and uncovered, and dreams were dreamed and broken.