India's First Female Photojournalist Captures The Vote For Partition

India's First Female Photojournalist Captures The Vote For Partition
Homai Vyarawalla Archives, Alkazi Collection of Photography

As we celebrate the fact that the Republic of India is an independent sovereign State today, we’d like to, as predicted, take a trip down history’s memory lane, and revisit the conference that declared August 15, 1947 as India’s day of Independence. Just a few months before this date, June 3, an iconic conference gave us this day to celebrate. It also gave us a dotted line running through the map of the former state of India, creating a whole new country called Pakistan in the process. And spilling a whole lot of blood in its wake.

On June 3, 1947, the All Indian Congress Committee (AICC) voted on the Mountbatten Plan that divided India into two parts based on religious politics. Communal disagreements between Hindus and Muslims had been boiling for decades, culminating in the All India Muslim League fighting for a separate state to maintain a Muslim identity, and the Indian National Congress led by Nehru pushing the same agenda. As India’s first female photojournalist fought gender biases in 20th century India, she captured this iconic meeting despite societal prejudice as a barrier. Owing to Homai Vyarawalla’s grit, we can now step into 1947 and experience history in the making through the poignancy of her black and white lens.

Here are some of the most iconic photographs taken by her:

Gandhi addressing delegates of the AICC on June 2, 1947. Image Source: Homai Vyarawalla walla Archives, Alkazi Collection of Photography
The AICC voting for the Partition of India, Image Source: Homai Vyarawalla Archives, Alkazi Collection of Photography
Congress voting for Partition; Image source: searchkashmir.org
The AICC voting for the Partition of India, Image Source: Homai Vyarawalla Archives, Alkazi Collection of Photography
Jinnah at his last Press Conference before leaving for Pakistan; August 1947, Image Source: Homai Vyarawalla Archives, Alkazi Collection of Photography
Jawaharlal Nehru voting for the motion to ratify partition, June 1947. Image Source: Homai Vyarawalla Archives, Alkazi Collection of Photography

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