The list of 128 Padma awardees for 2011 was unveiled on the occasion of the 62nd Republic Day. This year, just two names from the field of media have made it to this list – India’s first woman photojournalist Homai Vyarawala (in the field of art and photography) and veteran journalist and author TJS George.
At 98, Vyarawala is the oldest Padma recipient. She is witness to nearly a century of India’s history and has captured the last days of the British Raj and emergence of an independent India through her lens.
Born in 1913 in Navsari, Gujarat, Vyarawala began her career as a photographer with the Bombay Chronicle in 1938. She then joined British Information Services as a press photographer and photographed several memorable events – the first Tricolour hoisting ceremony at Red Fort, departure of Lord Mountbatten, the funerals of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru.
Thayil Jacob Sony George, better known as TJS George, is currently editorial advisor of The New Indian Express. He is well-known for his hard-hitting political commentaries in his column and blog.
George began his career with the Free Press Journal in Mumbai in 1950, before joining International Press Institute, The Searchlight and the Far Eastern Economic Review. He then went on to become the founder Editor of Asiaweek magazine.
He has also authored several books – ‘Krishna Menon’, ‘Lee Kuan Yew’s Singapore’, ‘The Life & Times of Nargis’, ‘The Enquire Dictionary: Ideas, Issues, Innovations’, ‘The Enquire Dictionary of Quotations’, ‘The Lessons in Journalism - The Story of Pothan Joseph’, ‘MS: A Life in Music’ and the biography of V Krishna Menon.