By Arré Bench Sep. 23, 2020
Bilkis, popularly known as “The Dadi of Shaheen Bagh”, is 82. She was named one of 2020’s Most Influential People by TIME Magazine, because of her undaunted participation in the sit-in protest at Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh against the CAA. The list also features PM Narendra Modi, and Ayushmann Khurrana.
The TIME Magazine list of the world’s 100 Most Influential People is out for 2020, and three Indians are featured. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi and actor Ayushmann Khurrana making the list is not surprising, given their fame, power, and influence, the third Indian personality earned her place on the list through sheer resolve and an inspirational display of courage. The 82-year-old Bilkis, popularly known as “The Dadi of Shaheen Bagh”, was named one of 2020’s Most Influential People because of her undaunted participation in the sit-in protest at Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh, where women spent over 100 days protesting the Central government’s Citizenship Amendment Act.
82-year-old Bilkis, who is fondly known as one of the "Dadis of Shaheen Bagh" has been included in TIME's list of 'The 100 Most Influential People of 2020.' @somyalakhani #ExpressExplainedhttps://t.co/O9iBwpC7NE
— Express Explained (@ieexplained) September 23, 2020
Bilkis is one of the many women who joined the sit-in protest, becoming a symbol of resistance against a new law that sought to discriminate against those seeking Indian citizenship on the basis of their religion. In her profile of Bilkis for TIME, author and activist Rana Ayyub wrote, “Bilkis gave hope and strength to activists and student leaders who were being thrown behind bars for standing up for the unpopular truth in a democracy that was sliding into authoritarianism, and inspired peaceful copycat protests across the country.”
Bilkis from Shaheen Bagh is TIME magazine's hundred most influential of the year. It was an honour to write about herhttps://t.co/fhab9uQ0M4
— Rana Ayyub (@RanaAyyub) September 23, 2020
Though she was but one among the hundreds of women, many of them senior citizens like her, who participated in the Shaheen Bagh protests, Bilkis became the face of movement. When Ayyub visited the protest site, Bilkis told her, “I will sit here till blood stops flowing in my veins so the children of this country and the world breathe the air of justice and equality.” As someone who was born before India even achieved independence from British rule, Bilkis has a unique perspective on how things have been changing in the country, and took up the duty of safeguarding the same rights she enjoyed for future generations.
So amazing to see dadi of SB among the TIME 100 most influential. The women who led the revolution last yr have been an embodiment of empowerment & have shown the world how when women organize to fight against the wrong, no power can stop them. We have much to learn from them. pic.twitter.com/luTLrS2WZf
— Hasiba | حسيبة 🌈 (@HasibaAmin) September 23, 2020
Bilkis’s courage has been hailed by everyone. The Shaheen Bagh protest unfolded in the middle of the bitterest winter Delhi had witnessed in over a century.
'Dadi' Bilkis Bano's and her reclamation of the Constitution in Shaheen Bagh was one of the most inspiring acts this year. https://t.co/nq3lmCndKJ
— Karuna Nundy (@karunanundy) September 23, 2020
— Ahmer Khan (@ahmermkhan) September 23, 2020
Bilkis had then spoken up about how she and her fellow protestors were vilified by the TV media as the “Tukde Tukde” gang.
Shaheen Bagh protester Bilkis is among TIME’s most influential people of 2020. Watch what she and her compatriots had to say about Indian TV media vilifying them as part of 'tukde tukde gang'. pic.twitter.com/3oAzpKV3AI
— newslaundry (@newslaundry) September 23, 2020
Symbol of Resistance
Face of the worlds' biggest Feminist Revolution " Shaheen Bagh ".
Bilkis among top 100 influential person in Times Magazine. pic.twitter.com/uRSTrrk3bN
— Abul Farah Shazli (@FarahShazli) September 23, 2020
While PM Modi’s profile on the list of Most Influential People is far from flattering, Bilkis’ own profile is a reminder that India will always have voices celebrating her diversity.