Shaheen Bagh ‘dadi’ Bilkis on TIME's 100 most influential people
Bilkis, the 82-year-old iconic protester from Shaheen Bagh, has been named among 100 most influential people by Time magazine.
Last year, the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) and Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) by the Government of India turned Shaheen Bagh, a neighbourhood in South Delhi, into what many regard as a symbol of resistance.
Before the coronavirus pandemic sent the country into lockdown, Bilkis was one among many women who remained at the forefront of the peaceful protest. Rana Ayyub, an investigative journalist and author of Gujarat Files: Anatomy of a Cover Up, described Bilkis as the voice of marginalised in India who sat at the protest site from eight in the morning till midnight.
Bilkis had told that she would sit there till the blood in her veins stopped flowing to fight for justice and equality for the children of India.
“When I first met Bilkis, she sat in the midst of a crowd, surrounded by young women who were protesting with placards displaying verses of revolution. She became a symbol of resistance in a nation where the voices of women and minorities were being systematically drowned by the majoritarian politics of the Modi regime,” Rana wrote.
The Shaheen Bagh protests went on for months and inspired similar demonstrations across Indian cities like Mumbai, Kolkata, and Delhi. Bollywood filmmaker Anurag Kashyap and late actor Sushant Singh Rajput had also visited Shaheen Bagh in solidarity of the protestors. Booker prize winning author Arundhati Roy has also been vocal against CAA.
Other actors like Swara Bhasker, Taapsee Pannu, and Dia Mirza have also voiced their support for the peaceful protestors.
The other Indians named in the coveted list of 100 most influential people include Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, Bollywood actor Ayushmann Khurrana, and professor Ravindra Gupta, who is known for treatment and research of HIV/AIDS.
Edited by Megha Reddy