Bilkis, one of the Shaheen Bagh dadis, has been included in TIME Magazine’s list of “The 100 Most Influential People of 2020.” Even in Delhi’s chilling winter, the 82-year-old was seen protesting with a shawl across her shoulders. She sat with hundreds of women under a canopied tent at the country’s capital. Moreover, these anti-CAA/NRC protests of Shaheen Bagh became extremely popular. Dadi Bilkis who sat with a smile on her face, along with others became a symbol of hope, resistance, and revolution. These elderly women in the protest came to be known as “Dadis of Shaheen Bagh.”
Rana Ayyub on Bilkis
Rana Ayyub, the journalist who authored the piece for TIME says, “Bilkis became the voice of the marginalized… Became the symbol of resistance in a nation where the voices of women and minorities were being systematically drowned out by the majoritarian politics of the Modi regime.”
More about Shaheen Bagh Dadi ‘Bilkis’
The popular Dadi Bilkis moved to Delhi eight years ago. Earlier, she lived in a village of Uttar Pradesh. According to the Telegraph, her children and grandchildren moved to the capital years ago. She came out to protest because of her concern for her kids being assaulted. A future with no children was her main concern.
However, before the protest, her life revolved around household chores. She was mostly busy cooking, bathing cattle, and working on the farm, the aforementioned report said.
The Parliament passed the Citizenship Amendment Act (2019) in December last year. This new act amends the Citizenship Act of 1955. As a result, it currently prohibits illegal migrants from gaining Indian citizenship.
The discriminatory CAA lead to protests in Shaheen Bagh, a neighbourhood in Delhi. This gained massive popularity as a large number of women came together to protest against the CAA. Moreover, many other protests were organized in other places like Mumbai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, and Chennai.
Bilkis, with mothers of Rohith Vermula and Junaid Khan, hoisted the country’s flag at Shaheen Bagh on this Republic day. Hundreds of people had shown up for the celebration. Moreover, songs, poems, slogans, graffiti captured the brave resilience of the “Dadis of Shaheen Bagh”.
The magnificent Shaheen Bagh protest went on for 101 days. However, the Delhi Police had to clear the area on March 24 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Dadi Bilkis on TIME’s 100 ‘Most Influential’
TIME Magazine’s ‘Most Influential People of 2020’ listed five Indians. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Ayushmann Khurranna, Professor Ravindra Gupta, Sundar Pichai, and Dadi Bilkis graced the list.
The popular annual list features those artists, leaders, titans, pioneers, and icons “who have had the most impact this year.”
The “Leaders” category includes PM Modi. On the other hand, Dadi Bilkis has been featured under the category of “Icons”.