Bilkis Dadi, the most recognisable face of the Shaheen Bagh protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, has gained renewed global prominence by featuring on BBC’s prestigious ‘100 Women of 2020‘ list. Credited this year to the women “who are leading change and making a difference during these turbulent times,” BBC has honoured Bilkis Bano, known fondly as the Shaheen Bagh Dadi, alongside three other Indian women and other world leaders, actors, activists, and researchers. This is Bilkis Bano’s second feature on a global list of honour, having previously appeared on ‘TIME’s 100 Most Influential People In The World.’
BBC’s list, released November 23, has categorised Bilkis under their Leadership column, among women activists and leaders from across the world, including Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin. 82-year-old Bilkis has been introduced on the list as a “Protest Leader,” as “part of a group of women who peacefully protested against a controversial citizenship law,” describing her as the “the face of a long-running protest at the capital’s Shaheen Bagh, the Muslim locality where the protests were held.”
A quote on women’s empowerment by Bilkis inserted by the BBC alongside her profile reads, “Women should feel empowered to step out of their homes and raise their voice, especially against injustice. If they don’t leave their homes, how will they showcase their strength?”
Bilkis Dadi’s TIME Recognition
Bilkis Bano was recognised by TIME in September this year, on their prestigious list of the 100 most influential people in the world. Journalist Rana Ayyub had written advance comments for Bilkis in the magazine, mentioning, “Bilkis deserves recognition so the world acknowledges the power of resistance against tyranny.”
Bilkis, though grateful, had responded to her TIME recognition saying, “I would have been much happier had our demand been fulfilled… had the government listened to us and given us what we wanted.” Along with her fellow protestors at Shaheen Bagh, the octogenarian had been actively demanding for a revocation of the CAA and NRC.
Who Is Bilkis Bano?
In what had been one of Delhi’s worst winters, January to March 2020, 82-year-old Bilkis, along with her two friends Asma Khatoon (90) and Sarwari (75), had been at the protest site in Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh every day, to protest against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act the centre had proposed. Amid growing fears of citizenship being lost out for several Indians, most notably Muslims, the women of Shaheen Bagh, a Muslim locality in the national capital’s southern parts, had led a sit-in protest to oppose the Act. The trio was famously hailed as “Dadis Of Shaheen Bagh” on social media.
The Shaheen Bagh protests had sparked a national revolution, inspiring many women-led protests across India, from Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, to Chennai.
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