The recently released TIME magazine’s 100-most influential global personalities list had a few interesting entries to it, one of them being Bilkis Bano, a senior woman who steadfastly protested against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) last year.
Given the title of “Dadi of Shaheen Bagh”, the 82-year-old joined some of the most influential Indians in the list including PM Modi himself.
Bilkis Dadi became a popular face during the anti-CAA protests that were largely held in and around Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh.
She was commended for her resilience to keep protesting even during the bitterly cold winters of the city and her senior age. She would walk to and fro her house day after day and sit and protest at Shaheen Bagh from day to night.
In the TIME piece, journalist Rana Ayyub wrote a few lines for Bilkis Dadi, saying,
“With prayer beads in one hand and tricolor in the other, Bilkis became the voice of the marginalized in India, an 82-year-old who would sit at a protest site from 8 a.m. to midnight.”
She further added that “Bilkis gave hope and strength to activists & student leaders who were being thrown behind bars for standing up for unpopular truth in a democracy that was sliding into authoritarianism.”
What Did Bilkis Dadi Say On This?
The list that came out yesterday, on Wednesday, featured many people who are pioneers, artists, leaders, icons and titans who have had the most impact in 2020.
Bilkis Bano was put along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, actor Ayushman Khurrana, biologist Ravindra Gupta and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai who were on the list of ‘100 Most Influential People of 2020’.
Speaking to ANI after this news came out, she said, “I am very happy that I was honoured in this manner. Although I did not expect this.”
In a sweet manner, she also congratulated PM Modi on his place on the list and said, “I have read only the Quran Sharif and I have never been to school but today I feel excited and happy. I congratulate Prime Minister Narendra Modi for also being included in this list. He is also my son. So what if I did not give birth to him, my sister has given birth to him. I pray for his long life and happiness.”
She did convey her mixed feelings on this though, stating she would have been even happier if the government had listened to their protests and some change could have come from that.
Her son Manzoor Ahmad told PTI over the phone that “When we told her that she has been declared as one of the most influential people in the world, she just said ”okay”.”
Speaking to the media, Bilkis Dadi did say that, “I am thankful to the almighty. I would have been much happier had our demand been fulfilled…had the government listened to us and given us what we wanted (withdrawal of the Citizenship Amendment Act).”
She also conveyed her dismay that they had to stop the protests because of the coronavirus pandemic.
However, she is adamant that right now the nation needs to beat COVID-19 and emerge safely from it.
She stated, “Our first fight is against coronavirus. The disease should be eliminated from the world.”
Image Credits: Google Images
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