Updated: September 27, 2020 12:18:58 pm
Even as Delhi braved its coldest winter in over a century, 82-year-old Bilkis — with a smile on her face and a shawl around her shoulders — sat with hundreds of women under a canopied tent at the national capital’s Shaheen Bagh anti-CAA/NRC sit-in protest for over three months. Within days, Bilkis and the other elderly women who participated in the protest became the symbol of resistance and hope, and came to be fondly known as the “Dadis of Shaheen Bagh.”
TIME magazine has now included Bilkis in its list of “The 100 Most Influential People of 2020.”
Journalist and author Rana Ayyub, who has penned the piece for TIME magazine, says, “Bilkis became the voice of the marginalised… 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.”
In January, as the Shaheen Bagh sit-in inspired similar protests across the country, Bilkis had told The Indian Express, “We are old and we are not doing this for ourselves… This is for our children. Why else will we spend our days and nights during the coldest winter of our lives in the open?”
On January 26, Bilkis, along with the mothers of Rohith Vemula and Junaid Khan, hoisted the national flag at Shaheen Bagh as hundreds of people showed up there for Republic Day celebrations. At the time, the resilience of the “Dadis of Shaheen Bagh” was captured in songs, poems, slogans and graffiti as well.
Don’t miss from Explained | Women in armed forces: new strides, miles to go
In February, when an armed assailant fired at least two shots barely 50 metres away from the stage at Shaheen Bagh, Bilkis was at her spot near the stage. At the time, she told The Indian Express, “There was panic inside the tent but people eventually calmed down. We walked till the point where cartridges were found and offered prayers… These bullets don’t scare us.”
📣 Express Explained is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@ieexplained) and stay updated with the latest
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.