Octogenarian Bilkis of Shaheen Bagh has made it to the BBC’s top 100 women of the year list. According to BBC, this year 100 Women is highlighting those “who are leading change and making a difference during these turbulent times.” Bilkis was among several other elderly women who came to be known as dadis of Shaheen Bagh after they became as the face of anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests in the national capital.
Shaheen Bagh is a Muslim-dominated locality in South Delhi and came to limelight in December last year for holding round the clock protest demonstrations against the CAA. The protest was essentially led by the women,who braved the winter chill for weeks, and the elderly women became the face of the protest.
“At 82, Bilkis was part of a group of women who peacefully protested against a controversial citizenship law. She became the face of a long-running protest at the capital’s Shaheen Bagh, the Muslim locality where the protests were held. Indian journalist and author Rana Ayyub described her as “the voice of the marginalised,” the BBC wrote for Bilkis and called her ‘protest leader’.
Bilkis also featured in the Time’s 100 Influential People list in September which called her as the symbol of resistance. “Bilkis, along with thousands of women who joined her in Shaheen Bagh, a neighborhood in New Delhi, 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,” wrote journalist Rana Ayub in her note in Times on the 82-year-old daadi of Shaheen Bagh.
Other women who featured in the BBC’s top 100 list Sanna Marin, who leads Finland’s all-female coalition government, Michelle Yeoh, star of the new Avatar and Marvel films and Sarah Gilbert, who heads the Oxford University research into a coronavirus vaccine, as well as Jane Fonda, a climate activist and actress.
The BBC has left one spot vacant in this year’s list for the ‘unsung hero’ for making a difference. “In an extraordinary year – when countless women around the world have made sacrifices to help others – one name on the 100 Women list has been left blank as a tribute,” BBC said.