Shaheen Bagh’s Dadi, 13-Yr-Old Ridhima Among BBC Women of the Year

Bilkis Dadi was also listed in TIME’s 100 most influential people earlier this year.

3 min read
Shaheen Bagh’s Dadi, 13-Yr-Old Ridhima Among BBC Women of the Year

Four Indian Women have featured in BBC's list of 100 Women for the year. These extraordinary women who have garnered global admiration and made the country incredibly proud are:

  • Bilkis Bano
  • Isaivani
  • Manasi Joshi
  • Ridhima Pandey

Bilkis Bano aka Shaheen Bagh ki Bilkis Dadi

After featuring on TIME Magazine's 100 most influential people list of 2020, Shaheen Bagh's Bilkis Dadi has made it to BBC's list of 100 Women for the year.

The 82-year old rose to prominence after participating in the daily sit-ins at Shaheen Bagh, one of the most notable peaceful protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) introduced by the Modi government.

Bilkis Bano, who is famously and fondly referred to as ‘Bilkis Dadi’ became a symbol of resistance, perseverance and hope for the people protesting against the controversial law in the national capital.

Rana Ayyub, an Indian journalist and author of Gujarat Files, described her as the “voice of the marginalised”, BBC noted.


In February 2020, she said, “We are saying this from the beginning ‘Modi ji, you still have time to take this law (CAA) back. We will go back to our home.’ We are not sitting here for fun. We have been sitting here leaving behind our homes and kids. Modi ji hasn’t budged at all. So, even we will not budge by a hair’s breadth. We will continue to stay put here.”

BBC also quoted her encouraging women from marginalised communities to speak up against Modi’s highly majoritarian politics, saying,

“Women should feel empowered to step out of their homes and raise their voices, especially against injustice. If they don’t leave their homes, how will they showcase their strength?”
Bilkis Bano

Ridhima Pandey

Ridhima Pandey is a climate activist who, at the age of nine, filed a petition against the Government of India in response to its inaction to mitigate climate change.

“In 2019, along with 15 other child petitioners, Ridhima filed a lawsuit against five countries at the UN.”
BBC India

In 2019, in an interview with India Today, Ridhima Pandey had said:

“I am here because I want all the global leaders to do something to stop climate change because if it’s not going to be stopped it’s going to harm our future…So if we want to stop global warming we have to do something now.”


BBC’s press release describes Isaivani as “a distinctive gaana singer in India.”

“Gaana music emerged fromthe working class neighbourhoods of North Chennai in Tamil Nadu. Isaivani has spent years singing and performing in the male-dominated space. To perform on the same stage as other popular male singers can be considered an achievement by itself. Isaivani has successfully broken an age-old tradition, which has led other young female gaana singers to comeforward and express themselves.”
BBC Press release

Manasi Joshi

Manasi Joshi is an Indian para-athlete and is the current para-badminton world champion.

“In June 2020, the Badminton World Federation ranked her world number two in the SL3 singles. Manasi is also an engineer and a change-maker. She aspires to drive a shift in how disability and para-sports are perceived in India.”
BBC Press release

(With inputs from BBC)

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