‘BJP Targets Muslims’: TIME As Modi, Shaheen Bagh Dadi in Top 100

The description written for PM Modi in the TIME list is a stinging rebuke of BJP’s Hindutva politics.

3 min read
Hindi Female

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has featured as one of world’s ‘100 Most Influential People Of 2020’ according to a list released by TIME, but the description written for him is hardly a testimony of his leadership.

PM Modi featured in the list for the fourth time (featured before in 2014, 2015 and 2017) along with several other world leaders including Donald Trump, Kamala Harris, Joe Biden, Xi Jinping and Jair Bolsonaro among others.

The description was penned by TIME editor Karl Vick.

“India has been the world’s largest democracy for more than seven decades. Its population of 1.3 billion includes Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and other religious sects. All have abided in India, which the Dalai Lama (who has spent most of his life in refuge there) has lauded as “an example of harmony and stability,” the description read.

“Narendra Modi has brought all that into doubt. Though almost all of India’s Prime Ministers have come from the nearly 80% of the population that is Hindu, only Modi has governed as if no one else matters. First elected on a populist promise of empowerment, his Hindu-­nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party rejected not only elitism but also pluralism, specifically targeting India’s Muslims. The crucible of the pandemic became a pretense for stifling dissent. And the world’s most vibrant democracy fell deeper into shadow,” it further read.

Shaheen Bagh Dadi Features Alongside Modi

One of the participants of Shaheen Bagh’s anti-CAA protests, Bilkis, who became famous as the Shaheen Bagh Dadi earlier this year, has also featured in the list alongside Modi. The Shaheen Bagh protests were the BJP’s prime poll plank for Delhi elections earlier this year.

Writing for Bilkis, Rana Ayyub said that the 82-year-old became the voice of the marginalised in India amid protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act.

“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,” Ayyub wrote.

“She said to me as a parting note: “I will sit here till blood stops flowing in my veins so the children of this country and the world breathe the air of justice and equality.” Bilkis deserves recognition so the world acknowledges the power of resistance against tyranny,’” the description added.


Other Indian Names in the List

Ravindra Gupta

Indian-origin HIV biologist Professor Ravindra Gupta has also featured in the list as one of the ‘pioneers’.

Gupta is the professor of Clinical Microbiology and Wellcome Trust Senior Fellow in Clinical Science at The University of Cambridge and faculty at the Africa Health Research Institute in Durban, South Africa.

“Through the years, our partnership has developed and strengthened as Gupta has shared his knowledge and his enthusiasm to find a feasible cure for everyone. He has championed me and empowered me to become an ambassador of hope to millions of people living with HIV around the world,” Castillejo, a London patient and the second person ever to be functionally cured of HIV, wrote about Gupta.

“I’m so fortunate and humbled to know him, and to see how his dedication can conquer this disease,” Castillejo added.


Ayushmann Khurana

The only Bollywood star featuring in the list of ‘artists’, Ayushmann Khurana’s description was penned by Deepika Padukone.

“He had, of course, been a part of the entertainment industry in various other ways for several years before that, but the reason you and I talk about him today is because of the impact he has been able to create through memorable films and iconic characters. Where male protagonist roles often fall into the trap of stereotypical masculinity, Ayushmann has successfully and convincingly transformed into characters who challenge those very stereotypes,” Padukone wrote.


Sundar Pichai

Featuring under the list of ‘titans’, Alphabet CEO Pichai’s journey in Google was praised by one of Google’s competitors Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase.

“Taking the helm of an iconic American company and positioning it for long-term success in a way that reflects your values is no easy task. Sundar Pichai’s uniquely American story—emigrating from India as a young adult and working his way to become CEO of a $1 trillion corporation—represents the best of what we aspire for our society. He used his natural gifts and strong work ethic to rise through the ranks of Google (now Alphabet) by leading many of their most successful products, such as Drive, Gmail and Maps, and officially took the reins of the company in December,” Dimon wrote.

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