Symbol of Resistance: How Bilkis Dadi Made it to TIME’s Top 100

Battling cold winter nights in Delhi, Bilkis Dadi protested from 8 am to midnight, becoming a voice of marginalised.

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Bilkis Bano, fondly known as 'Bilkis Dadi' of Shaheen Bagh has featured as one of world’s ‘100 Most Influential People Of 2020’ according to a list released by TIME.

Bilkis Bano is one face that pops in your head when you recall the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act that shook India and grabbed eyeballs globally. During the protests, the women at Delhi's Shaheen Bagh, became a powerhouse of hope, strength and determination.

The protests continued at a stretch for 101 days and inspired Shaheen Bagh style sit-ins across the country and Bilkis Bano became the movement’s icon.

Battling harsh winter nights in Delhi, the 82-year-old clocked hours from 8 am to midnight, with prayers on her lips and placards in her hand, soon becoming the voice of the marginalised.

Wrinkled face, lean frame yet a determination in her eyes and a sparkling smile, Bilkis Dadi never shied away from answering tough questions - on allegations that she and the other women were being paid to protest, on the death of an infant during protests in Shaheen Bagh and on PM Modi.

I’ll give Modi ji Rs 1 lakh to come and sit with us for four days. They’re saying we are here for Rs 500 and biryani. But biryani we have everyday. Biryani is not something new for the people of Shaheen Bagh.
Bilkis Bano had said in January 2020

"A four-month-old child died and you are pained so much. When 40 students were injured, that didn't pain you? That four-month-old child died. He only had this long to live. Even I have to die one day," Bilkis had said when the Supreme Court had taken cognisance of the matter in February this year.

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.
Bilkis Bano had said in February 2020

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

“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,’” Ayyub wrote.

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