A symbol of resistance and determination for everyone at Shaheen Bagh and beyond, 82-year-old Bilkis has now been recognised as “The 100 Most Influential People of 2020″ by the TIME magazine. She was one among the elderly women who stayed on at the Shaheen Bagh protest site–through the coldest winter Delhi had witnessed in about a 100 years–to protest the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) which could potentially deny citizenship to Muslims in India.
Journalist Rana Ayyub, who wrote about Bilkis on the occasion for TIME, recounted what she had told her on a visit to Shaheen Bagh: “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, among the other elderly women, was a symbol of the peaceful resistance movement that was launched against the draconian CAA passed by the government. Her presence at the Shaheen Bagh shelter was a beacon of hope for the minority Muslim population whose voices are increasingly being stifled by an authoritarian anti-pluralist government.
As they became beacons of hope and resistance for people across the country and beyond, Bilkis and the other elderly women who had come to be popularly known as the ‘dadis of Shaheen Bagh’ would wait patiently to talk to everyone–media reporter, well-wisher or just another protestor at the site.
According to The Indian Express, Bilkis had said that she was at the helm of the nationwide protests against CAA and NRC to make it a better world for their children to live in. When an armed assailant fired at the Shaheen Bagh protest site barely metres away from the stage, Bilkis had determinedly said, “These bullets don’t scare us.”
Featured Image Source: TIME