The face of Bilkis had become quite popular during the days when the Shaheen Bagh sit-in in New Delhi became the centre stage of the anti-CAA protests in the nation and occupied the attention of media.
Bilkis as a muslim woman and perhaps one of the oldest in the large crowd of women who sat day and night at the protest site, captured our imagination due to her determination and vehement political stand. Holding a placard that read out verses from revolutionary compositions and a flag in the other hand, an 82 year Bilkis stood out. The cold and chilly winter nights of December couldn’t persuade a woman like Bilkis from refraining herself from joining the protest site and she continued to come there everyday, sitting there from the early hours of the morning until late at night, chatting, singing and sharing the political spirit with thousands of other ordinary women under the tent at Shaheen Bagh.
In a nation where women’s voices were often clouded by those of their male counterparts, the mere presence of Bilkis gave birth to an altogether new narrative. Peaceful yet firm, compassionate yet determined, Bilkis became the face of the Shaheen Bagh protests. Today Bilks has been named in Time magazine’s list of “The 100 Most Influential People in 2020.” The other Indians who have also been named in this list are PM Narendra Modi Ayushman Khurana, Ravindra Gupta, Sundar Pichai.
While Bilkis features on this prestigious list, several activists and organisers of the protest have been taken into police custody for their alleged involvement in a conspiracy to overthrow the government and indulge in the outbreak of communal riots that shook Delhi in February.