Asia Discussion

82 year old Muslim Woman among TIME’s Most Influential

Written by Shoaib

Soon after India introduced the oppressive anti-Muslim ‘National Register of Citizens’ (NRC) bill and ‘Citizen Amendment Act’ (CAA), a group of elderly grandmas began a protest in ‘Shaheen Bagh’. Bilkis and her fellow grandmas became known as the ‘Shaheen Bagh Dadis’ or the ‘Grandmas of Shaheen Bagh’. Now, TIME Magazine has included the most vocal amongst them, Bilkis Dadi, in the ‘100 Most Influential People in the World in 2019’.

Download the Muslim World Journal app for Android by clicking here

The Anti-Muslim laws of NRC and CAA saw a two pronged attack at taking away citizenship from Muslims. While one law would outlaw anyone without specific documents of proof, regardless of religion, another law would ensure people adhering to non-Muslim faiths would be allowed to apply for citizenship. Muslims, on the other hand, would be stateless in their own country.

Muslims have been in India for 1400 years. To learn about how Muslims enriched India, you can pre-order our new book on Muslim history by clicking here.

The Shaheen Bagh protest went on for 101 days and the grandmas stood their ground every single day. When asked why she felt the need to do this, Bilkis replied “We are old and we are not doing this for ourselves…This is for our children. Why else will we spend our days and nights during the coldest winter of our lives in the open?”

India’s extreme right wing Prime Minister Narendra Modi belittled the grandmas of Shaheen Bagh saying they were paid protestors. Bilkis replied to this claim saying “Modi you accuse us that we have been bought, we do not have use of such money” going on to say “Do you think you can’t be unseated? We will unseat you within minutes if you don’t take CAA and NRC back”

The grandmas of Shaheen Bagh have ignited protests, graffiti, poems and slogans across India.

Rana Ayyub, who wrote for TIME magazine article, said “Bilkis became the voice of the marginalised… 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.”

The protestors were cleared on 24 March due to Coronavirus. Bilkis and her fellow grandmas agreed with pausing the protests and told the public “The fight against CAA is not over yet, but we have to first fight Coronavirus”

“We offered our Salah, kept our fasts, read our tasbeeh, kept our honour. We live and here by the grace of Allah. We have no need of anyone else…Allah alone is with us”

– Bilkis Dadi

The ‘Dadis of Shaheen Bagh’ inspired protests all across the country. Their popularity has lead to poems and songs about them, as well as graffitti and slogans.

Download the Muslim World Journal app for Android by clicking here

India’s right wing BJP government has been long accused of taking anti-Muslim steps. From cow-vigilantes killing Muslims unchecked, to Police being involved in the lynching of Muslims, there has been concerns from around the world and from inside India. As night falls in India, TV anchors sing praises of the government and almost daily create false news stories against Muslims, such as claiming that Muslims are the cause of Coronavirus.

PLEASE NOTE: We are writing a book titled “30 Days that Changed the Muslim World”. You can find out more and pre-order by clicking here

Muslim World Journal relies on your support to stay active. You can support our fight against fake news against the Muslim world by contributing a small token monthly by clicking here

Stay informed with the Muslim world

Join our newsletter of over 20,000 people to keep up to the date with the latest news from the Muslim world.

About the author


CEO of | Director of the Organisation for the Conservation of Islamic Heritage | President of | Editor Muslim World Journal | Pharmacist | You can find me on Instagram and Facebook

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Muslim World Journal