Shaheenbagh ki Bilkis Didi
Shaheenbagh ki Bilkis Didi

Shaheenbagh ki Bilkis Dadi, climate activist Riddhima Pandey, singer Isaivani and para-athlete Manasi Joshi make it to BBC's list of 100 Women for the Year for inspiring and influencing women from around the world for 2020.

82-year-old Bilkis Dadi, who also made it to TIME Magazine's 100 most influential people list of 2020, was the face of the Equal Citizenship Movement that started at Shaheen Bagh, Delhi. She and the protesting women became powerful global symbols of peaceful resistance.

Bilkis Dadi, and the protesters at Shaheen Bagh opposed Delhi Police's investigation that had projected the equal citizenship fight against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) as some conspiracy to cause riots.

Shaheen Bagh became the epicentre of the anti-CAA protests as women with young children staged a sit-in there for over three months. The protest was called off in view of the coronavirus outbreak.

Ridhima Pandey, climate activist, was moved after the devastation caused due to floods in Uttarakhand. She filed a complaint on the government over its inaction towards implementing environment laws. Her petition demanded that industrial projects be assessed, and pointed out at vulnerabilities causing pollution.

Isaivani, a girl from an impoverished background, neither went to school nor learnt Carnatic music due to poverty, went on to be the only female gaana singer of The Casteless Collective group, a consortium of young musicians from the slums of Dharavi and Chennai. The group showcased music that is indigenous to their lifestyle and culture.

Manasi Joshi, an Indian para-athlete, is the current para-badminton world champion.

She met with an accident in 2011, which led to the amputation of her leg. But this didn’t deter her to pursue her dream on the court. With a prosthetic leg, she had to relearn the game and turn her hobby for badminton into a challenge. She learnt to walk, play, overcame obstacles, and went on to win gold at the World Para-badminton Championships in 2019 in Switzerland.

In June 2020, the Badminton World Federation ranked her world number two in the singles.

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Free Press Journal