82-year old Bilkis Bano, better known as the Shaheen Bagh ‘dadi’ has been named Person of the Year alongside Professor Ilhan Tohti by ‘The Muslim 500: The World’s 500 Most Influential Muslims’.
The publication says Bilkis Bano “has managed to mobilise and inspire many to stand up against an ideology that is threatening to destroy India as we know it.” It lauds her for “starting a simple Gandhian sit-in protest on a road in her locality of Shaheen Bagh in Delhi” and how that helped “bring the world’s attention to India’s slide into Hindutva”. Bilkis Bano has been named Woman of the Year by the publication.
Moreover, this is not the first time international publications have taken notice of Bilkis Bano. She was called a global icon by Time magazine that listed her among its 100 most influential people, she featured in BBC’s list of 100 most inspiring women of the year and also shared the prestigious Quaid Millat Award.
Meanwhile, Ilhan Tohti, a professor of Economics who used to host the Uyghur Online website before it was shut down by Chinese authorities was named Man of the Year. Tohti has been in prison since 2014 as he had used his website to advocate rights of Uyghurs and asked why they were denied economic opportunities by the Chinese authorities. Many Uyghurs are forced to live in ‘re-education’ camps where they are forced to denounce Islam and their culture.