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Shaheen Bagh ‘dadi’ Bilkis Bano, three other Indians in BBC’s 2020 list of inspiring women

Besides Bano, para-athlete Manasi Joshi, 12-year-old climate activist Ridhima Pandey and 'gaana' singer Isaivani are among the 100 women BBC listed.

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New Delhi: Bilkis Bano, fondly known as the Shaheen Bagh ‘dadi’, along with world para-badminton champion Manasi Joshi, climate activist Ridhima Pandey and ‘gaana‘ singer Isaivani are among the Indians listed in BBC’s 100 Inspiring and Influential Women of 2020.

The list, released Tuesday, was divided into four categories — knowledge, leadership, creativity and identity. Apart from the four Indian women, Finland Prime Minister Sanna Marin and Sarah Gilbert, who heads the Oxford University research into a Covid-19 vaccine, were in the list of women who made a “difference during these turbulent times”.

Bano, 82, was recognised as one of the many women who peacefully protested against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) late last year in Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh. In September, the TIME magazine had also included her in its list of 100 most influential people of 2020.

Joshi, 31, who lost her leg in a road accident in 2011 was recognised as a “change-maker”. She was ranked world number two in the SL3 (standing/lower limb impairment/minor) by the Badminton World Federation in June this year. Last month, she also appeared on the cover of TIME magazine’s Asia edition and was listed as a “Next Generation Leader”.

“Extremely honoured and thankful to BBC for including me in their list of 100 women of 2020…I’m privileged to play a sport, continue playing it and continue changing perspectives of people through it,” said the para-athlete in a tweet Wednesday.

Also read: BBC appoints retired judge to probe ‘controversial’ 1995 interview of Princess Diana

12-year-old climate activist & singer breaking age-old tradition 

Pandey, a 12-year-old climate activist from Haridwar, Uttarakhand, has been recognised for her efforts to “empower other students, at all levels, to fight for their future and for the biodiversity of the world”. The BBC also noted that at the age of nine, Pandey had filed a petition against the Indian government in response to its inaction to mitigate climate change.

She was one of 16 child activists, including Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who had filed a lawsuit against five countries at the United Nations. Pandey was also involved in the ‘Save Thano Forest’ protest against the Uttarakhand government’s move to expand the Dehradun airport by felling approximately 10,000 trees.

The UNICEF India congratulated the young “climate warrior” on making it to the list.

Isaivani is a gaana singer, a form that emerged from working class neighbourhoods of North Chennai, Tamil Nadu. She is the only women member of Chennai-based band ‘The Casteless Collective’. Isaivani was recognised for having “spent years singing and performing in this male-dominated space”. The BBC also noted that she has “broken an age-old tradition” and inspired other women gaana singers to pursue music.

“November 24 is a day that I will never forget. I learnt of the news as soon as I got up. I am at a loss of words,” the singer said in an interview to The New Indian Express.

Also read: This is why Dalit women are singing Tathagata Buddha songs in UP


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  1. Bilkis Bano “protested peacefully” in Shaheen Baug?
    What lengths will The Print go to propaganda the false narrative?
    By the way, your Congress source of funding is drying up!!


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