Actor Gal Gadot has honoured Bilkis, the elderly woman who became a mascot for the anti-CAA protests at New Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh — as a ‘personal Wonder Woman’, someone who inspired her this year. The actor shared a post highlighting contributions of several women, including public figures such as Bilkis and New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern, and also her friends.
In a now-deleted Instagram Story, Gal had miscredited Bilkis as an ‘82-year-old activist fighting for women’s equality in India’. Bilkis remains a part of a separate post shared by the actor, which she captioned, “Saying farewell to 2020, with all my love to #MyPersonalWonderWomen. Some are those closest to me – my family, my friends – some are inspiring women I’ve loved discovering, and some are exceptional women I hope to meet in the future. Together, we can do wonders! Share your own wonder women with me.” The post, however, doesn’t include any description.
After her involvement in this year’s protests, Bilkis made headlines again recently, when she was named among the 100 Most Influential People of 2020 by Time. In a testimonial written by journalist Rana Ayyub, Bilkis was described as ‘the voice of the marginalized in India, an 82-year-old who would sit at a protest site from 8 am to midnight.’
The report quoted Bilkis as saying, “I will sit here till blood stops flowing in my veins so the children of this country and the world breathe the air of justice and equality.”
Actor Kangana Ranaut has been critical of Bilkis, and claimed in a now-deleted tweet that she was available to sit for protests for a sum. “Ha ha ha, she is the same dadi who featured in Time magazine for being the most powerful Indian… And she is available in 100 rupees. Pakistani journos have hijacked international PR for India in an embarrassing way. We need our own people to speak for us internationally,” Kangana had written, misidentifying a different woman as Bilkis, and earning a legal notice as a result.
Gal most recently appeared as Diana Prince in Wonder Woman 1984. The film was released in Indian theatres on December 24.
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