Javed Akhtar, a popular writer-lyricist, has won the prestigious Richard Dawkins Award 2020 for critical thinking, holding religious dogma, advancing human progress, and humanist values. Either on social media or sessions in different cities, Akhtar has been outspoken on issues such as CAA and Islamophobia.
Speaking to a news agency, Javed Akhtar said that he has been deeply honoured owing to the reason that he has been an admirer of Richard Dawkins ever since he read his first book titled, ‘The Selfish Gene’. The 75-year old lyricist said that he was informed via email about the honour and that he was unanimously selected for the award by the board of Center for Inquiry USA, in which The Richard Dawkins award is housed.
Although Akhtar had previously gotten into trouble for his remarks on Delhi violence, that didn’t stop him from voicing his opinions.
Every year, the award recognizes a distinguished science, scholarship, education, or entertainment individual who publicly proclaims the values of secularism and rationalism and upholds scientific truth.
Javed Akhtar’s wife Shabana Azmi speaking to a news agency said that the relevance of the award is becoming more prominent especially in the times when secularism is under attack.
The news was announced by Javed Akhtar’s daughter and well-known filmmaker Zoya Akhtar. Proud daughter, shared a picture of her father, alongside the picture she wrote, “So my dad just won the prestigious Richard Dawkins Award 2020 for Critical Thinking and advancing Humanist Values. He is the only Indian to have done so. Previous recipients include Bill Maher, Stephen Fry, Ricky Gervais, and Christopher Hitchens. Super excited for him.”
Actress Dia Mirza too took to her Twitter handle to congratulate Javed Akhtar on his great achievement. She tweeted, “@Javedakhtarjadu Congratulations! You make us proud.”
The award has been named after British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins and is being presented since 2003.