Bollywood lyrcist and scriptwriter Javed Akhtar has won the prestigious Richard Dawkins Award 2020 for critical thinking, holding religious dogma upto scrutiny, advancing human progress and humanist values.
He becomes the first Indian to win the award which was previously helmed by Bill Maher and Christopher Hitchens and many more.
“I am deeply honoured. I have been a great admirer of Richard Dawkins ever since I read his first book The Selfish Gene. I received an email from him informing me that I had been unanimously selected for the award by the board of Center for Inquiry USA, in which The Richard Dawkins Foundation is housed,” Akhtar told PTI.
Javed Akhtar becomes the first Indian to win Richard Dawkins Award
Every year, the award recognises a distinguished individual from the field of science, scholarship, education, or entertainment, who publicly proclaims the values of secularism and rationalism and upholding scientific truth.
The veteran screenwriter said Dawkins is a “fierce advocate” of empirical science over superstition and he has read all his books. “His books have strengthened my own views on the need to expose religious dogma as an enemy of critical thinking and rationality,” Akhtar added.
Congratulating Javed for his big win, his actress wife Shabana wrote, “Such marvellous news. Congratulations @Javedakhtarjadu.To win an award from your Hero is the ultimate validation.”
Such marvellous news . Congratulations @Javedakhtarjadu.To win an award from your Hero is the ultimate validation jaduakhtarhttps://www.ndtv.com/video/news/news/javed-akhtar-wins-richard-dawkins-award-550966
— Azmi Shabana (@AzmiShabana) June 7, 2020
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Javed who has written the screenplay for iconic movies like ‘Deewar, Zanjeer’, and ‘Sholay’ along with Salim Khan, has earlier been awarded Padma Shri (1999), Padma Bhushan (2007).