Popular writer-lyricist Javed Akhtar is the first Indian to get honoured with Richard Dawkins Award 2020. He received the award for critical thinking, holding religious dogma and up to scrutiny, advancing human progress and humanist values. Speaking about the honour, he told IANS that it is a fulfilment of a dream he had not even seen in dreams especially when his name was included in the list with previous recipients such as comedian Bill Maher and philosopher Christopher Hitchens. Also Read - COVID-19 Positive: After Rekha, Farhan Akhtar’s Security Guard Tests Positive
Feeling honoured with the award, he said, “I am deeply honoured to receive the Richard Dawkins Award 2020. I have admired Richard Dawkins ever since I read his first book ‘The Selfish Gene’. I have since then read every book of his and ‘The God Delusion’ is my absolute favourite. To have my name included in the distinguished list of the previous recipients such as Bill Maher and Christoper Hitchens is the fulfilment of a dream I had not even seen.” Also Read - Farhan Akhtar on Abhay Deol's 'Lobbying in Award Shows' Post: If You Seek Validation, You'll be Disappointed
Akhtar told Indian Express that an artiste has often been on the receiving end of abuse on social media and he never looked for any validation but he never doubted his views on religious fundamentalism. He added that it is special that a huge institution noticed his writings. Also Read - Sleep My Brother Sleep, Let The Vultures Gather & Crocodiles Weep: Farhan Akhtar's Poem For Sushant Singh Rajput
“This win will tell the world that there are people in India who express views which are sometimes not popular. Democracy has given us a gift, and we will always protect it”, he was quoted as saying by Indian Express.
His wife Shabana Azmi also expressed that she is thrilled and said that the win is matters a lot during the times where ‘secularism is being attacked by religious fundamentalists’. “I am thrilled! I know what a hero Richard Dawkins has been for Javed. The award gains all the more significance because in today’s time when secularism is being attacked by religious fundamentalists of all hues , this award comes as a validation of Javed’s long service to rational thinking”, she said.