Mumbai: Renowned Bollywood lyricist and scriptwriter Javed Akhtar has been honoured with the prestigious Richard Dawkins Award 2020.
The veteran is the first Indian to bag the Richard Dawkins Award for critical thinking, holding religious dogma up to scrutiny, advancing human progress and humanist values.
On being honoured with the award, Javed Akhtar told PTI, “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.”
The Richard Dawkins Award is given to a distinguished individual every year from the field of science, scholarship, education, or entertainment, who publicly speaks about secularism and rationalism, while upholding scientific truth.
According to Javed Akhtar, 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,” added the scriptwriter.
Congratulating Javed, his wife Shabana wrote, “Such marvellous news. Congratulations @ Javedakhtarjadu.To win an award from your Hero is the ultimate validation.”
Javed Akhtar is known for writing screenplay for blockbuster movies like ‘Deewar’, ‘Zanjeer’, and ‘Sholay’ along with Salman’s father Salim Khan.
He has also been awarded with Padma Shri (1999), and Padma Bhushan (2007).