The Richard Dawkins Award is bestowed upon individuals who “publicly proclaim the values of secularism, rationalism, upholding scientific truth.”
Lyricist Javad Akhtar is now a recipient of the prestigious Richard Dawkins award. He is also the only Indian to receive the honour.
Reacting to his win, Javed told NDTV that he was not expecting the award and was surprised that the organisers were even listening to what he was speaking about the Indian political climate. "I wasn't sure that these people would know what I am saying, what I am writing, what I am speaking from different podiums. But thank you very much. Mr Richard Dawkins' letter was a very very pleasant surprise," he said.
The Richard Dawkins Award is bestowed upon individuals who "publicly proclaim the values of secularism, rationalism, upholding scientific truth", since 2003. Previous recipients include Bill Maher, Stephen Fry and Ricky Gervais. Richard Dawkins is a renowned English ethologist, evolutionary biologist, and author.
Anil Kapoor wished the lyricist with a tweet. "Knowing that Richard Dawkins has been your hero since you read 'The Selfish Gene', the prestigious Richard Dawkins Award must be extra special for you @Javedakhtarjadu Saab! It's a truly incredible honour! Congratulations," he wrote.
Reacting to the news, Javed Akhtar's wife, actor Shabana Azmi wrote in a tweet, "Such marvellous news. Congratulations @Javedakhtarjadu.To win an award from your Hero is the ultimate validation." Dia Mirza wrote, "Javed Akhtar Saab has won the the prestigious Richard Dawkins Award 2020 for critical thinking, holding religious dogma upto scrutiny, advancing human progress and humanist values. He is the only Indian to have won this award! @Javedakhtarjadu Congratulations! You make us proud." Filmmaker Nikkhil Advani wrote, "Congratulations @Javedakhtarjadu for standing tall in the face of injustice and adversity. You are shining example to us all."
Javed often voices his opinions on public policies, secularism, communism in society and other social and political issues whether on Twitter, in newsrooms or at literary events. He recently tweeted about the unnecessary reopening of liquor shops during the lockdown, garnering support of other social media users as well.