Javed Akhtar becomes first Indian to win prestigious Richard Dawkins Award

Richard Dawkins Award: The previous recipients of this prestigious award include English- American intellectual, social critic, writer, and philosopher Christopher Hitchens and American TV Host, political commentator and comedian Bill Maher.

Created On: Jun 8, 2020 11:51 IST
Javed Akhtar wins Richard Dawkins Award
Javed Akhtar wins Richard Dawkins Award

Javed Akhtar, veteran Bollywood writer, and lyricist has become the first Indian to receive the Richard Dawkins Award 2020. He won the award for advancing human progress, critical thinking, and humanist value.

The award named after English evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins has been presented since 2003. The prestigious award is given to a distinguished individual from the world of scholarship, science, entertainment, and education.

The previous recipients of this prestigious award include English- American intellectual, social critic, writer, and philosopher Christopher Hitchens and American TV Host, political commentator and comedian Bill Maher.

Javed Akhtar on receiving the prestigious award:

Javed Akhtar who became the first Indian to receive the award has been known for his views on polity, art, culture, society, secularism, rising communal tensions, and religion. On hearing the news he mentioned that he was deeply honoured as he has been a great admirer of Richard Dawkins ever since he read his first book ‘The Selfish Gene’.

Mr. Akhtar received an email from Richard Dawkins informing that he has been unanimously selected for the award by the board of the centre for Inquiry USA in which The Richard Dawkins Foundation has been housed. The winner of the award further informed that Richard Dawkins has always been a fierce advocate of empirical science over superstition.

Being a great admirer of Dawkins, he has read all his books and that has strengthened his own views on the need to expose religious dogma as an enemy of rationality and critical thinking.

Shabana, Azmi, the evergreen and extremely talented actress and Javed Akhtar’s wife shared the news through her official Twitter account. She stated that the award’s relevance has become much more prominent in the current times as when secularism is under attacked.

Zoya Akhtar, a talented director, and Javed Akhtar’s daughter also shared the news through her Instagram account. Showing her excitement she mentioned that my dad just won the prestigious Richard Dawkins award 2020 and he is the only Indian to have done so.

Bollywood Actor Anil Kapoor also took to his twitter account to congratulate Javed Akhtar on his achievement.

Dia Mirza, a famous Bollywood actor also congratulated Javed Akhtar through her official twitter handle.

Javed Akhtar’s notable work:

Apart from the honour of receiving the Richard Dawkins Award, the famous lyricist, screenwriter and poet have also won many other prestigious awards for his notable work in the Indian cinema.

Akhtar has been a recipient of 5 National awards for the best lyricist for the movies Border, Lagaan, Refugee, Godmother, and Saaz. With an abundance of Filmfare awards in his name, he also won Sahitya Akademi Award in 2013 in Urdu. He was awarded Padma Shri in 1999 and Padma Bhushan in 2007.

Javed Akhtar has been known for his screenplay for the iconic movies such as Sholay, Deewar, Zanzeer along with Salim Khan. These movies also starred Bollywood Superstar Amitabh Bachchan.

About the Richard Dawkins Award:

Richard Dawkins is an annual award that has been presented by the Atheist Alliance of America. In 2019, it moved to the Centre for Enquiry. The award has been presented since 2003 and has been named after Richard Dawkins. He is an English evolutionary biologist who was named as the world’s top thinker in 2013 reader’s poll of the prospect magazine.

The award is given to distinguished individuals for their notable work in the fields of education, entertainment, science, or scholarship. The recipient must also publicly proclaim the values of rationalism and secularism while upholding the scientific truth wherever it may lead.

In 2019, Ricky Gervais was awarded Richard Dawkins award who is an English comedian, writer, actor, producer, and director.

Some other notable personalities honoured with this award are Stephen Fry, David Silverman, Lawrence M. Krauss, Jerry Coyne.

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