Javed Akhtar recently won the 2020 ‘Richard Dawkins Award’ from the Center for Inquiry (CFI). The award recognizes that “The recipient will be a distinguished individual from the worlds of science, scholarship, education or entertainment, who publicly proclaims the values of secularism and rationalism, upholding scientific truth wherever it may lead,” as according to a CFI press release. He is the first Indian to receive the award.
An elated Akhtar told Indian Express, “These are the people of the same ideology, but I wasn’t sure they would know of my existence or what I have written and my opinions. I had no idea it would reach so far! So, it is a huge recognition. Validation is for someone who has even an iota of doubt about what he or she thinks. But I have always been so sure about my thinking. But I am thrilled for this one because it is the first time I have been awarded for my views, my thought process, my rationality, my thoughts on religion. It is the ultimate recognition because it comes from a huge institution.”
Akhtar’s wife Shabana Azmi was also ecstatic with her husband’s win.