Javed Akhtar becomes first Indian to receive Richard Dawkins Award

Poet, lyricist and writer Javed Akhtar. File   | Photo Credit: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

Poet, lyricist and writer Javed Akhtar has become the first Indian to receive the prestigious Richard Dawkins Award for 2020 for critical thinking, holding religious dogma upto scrutiny, advancing human progress and humanist values.

Previous recipients include American TV host, comedian and political commentator Bill Maher and English-American intellectual, philosopher, social critic and writer Christopher Hitchens.

Also read: We need to reassess the ideas of secularism: Javed Akhtar

The citation states that 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.

Mr. Akhtar, who is known for his strong, well-grounded and fiercely independent views on polity, society, art and culture and religion alike, said that he was 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 Centre for Inquiry USA in which The Richard Dawkins Foundation is housed. Richard Dawkins is a fierce advocate of empirical science over superstition. I have read all his books and they have strengthened my own views on the need to expose religious dogma as an enemy of critical thinking and rationality.”

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Printable version | Jun 19, 2021 9:11:14 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/javed-akhtar-first-indian-to-receive-richard-dawkins-award/article31775080.ece

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