All you need to know about the Richard Dawkins Award won by Javed Akthar. One of the living legends of the Bollywood industry is not only a noted writer and lyricist but a gem of a person. He is known for his poems and their wit. Recently he became the first Indian to be honored with the prestigious Richard Dawkins Award 2020 for being an advocate of secularism and freedom of speech. The award is named after British evolutionary biologist and author Richard Dawkins, known for his landmark book, The Selfish Gene, and his advocacy for atheism and scientific thinking.
The award is annually presented by the Atheist Alliance of America up until July 2019 when it moved to the centre of enquiry. The recipient of this award is a distinguished individual from the world of science, scholarship and education or entertainment who publicly proclaims the value of secularism and rationalism, upholding scientific truth wherever it may lead. The first recipient was James Randi who was a stage magician and a scientific sceptic, who has extensively challenged paranormal and pseudoscientific claims in the year 2003.
The award is also won by Laurette’s like Bill Maher, the American TV host and writer journalist Christopher Hitchens. After winning the award, talking to the Indian express, Akthar said: “ These are the people with 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! , It is a huge recognition.” At times when there have been several attempts at stifling dissenting voices, Javed Akthar has always known for speaking his mind. Speaking about the significance of his win he said: “ This win will tell the world that there are people in India who express views which are sometimes not popular.
Democracy has given us a gift, and we will always protect it.” He was flooded with wishes and accolades and was grateful for them.