Javed Akhtar was recently honoured with the Richard Dawkins award, making him the only Indian to receive the accolade. It has been given to those who “publicly proclaim the values of secularism, rationalism, upholding scientific truth.”

 Javed Akhtar becomes only Indian to win Richard Dawkins 2020 award; Anil Kapoor, Dia Mirza, Vir Sanghvi congratulate lyricist

File image of Javed Akhtar

“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,” Akhtar told NDTV in an interview.

Previous recipients of the award include American comedian Bill Maher, British comedian Ricky Gervais, British actor Stephen Fry, activist David Silverman and philosopher Rebecca Goldstein.

Akhtar has been vocal about the sociopolitical events that have taken place in the country in recent times. He has spoken against Citizenship Amendment Act, islamophobia, the attack on frontline health workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

Akhtar’s wife was the first to announce the news via social media. She wrote that winning an award from one’s hero is the ultimate validation.

Here is her tweet

Others to congratulate the lyricist include Vir Sanghvi, Anil Kapoor and Dia Mirza.

Here are their tweets

Updated Date: Jun 07, 2020 18:16:19 IST

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