Famous Indian poet, lyricist, and writer Javed Akhtar has been awarded the Richard Dawkins Award for 2020 for critical thinking, holding religious dogma upto scrutiny, advancing human progress and humanist values. He is the first Indian to be awarded the honour.
“I am 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 Center for Inquiry USA, in which The Richard Dawkins Foundation is housed,” Akhtar, 75, told PTI.
Akhtar is the recipient of five National Film Awards, as well as the civilian awards Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan.
He is renowned for being an advocate of freedom of free speech and secularism.
What is the Richard Dawkins Award?
Established in 2003, the Richard Dawkins Award is named after the prominent evolutionary biologist, author, and atheist, Richard Dawkins.
It is presented annually “to outstanding individuals who have significantly furthered the cause of reason and science.”
Previous recipients of the award have included English writer and actor Stephen Fry, American secular advocate David Silverman, American-Canadian theoretical physicist, Lawrence Krauss, and American philosopher Rebecca Goldstein.
The winner of the inaugural Richard Dawkins Award was Canadian-American scientific skeptic James Randi.
It is given in collaboration with the Center for Inquiry (CFI), a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization headquartered in Amherst, New York. According to its website, the Center for Inquiry strives to foster a secular society based on reason, science, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values.