Bollywood lyricist Javed Akhtar has been awarded the prestigious Richard Dawkins award. He is the only Indian to receive the honour. Akhtar was later quoted by NDTV as saying that he did not expect the award.
“I am surprised that the organisers were even listening to what I was saying about the Indian political climate. 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,” he was quoted by NDTV.
He also received congratulatory messages from several Bollywood actors including his wife Shabana Azmi. Anil Kapoor congratulated him, calling it an incredible honour. Azmi tweeted saying , “To win an award from your Hero is the ultimate validation.”
Akhtar has been vocal about the issues of public policies, secularism and communalism. He has also been targeted by trolls for promoting communal harmony.