It is now more than ever that we must celebrate people who uphold scientific truth in the days of embarrassing manipulation of the people with religion and superstition. National Award-winning screenwriter, author, lyricist, and poet Javed Akhtar became the first to bag the annually presented Richard Dawkins Award in 2020, awarded by Center For Inquiry (CFI). Needless to say, the award is named after the iconic evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins.
“The 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”, states CFI.
Javed Akhtar was never known for hiding behind ambiguous words and mollycoddling. The man has held up religious dogma to scrutiny and has never backed out of saying what’s on his mind. In times where secularism is struggling to keep itself afloat, this award comes with a resounding appreciation of rationality and critical thinking. His wife Shabana Azmi congratulated Mr. Akhtar on Twitter:
— Azmi Shabana (@AzmiShabana) June 7, 2020
The previous recipients of this award include philosopher and social critic Christopher Hitchens, TV and media personalities like Ricky Gervais and Bill Maher, who offer relevant political commentary.