Noted writer and lyricist, Javed Akhtar, has been honoured with Richard Dawkins Award 2020 for being an advocate of secularism and freedom of speech.

The Quint

Akhtar is the only Indian to receive the prestigious award that is presented for publicly speaking about secularism, rationalism and upholding scientific truth.

Outlook India

Talking to Indian Express, Akhtar, said:

These are the people of 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! So, it is a huge recognition.
The Statesman

At a time when there have been several attempts at stifling dissenting voices, Akhtar is known to have spoken his mind on topics like CAA and Tabhligi Jamaat. Speaking about the significance of his win, Akhtar added:

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 believes his win would inspire people to express their views freely, even if that means swimming against the tide.