Shabana Azmi slams ‘pathetic trolls’ doubting Javed Akhtar’s Richard Dawkins award win, calls it a ‘preposterous claim’

Richard Dawkins has officially confirmed that Javed Akhtar is the recipient of the 2020 Richard Dawkins Award, after the writer’s wife, Shabana Azmi, was forced to tackle trolls doubting them.
Shabana Azmi said that they received the email from Richard Dawkins on June 5.
Shabana Azmi said that they received the email from Richard Dawkins on June 5.
Updated on Jun 10, 2020 02:18 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | ByHT Entertainment Desk

Actor Shabana Azmi shut down a troll who suggested that her husband Javed Akhtar hadn’t actually won the Richard Dawkins Award 2020, and that his name was only nominated for it. Dawkins confirmed the news on Twitter himself.

Reacting to a WhatsApp screenshot shared on Twitter, Shabana wrote, “This is patently untrue! We have an email from Richard Dawkins on 5th June offering the award and also from Robyn Blumner who heads the Centre for Inquiry, USA. I feel sad for these pathetic trolls who do not care that they will stand exposed in seconds for such a preposterous claim.” In the apparent WhatsApp conversation, one person claimed that Akhtar mistook his nomination as an actual victory and told his friends in the media.


Putting all rumours to rest, Dawkins tweeted on Tuesday, “Javed Akhtar @Javedakhtarjadu is the 2020 Richard Dawkins Award winner and I could not be more pleased. The Center for Inquiry, on whose board I sit, has designated him this year’s recipient for his courageous public stands on behalf of atheism, rationality, and freethought.”


Earlier this week, the writer-lyricist said that he was pleasantly surprised with the honour. “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 told NDTV.

Also read: The future belongs to rationalists: Javed Akhtar

The Richard Dawkins Award is bestowed upon individuals who “publicly proclaim the values of secularism, rationalism, upholding scientific truth”, since 2003. Previous recipients include Bill Maher, Stephen Fry and Ricky Gervais. Richard Dawkins is a renowned English ethologist, evolutionary biologist, and author. Akhtar is the first Indian to have been bestowed with the award.

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