It really can’t get any more secular than this. Poet, litterateur, author, lyricist, activist thinker and self-professed non-religious Muslim Javed Akhtar has just shut all the trolls up. On Friday he was awarded the Shanti Doot (messenger of peace award) award by one of the most revered temples in India—the Sankat Mochan Mandir in Varanasi– which has instituted a peace price to honour exceptional messengers of peace.
Javed Saab says he is delighted to be the first recipient of this prestigious award. “Sankat Mochan Mandir is undoubtedly the most revered Hanuman temple in the country. A week-long sangeet samaaroh is their 95-year old tradition but this is the first time that the temple management decided to give a “SHANTI DOOT” award. I am humbled that they have given this honour to me. On the night of April 6, I received the trophy in the temple from the hands the Mahant Shri Prof Vishambhar Nath Mishra. I am deeply touched honoured and humbled.”
Javed Saab feels one such gesture of peace and harmony countermands much of the vitriolic spread by hate-mongers. “This is our real India! Here all religious beliefs co-exist and those who try to disrupt the harmony are effectively shut by those who champion peace.
Adds Javed Saab’s proud wife Shabana Azmi, “I think this Shanti Doot award given by one of the most revered temples of India is the most befitting reply to those who troll Javed.”