Veteran lyricist, poet and scriptwriter Javed Akhtar was honoured with an honourary Doctor of Literature degree at a ceremony at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. His wife Shabana Azmi and son Farhan Akhtar were with him during the ceremony. 

Shabana shared a picture with Javed and Farhan on Instagram and wrote, “Congratulations @jaduakhtar on being awarded Honorary Doctorate of Literature from SOAS @university of London.” The lyricist was dressed in a kurta and Nehru jacket. He was conferred with the honourary degree for his creative endeavours as a distinguished writer and his dedication to social justice as an activist. 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Shabana Azmi (@azmishabana18)

The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) mentioned in a citation, “A luminary in Indian cinema and literature, Javed Akhtar’s impact spans across writing, activism, and leadership. As an award-winning scriptwriter, lyricist, poet, and activist, Akhtar’s work has touched the hearts and minds of millions. His dedication to social justice, as reflected in his instrumental role in copyright reform, and his outspoken stance against religious fundamentalism highlight his commitment to a better society.”

Javed has won the National Film Awards 5 times for Best Lyrics. Apart from this, he was honoured with two of India`s highest civilian honours- Padma Shri in 1999 and Padma Bhushan in 2007. Javed became the first Indian to be conferred the Richard Dawkins Award for critical thinking. 

Javed has been actively working in the Indian film industry since 1970. Initially, the duo of Salim (Khan) and Javed was known for delivering blockbuster scripts and screenplays. They worked on 24 films during 1971–1987. After that, Javed continued working independently. His recent films include Lakshya and Don: The Chase Begins Again. As a lyricist, his latest projects were Panga, Gully Boy, Dil Dhadakne Do, Raees and several others. 

Apart from him, British Indian chef and bestselling cookbook author Asma Khan was conferred a Doctor of Science (Social Sciences) degree for reshaping the culinary landscape with her innovative approach to food and her commitment to social change. The citation mentioned, “As the first British chef profiled in Netflix’s Emmy-nominated ‘Chef’s Table’ series and a Vogue 25 Most Influential Women awardee, Khan’s impact transcends borders. Her all-female kitchen team and dedication to inclusivity have earned her recognition as a trailblazer.”