The 72-year-old lyricist was speaking at Sahitya Aaj Tak, where he said that some people have misinterpreted the definition of nationalism.
"The interpretation of nationalism for some people is quite strange. They think that they are the nation. If you oppose them, then you become anti-national.
"These politicians are like the harvesting crop. They change when the crop changes. They don't stay here for eternity. Nation is larger than a political party and a politician. Any politician who thinks that he is the nation, then he is wrong," Mr Akhtar said.
Mr Akhtar, who had last year criticised Union Minister VK Singh for proposing to rename Akbar Road in Lutyens Delhi to Maharana Pratap Road, said the country has produced many great leaders and Mughal emperor Akbar was one of them.
"This country has produced many great leaders and if you make a list of them, then without Akbar that list is incomplete," said Mr Akhtar.
"That man was a huge personality with a vision nobody can match. About 400 years back when Europe had not even heard the word secularism. But here was a man in this country, who was not only secular, but also understood the philosophy and theory of secularism. He was working on it," he added.
Mr Akhtar also said that a secular Muslim, like Akbar, is always abused by the fundamentalists and by people from other religions.
"It is saddening that a secular Muslim is always abused by fundamentalist people and the people from the other side.
"This is a very sorry state of affairs that any Muslim is not considered an Indian. Tipu Sultan is not an Indian and if I do not agree to this thought, then I become anti-national," he declared.
Mr Akhtar said that Akbar was an Indian as he was born here and died contributing to the wealth of the country.