In a scathing attack on Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday said he would have beaten the former with slippers if he was in front of him. Thackeray was speaking on the sidelines of a programme organised to unveil a book written on the life of Hindu Mahasabha leader and freedom fighter Vinayak Damodar Savarkar.
Thackeray's statement comes in an obvious reference to Aiyar's 2018 remarks on Savarkar, accusing the latter of creating religious divide in society by coining the term "Hindutva". Besides, in an attempt to take potshots at the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), he also suggested that it was Savarkar, and not Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who first promulgated the idea of two nations.
Aiyar said the invention of the word "Hindutva", was itself the seed of the two-nation theory. "In 1923 a man called VD Savarkar invented a word which doesn't exist in any religious text, 'Hindutva'. So the first proponent of the two nation theory was the ideological guru of those who are currently in power in India," he was quoted as saying at an event in Lahore, the capital city of the Pakistani province of Punjab.
The Congress leader also referred to Jinnah as the Quaid-e-Azam triggering much outrage in India. He, however, later defended his use of the term, saying that Quaid-e-Azam was the widely accepted term to refer to Jinnah like the 'Mahatma' title before MK Gandhi's name.
Aiyar's comments come in the backdrop of the violence that unfolded in Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) after BJP's Aligarh MP Satish Gautam objected to the Pakistan founder Jinnah's picture on the walls of the varsity's student union office.