Jaipur: Right-wing leader Veer Savarkar was the first to come up with the two-nation theory, three years before the Muslim League passed the Pakistan resolution, Congress leader Shashi Thraoor said on Friday.
He also said during the time of Partition, the biggest question was "should religion be the determinant of nationhood".
Before the Muslim League defined it in the Lahore Session in 1940, Savarkar had already advocated the theory, Tharoor said at ongoing the Zee Jaipur Literature Festival.
The Lok Sabha member said a "vast majority on the Indian side led by (Mahatma) Gandhi and (Jawaharlal) Nehru, and many others, said 'no, religion does not determine your identity, it does not determine your nationhood, we fought for the freedom of everyone and created a country for everyone'".
"Savarkar said a Hindu was somebody for whom India was his pitrabhumi, the land of his ancestors, and his punya bhumi, his holy land. So, by that definition, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains filled both the categories but Muslims and Christians did not," Tharoor said.
He added that the Hindutva movement "explicitly rejected the Constitution".
"I have quoted Savarkar, M S Golwalkar and Deendayal Upadhyay in my book 'Why am I a Hindu?'. These were the folks who actually agreed that religion should determine nationhood...
"So, in the historical canon, the first advocate of the two-nation theory was actually V D Savarkar (Veer Damodar Savarkar), who as head of the Hindu Mahasabha had called upon India to recognise Hindus and Muslims as two separate nations, three years before the Muslim League passed the Pakistan resolution in the Lahore Session in 1940," Tharoor said.
In a session "Shashi on Shashi" at the literary event, the Congress leader also spoke about the BJP using Gandhi as a symbol. "That too because of brand value" and after having "tossed aside his principles", he said.
"Gandhi was a devout Hindu but he was a person who had in his morning prayers Christian hymns, verses from the Quran, verses from the Guru Granth Sahib, and pretty much every religion which was there," Tharoor said.
This was the kind of India Mahatma Gandhi stood for and as "we all know he gave his life on the altar of Hindu-Muslim unity, he was killed by a former RSS member who believed passionately that Gandhiji was putting Muslim interests ahead of Hindu interests", he said.
Golwalkar had ridiculed Gandhi, who was a strong proponent of non-violence, saying "all Hindu gods carried weapons", and the Mahatma was "fundamentally wrong", Tharoor claimed.
"These are the kind of teachings that have been inculcated into the minds of the current rulers, no wonder Gandhiji has been reduced to just a pair of glasses. I mean his ideas, his values, his principles, and his life have completely been tossed aside, but his glasses, because of the brand value of the Gandhi name, are the symbol of Swachh Bharat campaign," the Congress leader said.