What Is ‘Kailasa’? How Nithyananda Established A Fictional Country

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Controversial godman Nithyananda is in news after the representatives of his so-called country ‘United States of Kailasa’ (USK) attended a UN meeting last month. Accused of rape and kidnapping, Nithyananda fled from India in 2019 and emerged a year later with the claim of having established his own country. Though no knows where this fictional country is, his followers have virtual presence on social media where they keep posting updates on developments happening in their country. According to the BBC, Nithyananda bought an island of the coast of Ecuador, where he claims to have established ‘Kailasa’, but its visuals are hard to find.Also Read | Nithyananda’s ‘Republic Of Kailasa’ At UN Meet. What It SaidThe country, however, has social media presence where its representatives regularly post videos and photos of their interaction reportedly with diplomats from around the world.Where is Kailasa?Several reports have claimed that Nithyananda’s country is set up on one of the islands near Ecuador. However, the Ecuadorian government had told the BBC at that time that Nithyananda was not in the country.’Kailasa’ is named after Mount Kailash in Tibet, considered sacred by Hindus.According to the website of the fictional country, ‘Kailasa’ is a movement ”founded and spearheaded by members of the Hindu Adi Shaivite minority community from Canada, the United States and other countries and is created for and offers a safe haven to all the world’s practicing, aspiring or persecuted Hindus, irrespective of race, gender, sect, caste, or creed, where they can peacefully live and express their spirituality, arts, and culture free from denigration, interference and violence”.What about citizenship?On Thursday, the Twitter handle for USK called for applications for e-visa for e-citizenship. USK claims to have a flag, a constitution, an economic system, a passport, and an emblem too.Like every other country, ‘Kailasa’ too has various departments like treasury, commerce, sovereign, housing, human services and more as mentioned on its website.’Kailasa’ calls itself the “home and refuge for the international Hindu diaspora”.Is ‘Kailasa’ a recognised country?This is an area where Nithyananda is struggling. He and his representatives keep posting about events the fictional country participated in and claim to showcase meetings with authorities and governments. But United Nations has not recognised ‘Kailasa’.According to the Montevideo Convention of 1933, accepted as part of customary international law, for a territory to be called a country, it must have a permanent population, a government, and a capacity to have relationships with other countries.Nithyananda sent the representatives of ‘Kailasa’ to UN in a bid to gain acceptance at an international forum. But the UN called the submissions made by Vijayapriya Nithyananda “irrelevant” and that those will not be considered in the final outcome drafts.Once recognised by the UN, a country gets access to many international forums, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF).So what exactly is the status of ‘Kailasa’?If a territory has not attained the status of a country, it can be called a micronation. According to Encyclopaedia Britannica, a micronations are self-proclaimed entities claiming to be independent sovereign states but are not recognised by international community or the UN.According to Independent, there were about 80 micronations in the world in 2019. It gave a similar example of a city called Rajneeshpuram established by another Indian spiritual guru, Rajneesh, in Oregon in the 1980s, with its own police, fire department and public transport system.