A new country is in the making. We just don’t know where it is, but processes are underway. Or so we are told. In her essay for an assignment, G.o.D.* student Medha explores some of the geographies involved in the birth of the country.
*Geography.over.Distance, and online geography course offered by The Institute of Geographical Studies, for children of grade 8+
- Name: Medha
- Location: Bengaluru
- Age: 13
- School: Shibumi
We have heard of countries formed after seceding but now there is a country that’s been created by an individual! “Shri Kailasa”, the new territory is an island off the Pacific Coast of Central America. The creator is a Swami Nithyananda, who according to his website claims that, “SHRIKAILASA is a nation without borders created by dispossessed Hindus from around the world who lost the right to practice Hinduism authentically in their own countries.”
Nithyananda is a Hindu spiritual leader who has fled from India after being convicted for kidnapping children. He has also been accused of other actions in the United States. He has used his followers money, as most of his followers are rich people, and bought the island, he has named Kailasa.
Is it really possible for an individual to create a country? The following essay is an attempt to understand what attributes a country needs to possess in order to be certified and recognised by the world.
There is a “country” named Kailasa rumoured to have been created somewhere off the Pacific coast of Central America, run by a Swami Nithyananda. According to its website (accessed on 21 Dec. 2020), the island is for dispossessed Hindus around the world who have not been able to practice authentic Hinduism in their own countries. This essay will focus on how Kailasa can work towards becoming a country.
What is hard about writing an essay without know where Kailasa is located is that we can’t tell how far it is from other countries, meaning not knowing how long it will take to travel, more importantly where to travel! Is Kailasa an island or is it bordered by one or more countries? This is something that would help with trade. If we know that Kailasa is an island, other countries can the ship items. Another reason writing this essay will be hard in some aspects is that we don’t know the climate. Knowing the climate will help us know what can be grown or naturally received from Kailasa, which will immensely help in the field of trade.
In general, establishing a new country involves three important steps: (1) Declare independence, (2) gain recognition, and (3) join the UN. (Source; Accessed on 18 Nov. 2020). It is, of course, more involved than that, as you can see in this video (Accessed on 18 Nov. 2020):
While there are many criteria and processes involved, it is very difficult for a country to meet all the requirements (see here, accessed on 18 Nov. 2020; and here, accessed on 18 Nov. 2020). The particular case of Nithyananda’s “Kailasa” and the issues it faces are discussed here (accessed on 18 Nov. 2020).
Recognition is the foundation to start a country. Without that, there is no country in reality – it will have to remain virtual like in gaming!
So, first and foremost, Kailasa should be recognized by other countries. Joining the United Nations (UN) is a needed step to take because all major countries are part of the UN. Being a part of the UN will make way for Kailasa to trade with other countries as it will automatically become a part of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) (this aspect will be dealt with in the latter part of the essay). Also, if there is no recognition, as soon as you become a citizen of that place you are stuck there and cannot leave, since you aren’t likely to get a travel visa.
What will happen if some countries recognize Kailasa but not all. for example, China recognizes Kailasa but no other countries. At the moment, a lot of other countries are not on good terms with China.
Establish Boundaries, Defence, and Internal Security
We do not yet know the exact location of Kailasa. But wherever it is, it needs to have clear boundaries to essentially separate it from other countries and a defence team (the military) to guard it from countries who might want to “conquer” this new “country”. The new country also needs to offer day-to-day protection to citizens through policing agencies – a Kailasian version of the FBI and CIA.
Functioning financial structure
Another priority for Kailasa, is to have a functioning financial structure. Financial structures have two aspects:
The first is to have banks and ATMs, which allow people to safely deposit and withdraw money while earning interest.
The other aspect is to set a value for its currency (Kailasian Dollar – KD). This helps KD become internationally convertible.
Examples of safe universal currencies include American dollars, Euros, and Yuan. If Kailasa is not recognized, it is unlikely that KD can be converted and hence it perhaps will have no use outside its borders. Of course, Kailasa can take your money and give you Kailasian money—but once you are in, there is no way out.
Trading products with other countries is also one more thing Kailasa should do. Having your own stores in Kailasa is a necessity. This doesn’t mean they don’t import things.
If the rest of the world has access to Amazon for example, it will be bad for Kailasa if they don’t have access to it. This is because the Kailasians will have something less than the rest of the world, and naturally will want access to Amazon, and will move out of Kailasa , a place that offers access to products from across the world.
Another reason Kailasa should trade is, if there is a resource in Kailasa that is not easily found elsewhere and if it is in demand, they could trade it for money or other supplies that is useful for the citizens not easily available at home.
They could also use that money to invest in infrastructure meant to provide education, research, medical facilities, equipment, doctors and many others that make a nation Providing infrastructure to the citizens, for example, physical and mental health, needs money and trading through import and export capabilities make it possible.
The need for democracy
Kailasa needs a functioning democracy if it wants to be a successful country. A successful or country will bring money and immigrants which will be discussed next.
They need to have the 3 main branches of the government, the legislative branch, the executive branch, and the judicial branch as many democratic countries do. The amount of power these branches have and how they keep it functioning could vary, but the idea of keeping three branches to split the job to control power of any one branch, has been working the best so far in many democratic countries such India, United States (accessed on 18 Nov. 2020), Canada and United Kingdom.
Imagine the president of a country proposes an idea and wants it to become a law. Without people to go against him at times, the president could pass very bad laws. Even with people going against him/her, they still will pass some unfair laws. For example, the president could sign an executive order in which immigrant families will be separated! Another unfair law that could be s signed could be about protected lands which will be allowed to be used for commercial use! What would happen to all the animals in these protected regions? If that happens, (which by the way it already has) in a couple of years there won’t be any national and state parks! This would impact further generations.
So, laws are made, but how do make sure that the people of Kailasa follow this? This is where law enforcement comes in. Police are a form of law enforcement who will enforce the law.
Will Kailasa become like the democracy in Iran, where there are judges, but the discission is made by the façade? We will have to wait and find out.
Immigration and emigration
Immigration policies must be created in order to know when to open and close borders of Kailasa. Why do countries open and close borders? Why not just keep it open all the time? The reason for immigration is when there are not enough people in a country to do a certain job. The country opens its borders so that foreigners can come into the country. This will mean there will be enough people to do the job. When there are enough people to do that job within the country, they will close the borders.
A country could open its borders for refugees. In Kailasa, it seems like I would be a refugee if I have no skills but want to practice Hinduism. What will be the immigration policy if they need skills, I have them, but do not want to practice Hinduism?
Transport is familiar to most of us as public and private transport. Private transport is a vehicle that you own. On the other hand, public transport is something that everyone can use as long as they pay for it. You pay taxes for public transport.
Why would private transport not be enough? Private transport would get you places, but imagine the traffic! The other thing is, public transport takes a large number of people at once, which means it is saving fuel, which means less pollution! Kailasa will need to invest in transport. To build subways, run buses from place to place, so that people who cannot afford to buy their own vehicle can still travel long distances.
Kailasa needs initial capital. Where will Kailasa get its initial money from? A lot of Swami Nithyananda’s followers are apparently rich. So, it has been rumored that Nithyananda used their donated money to purchase the island. What other ways can countries get money their starting money?
Another way would be if other countries helped Kailasa , by giving them money to start. This way may not totally work, as a lot of the major countries dislike, or are allies with the countries that dislike the ways of Swami Nithyananda. (What would China be thinking given how they are handling Nepal, Sri Lanka and other African nations?).
China could invest in Kailasa for various reasons (because Kailasa needs money) and hold the country hostage – in effect, finding ways to expand their influence to offset other countries. Joining the UN is the first step but definitely not the last.
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Medha has handled the whole idea in a manner that would intrigue the reader to wait for the next in series! She has raised very pertinent questions, analysed each area with clarity, left it as a question if unclear, thereby allowing a journey of thoughts in the minds of the audience. Embedding the article with relevant videos certainly enriches the content.
A wonderful analytical writing feat, we all certainly wish that it is only the beginning and many more gems will emerge from her treasury. All the very best!
— Vidya Shankar, Founder & Director, Cascade Family Learning Society, Chennai.
Featured image: Flag of Shri Kailasa. Source; accessed on 18 January 2021.
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