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 his essay for an assignment, G.o.D.* student Kanishk 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: Kanishk
- Location: Chennai
- Age: 17
- Institution: The Institute of Geographical Studies
Introduction: Nation, state, nation-state
A nation is like an organic being. It is born, It grows, it declines, and it finally dies.
The Roman Empire, started by Augustus Caesar in 31 BCE, is an example of this ‘organic’ idea of the process of a nation’s (or empire’s) life. It grew to expand 5 million square kilometres. It had a strong hold over all the town’s that came under the jurisdiction. However, the empire started declining when it was split into a West and East side. The East side started to go back to its Greek roots, while the West side was constantly under attack from Germanic groups. This led to the East side to progress further than the West side, hence dividing the Roman empire into two smaller pieces. and finally leading to its decline.
This is the case for almost all nations that are formed. They are born, they live, and then they die, similar to an organism.
In this essay, I will examine some of these aspects in the context of the formation of a nation called Kailasa (also spelled Kailaasa).
Origin of the idea of the new nation
The idea of Kailasa emerged when a godman called Nithyananda fled India, in fear of prosecution. After fleeing, it is said that Nithyananda bought a private island [accessed on: 19 February 2021] off the coast of Trinidad and Tobago or Ecuador (the exact location is currently unknown). This island was then named Kailasa.
The name “Kailasa” aims to evoke the mythical abode of Shiva in the Himalaya. However, since we do not know the exact location of this new Kailasa, formed by Nithyananda, we cannot say whether it evokes the site features of the mythical Kailasa. We do know that the neo-Kailasa is on an island. With this information it can be determined that the evocation appears to be not physical, but mythical and metaphorical. Nithyananda belongs to the Shaiva community and it is therefore apt that the name of the state would evoke a (mythical/metaphorical) Shaiva landscape.
Nithyananda and his conceptualization of the new country
Nithyananda [accessed on: 19 February 2021], also called “Paramahamsa” Nithyananda, is a self-proclaimed godman. His exact birthdate is unknown. In 2003, his US visa states that he was born on 13 March 1977. However, in a sworn affidavit to the Karnataka Court in 2010 he states that he was born on 1 January 1978. Even though he is currently an Indian citizen, he has fled the country and is seeking refuge elsewhere. This is due to the numerous proceedings against him. He was arrested on charges of rape and of kidnapping children.
Nithyananda seems to have been developing an idea of how a country should be formed and maintained, a formation of a nation. After fleeing India he bought an island, which is an example of how a state is formed, with the intention to bring to life his idea of a perfect nation, the formation of a nation-state.
Currently he is the Supreme Pontiff of Kailasa [accessed on: 19 February 2021]. He is the person in charge. All policies, livelihood changes, and especially rituals will have to be greenlit by him. He is in charge of setting up the different government branches. He is also leading the creation of Kailasa’s “Cosmic Constitution” [accessed on: 19 February 2021].
As for Nithyananda’s followers, they are people who are willing to devote their lives to him. He has said that Kailasa is a sanctuary for Hindus everywhere who feel left out or who are cast out. These Hindus can come from all over the world, similar to multiplayer video games where players from different regions can join a single lobby of their choice of game. However, on their website, they have stated that the project is spearheaded by members of the Adi Shaivite community.
There is not enough information to locate Kailasa, but it is said to be an island off the coast of Trinidad and Tobago, or Ecuador [accessed on: 19 February 2021]. Therefore, we cannot say anything definitive about its site and situation features.
An island has the advantage for people to access the facilities in the nation easily. Travel costs are drastically cut down. This not only helps the budget but also helps in maintaining a carbon neutral environment. Another advantage of being an island is that all the ways to enter will be monitored by the authorities present.
However, there are certain setbacks too. They will be a victim to frequent storms and, sometimes, even tsunamis with no immediate place to go to. If the island is located off the coast of Trinidad and Tobago the likelihood of being a victim to hurricanes are very high [accessed on: 19 February 2021]. Whereas if they are off the coast of Ecuador, then there is a high risk of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis [accessed on: 19 February 2021]. Hence they will need to rely on the nearest mainland for support.
To reach Kailasa one can take a flight from Australia on a private airline called Garuda [accessed on: 19 February 2021]. People can also find out more about Kailasa’s functioning and can read news and watch programs from Kailasa on their official website [accessed on: 19 February 2021].
The citizens will definitely have to adapt to various lifestyle changes, as Kailasa is not just a Hindu nation but it is also Nithyananda’s idea of how a Nation should run. These lifestyle changes will include their day to day routine such as their sleep schedule, their daily rituals, and most importantly the food they consume.
Being a country headed by Nithyanada it is almost definite that no meat will be allowed in the country as he is a staunch believer of vegetarianism. This will definitely be an integral part of the people’s identity as they will carry forward this into places outside of Kailasa, and many even try to steer people away from non-vegetarianism.
Nithyananda wanted to create a Hindu safe-haven but Hinduism has no precise definition. The word Hindu comes from the Persians who referred to us as the people who live by the river Sindhu [accessed on: 19 February 2021]. This led to people calling Indians as Hindu. Even when taken as a religion, there are numerous divisions under Hinduism. These divisions sometimes benefit people and sometimes work against them. For example, a person can be a “Shaivite” or a “Vaishnavite”, with each sect having a different view on religion. (As mentioned earlier citizens of Kailasa will be “Adi Shavaites”).
Centrifugal and Centripetal Forces
Centrifugal and centripetal forces play a major role in the life of a nation. The force that disunites is known as centrifugal forces, while the force that unites people is centripetal force [accessed on: 19 February 2021].
Centrifugal forces are very natural in a country. These forces can be caused by a divide in society due to the caste system, an unstable government with no strong leadership, inadequate maintenance of peace among citizens. For example, the project is to be headed by the Adi Shavaite community. This can lead to a hierarchy being formed within the population that could be unpleasant for some people who are at the bottom of the hierarchy.
Nithyananda may have ideas on how a country ought to be run, however, his lack of experience in running a nation could be a big roadblock.
Nevertheless, he can bring together a group of people, with said experience, to implement his ideas properly in Kailasa.
On the other hand, centripetal forces in Kailasa can include shared religion, similar beliefs, stories told by people, and most importantly the festivals they celebrate. For example, during the festival of Deepavali people will get together, decorate the place, and feast as a community.
Kailasa has a set of national symbols [accessed on: 19 February 2021], already decided, which can be found on the Kailasa website.
- National Animal – Nandi (Sacred Bull)
- National Bird – Sharabam (bird with golden color, with two uplifted wings, two red eyes, four legs in the form of a lion touching the ground, four feet with claws upwards, and with a tail)
- National Flower – Lotus
- National Tree – Banyan Tree
Governance and Politics
Similar to Iran and Vatican, Kailasa will be a theocratic state with Sanatana Hindu Dharma as the state religion. There is a “Vision of the Cosmic Constitution“. This is still a vision as the written constitution is still in the works. This constitution is supposed to be inspired by the workings of ancient Hindu countries. However, currently nothing can be said about its exact details. The Kailasa website mentions that it is being made by a committee led by Nithyananda.
Divisions of government
Currently there are 15 official divisions of the government [accessed on: 19 February 2021]:
- Ministry of Sovereign [sic]
- Department of State
- Department of Treasury
- Department of Commerce
- Department of Housing
- Department of Human Service
- Department of Education
- Department of Enlightened Civilization (To revive ancient Hinduism)
- Department of Information and broadcasting
- Department of Health
- Department of Vedic Science and Technology (Emphasizes Nithyanada’s form of yoga and various other methods vedic traditional Hindu science [sic])
- Department of Global Communications
- Department of Religion and Worship
- Department of Agriculture
- Department of Environment and Animals
On 22 August 2020, the auspicious day of Ganesha Chaturthi, Nithyananda officially announced the Kailasan dollar. This dollar will be used as an offering to be given to Ganesha during pujas. Nithyananda launched the Central Reserve Bank of Kailasa and is soon to be functional. Right now, it is still unclear what the conversion rate will be for the Kailasan dollar, in respect to the other currencies around the world.
The economic policies were created by a team of his followers. The currencies and policies were inspired from the ancient 56 Hindu countries [accessed on: 19 February 2021] (Including the present-day countries such as: Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Nepal etc.). This also includes a 300-page document stating the economic structure. The denominations of the currency are
- One Kailasan Dollar
- Half Kailasan Dollar
- Three-Fourth Kailasan Dollar
- Ten Kailasan Dollars
A country’s economy relies on the jobs available. In Kailasa’s case we cannot definitely say what the exact jobs will be as we do not know the location, and jobs are usually based on what’s available around us. Due to this, it cannot be confirmed exports and the imports of Kailasa will be, which countries will they have business ties with, etc.
Kailasa will definitely be recognized and even supported by a bigger territory both in size and power. This territory will most probably be located on the mainland, because Kailasa needs supplies and funds without which it cannot function. However, it will not be supported by any country that has strong ties with India as Nithyananda is a wanted man there.
This will also have to be a crucial choice as Kailasa is an island and is vulnerable to large scale attacks. There is also no official military in Kailasa so far. It cannot be said what level of defense Kailasa will have as it is a nation that preaches non-violence.
Similar to what is mentioned above, there will be a very bleak possibility of getting UN membership. India has a lot of influence in the UN, and Nithyananda being a wanted man there, Kailasa has almost no possibility in receiving membership. Such a case can be seen with Taiwan. China claims Taiwan is part of China, but Taiwan is run by a different government. This meant Taiwan was not a sovereign state, hence led to them being ineligible to enter into the UN.
Kailasa is in its formative stage with a sort of basic structure, though important details, such as the location, the international ties, have been kept secret. If and when Kailasa officially announces its location, the Indian government and some of its allies will be constantly on Nithyananda’s tail, waiting for an opportunity to catch him.
This restricts the growth of Kailasa, population-wise, because Nithyananda cannot travel to places to convince people to join Kailasa. He can only do this if he finds a Hindu-dominant country which does not have any extradition treaty with India. However, in today’s world such a country is almost non-existent. This is also a reason why Nithyanadha is moving towards social media platforms to spread the word about Kailasa.
It will be interesting to see how the country will grow, as its formation could be called unorthodox. Their leader, Nithyanand, is a very controversial figure who may or may not have the capabilities to lead a country.
Kailasa is also built on the ideologies and functions of ancient Hindu cities. Through it many seem like a working idea, it may also be an impractical decision in today’s world. Things are nowhere near what they were a thousand years ago and society as a whole has also changed and evolved.
 A nation is a concept of a place, an idea, a culture that is either part of a single person’s imagination or something that entire groups of people dream about. It is formed when a person imagines their paradise and shares it with others, while simultaneously taking in ideas and inspirations from outside their mind. (Wikipedia; Accessed on: 20 January 2021)
 A state is a physical territory with boundaries representing its extent. A state is formed when the ruler(s) of a particular area gives some of their land to another set of rulers, either as a peace treaty or part of a trade deal. (Wikipedia; Accessed on: 20 January 2021)
 When we combine these two together we get a nation-state, which is formed when the idea of a nation is physically implemented within the boundaries of a state. (Wikipedia; Accessed on: 20 January 2021)
 “Kailasan” refers to the currency, while “Kailasian” refers to the citizens.
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This is an impressive beginning from a geography-writer I really want to see go very far! The tone is professional, there is no sliding into teen slang (praise the Lord!) and the entire essay keeps a steady, consistent pace.
Kudos to the parents and the mentors!
— Sunil Vinayak Ganu, French and English language trainer, translator, Pune. [22 Feb. 2021]
Kanishk has made an exemplary compilation of facts and analysis, in his research article, Formation of a Nation. He has systematically structured the content, having the varied audience in mind. Such a high quality work is not surprising, as it surely seems a product of hard work and diligent guidance from Dr. Balachandran.
His description and assaying of the topic captures the imagination of the readers vividly as though in close proximity of a real time expedition to the place. Drawing our attention to the forces that make or break a nation was a scholarly attempt to visualise the future of the formed “country.”
Kudos to his efforts, wishing him a great future in the field of Geography as it has within it, all other domains of study which can be seen in this article itself! Well done!
— Vidya Shankar, Founder & Director, Cascade Family Learning Society, Chennai.[21 Feb. 2021]
The Formation of a Nation – Kailasa by Kanishk was an interesting read.
We cannot believe that for an assignment of GoD, such a professional Paper can be written by a 17 years young boy!!
This has the Quality of a Research Paper written by a scholar.
Our Hearty Congratulations to him!! We salute his mentors from TIGS & his parents.
We wish him all the Best & wait for his Scholarly Research Papers.
— B. Sudhakar, Founder & Director, Sumeru Coaching Centre, Bengaluru. [22 Feb. 2021]
Featured image: Sharabam, national bird of Kailaasa. (Reference in caption above)