Can you invent a country? Indian “godman” Nithyananda believes he can and purchased an island to try and do so…an island he is now seeking to have recognized by the Sri Lankan government. These requests have taken an increasingly urgent tone as the year ends, citing a need for medical asylum that many believe to be Covid related.
Nithyananda fled India in 2019 against a slew of charges, claiming he could not receive a fair trial due to persecution of what many call a cult. As a fugitive actively being sought by the Indian government he is only able to travel to countries that do not have an extradition agreement or that will offer an asylum so he won’t be forced to return and face imprisonment. Thus, the island nation of Kailaasa was born.
The self-styled guru garnered a cult following and became infamous in America for his rambling theories and speeches.
He crowdfunded the purchase of an island off the coast of Ecuador, a country that does not have an extradition treaty with India. He declared he would turn the island into a sovereign nation utopia as a safe haven for all dispossessed Hindus around the world. Nithyananda’s followers traveled to this island to begin working to set it up as a self-sufficient and independently functioning nation. These followers believe the man’s claims that he is an avatar of the god Shiva returned to lead humanity through dark times. Then the global Covid pandemic hit.
Nithyananda made many wild claims about the virus that blatantly contradict basic science mixing snake-oil cures, religious ideology, and prophecies the pandemic would end when he is received with respect in India and has completed his pilgrimages. During 2020 he launched a Reserve Bank with a Kailashian dollar styled structurally after the Vatican Bank and stylistically after the ancient Hindu nations. He also began issuing three day tourist visas to Kailaasa. Travelers would have to first visit Australia and then take a private chartered-flight service to the island.
By 2021 the pandemic made it to the island and the cult leader was forced to stop travel to the newly invented “country”, leaving the cult in a difficult situation due to a complete lack of medical infrastructure. This critical failure opened a political opportunity for him to establish legitimacy of his island nation through political ties and treaties with other countries in exchange for his monetary investment in medical equipment and treatment from them, and presumably in other aspects as well since Nithyananda is currently lacking any official recognition and is seeking international political friends.
Nithyananda’s requests have taken a desperate tone as 2022 comes to an end, with urgent requests for critical medical issues that require an air ambulance - leaving many to believe his life to be in danger. While most believe medical care should be made available to him and his people there is an international confusion in how to respond to a legitimately purchased island that politely starts doing country-things and requests recognition.
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