United States of Kailasa: Nithyananda’s latest audacious con-job is really magnificent – Monica Verma

Nithyananda with his 'ambassador' to the UN Vijayapriya.

Dr. Monica VermaThe sheer fact that the United States of Kailasa scam has infiltrated the UN system as evident in the events of last week is worrying. This is nothing but plain abuse of the UN procedures. – Dr. Monica Verma

Last week, a general discussion event at the UN’s Economic, Social and Cultural rights committee saw an interesting incident take place when a woman in saffron robe decked up in heavy gold jewellery identifying herself as Vijayapriya Nithyananda spoke about the persecution of Supreme Pontiff of Hindus, Bhagavan Nithyananda Paramashivam, in India. According to her, Nithyananda was banned from preaching and was exiled from his birth country. She said that she is representing the United States of Kailasa, a “country” set up by Nithyananda, in her capacity as its permanent ambassador to the UN. However, a few days later, a clarification was also issued by her that it wasn’t the Indian state or the Indian people but certain anti-Hindu elements who are persecuting the Supreme Pontiff as well as his followers for following a Hindu lifestyle.

The event was received with much amusement in India with the videos of the proceedings circulating all over social media. Vijayapriya sounded like a polished diplomat making a genuine case of persecution of her “national” leader, the only catch being that Nithyananda is no persecuted man but a fugitive who is facing multiple criminal charges in India that include rape of a US national and abduction of Indian citizens. Nithyananda was also caught in a sex scandal when a film actor from down south was found in his bedroom and Sun TV had aired the video in 2010.

But the latest con-job that he is trying to pull is actually magnificent in its scope—he is trying to secure international legitimacy for his “country”, United States of Kailasa (USK). Kailasa is named after Mount Kailash, a sacred mountain in Tibet which is Lord Shiva’s abode. USK is a fictional country that he has set up off the coast of Ecuador by buying an island. This isn’t the first time that an Indian godman is trying to pull off something like this. Acharya Rajneesh was the first who had set up a “Rajneeshpuram” in Oregon in the 1980s that had its own police, public transport system and a fire department as well.

But Nithyananda is clearly miles ahead. His USK doesn’t only have a territory and a population but also a flag, a constitution, an emblem, a currency, a passport and even a visa provision of its own. Anyone can travel to the USK and avail its hospitality by boarding a chartered flight from Australia. The e-visa can be availed via a very public link that has been shared on Twitter. The USK is also trying to seek international recognition by signing agreements with other countries. In a post they claimed that the United States of America has recognised the USK when actually only a sister city agreement was signed by the American city of Newark and that too was cancelled after the suspicious record and deceptive nature of the USK gang surfaced. Also, Nithyananda is using the sobriquet of “Supreme Pontiff of Hinduism” to claim himself as an authority of Hinduism when actually no such tradition or post exists in the Hindu religion. Unlike Christianity that has a system of a Pontiff or Pope, Hinduism has none.

The sheer fact that the USK scam has infiltrated the UN system as evident in the events of last week is worrying. This is nothing but plain abuse of the UN procedures. In its defence, the UN committee pointed out that it was a general day of discussion where civil society representatives or NGOs can speak but even there a process of vetting exists. The fact that a fictional setup by a fugitive and a criminal was allowed to use the UN platform is a huge question mark on the multilateral organisation. In fact, there was another discussion organised by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) where another USK representative made her appearance. However, the remarks given by them were not included in either of the two outcome drafts. Nithyananda had sought refuge in Ecuador after fleeing from India but that’s a charge that the South American country has consistently denied. Though that country remains a constant favourite with fugitives such as Julian Assange and Paul Ceglia finding safety in Ecuador.

Ecuador is one of the poorest countries in South America where money can buy you any degree of influence and it seems Nithyananda is fully utilising the opportunity especially because India doesn’t have an extradition treaty with Ecuador as of yet. – Firstpost, 7 March 2023

Monica Verma is a PhD in international relations from the Department of International Relations, South Asian University. Her research focuses on political economy of South Asia and regional integration.

Kailasa Corporate Trail Graphic

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