Over a year after fleeing India to escape arrest in a rape trial, fugitive self-styled godman Nithyananda chose the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi to unveil the new central bank and freshly-minted currency of Kailasa — the ‘Hindu sovereign nation’ he claims to have founded in 2019.
In a video shared on his official Facebook page Saturday, Nithyananda launched the ‘Reserve Bank of Kailasa’ and presented its official currency, called ‘Kailashian dollars’, as an ‘offering to Lord Ganesha’ during a puja.
An announcement on Kailasa’s website states that the launch marked a “milestone and historical moment for the SHRIKAILASA Nation, the only Hindu Nation existing today and all the practicing Hindus around the world”.
The controversial ‘godman’ earlier announced that he had already drafted a 300-page economic policy, which laid down his alleged nation’s economic strategy. He also claimed that his country had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with another nation to host his bank.
Here is everything you need to know about Nithyananda’s Kailasa, its new bank and currency.
Even as Indian authorities continued their manhunt to nab him, Nithyananda allegedly founded the ‘nation’ last year. There is much speculation about whether Kailasa is in fact, a real nation with physical territory. Its official website claims that it 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”. It is referred to as the “World’s Greatest Digital Hindu Nation”.
However, several news reports have suggested that the ‘nation’ is located in a small private island near Trinidad and Tobago, that Nithyananda allegedly purchased from Ecuador. While its coordinates remain unclear, Kailasa does have its own passport and flag.
To avail citizenship of Kailasa, one only has to be a “practising Hindu” or a “Hindu who would like to deepen their practice”.
According to the website, Kailasa offers a “safe haven to all the world’s practising, aspiring or persecuted Hindus…where they can peacefully live and express their spirituality, arts, and culture free from denigration, interference and violence”.
It even has its own government, complete with departments of health, education, commerce, information broadcasting and even ‘enlightened civilisation’. Nithyananda is referred to as the ‘Supreme Pontiff’ of Kailasa.
In a video uploaded on YouTube on Saturday, Nithyananda launched the central bank and currencies and announced that they would become functional “very soon” in countries that have signed “diplomatic treaties” with Kailasa. The governor and directors will be selected from amongst Kailasa’s Sanyasis.
A press release uploaded on Kailasa’s website Saturday, claims that the bank is a “legitimately incorporated body”. According to the statement, ‘the team of monastic members’ at Kailasa poured over “100 books” and “360 articles and research papers” on “Hindu economics policy” while developing the economic policy and currencies.
“Kailasa today is honoured to be presenting the currencies inspired purely from the currencies and policies of the ancient 56 Hindu nations which were Hindu nations in the past,” the statement read.
The 56 Hindu Nations repeatedly referred to in the press release include Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Afghanistan. “His Divine Holiness stressed that Kailasa does not make any territorial claims towards any of the 56 Nations. He is reviving the Grand Narrative of Hinduism which at the time was practiced as State Religion in all 56 States,” the press release states.
The statement goes on to declare that the “ancient 56 nations are the most favoured for bilateral and trade relations” with Kailasa.
During a Ganesh puja, streamed on YouTube, Nithyananda held up Kailasa’s new currency — 77 types of gold coins of at least eight different denominations, referred to as ‘Kailashian Dollars’.
The various denominations include — one Kailashian dollar, one-fourth Kailashian dollar, half Kailashian dollar, three-fourth Kailashian dollar, till ten Kailashian dollars.
The statement published on the website also claims that the design of the coins was inspired by the currency of “the ancient 56 Hindu nations”.
The self-styled godman, who founded a Hindu religious group called ‘Nithyananda Dhyanapeetam’, has regularly courted controversy. He has been accused of rape and also of kidnapping and confining children in his ashram illegally.
In 2010, a video of Nithyananda surfaced on TV news channels, where he was allegedly seen engaging in sexual acts with a Tamil actress. He later refuted the allegation, claiming that he was impotent and was merely ‘practising the shavasana’ yoga pose.
After a case was filed against him in Bengaluru, he was finally arrested from Solan district in Himachal Pradesh in April 2010. However, he was let off on bail soon after. Two years later, a US-based woman accused him of abusing her for five years.
In 2019, he was booked after a couple from Tamil Nadu accused him of abducting their children and keeping them at his ashram in Ahmedabad. the police booked Nithyananda on charges of kidnapping and wrongful confinement of children to make them collect donations from followers. He was also accused of abducting and torturing a 19-year-old woman.
In November 2019, the Gujarat police announced that Nithyananda had escaped from the country after failing to appear in more than 50 court hearings. Reports suggested that he had fled to Trinidad and Tobago, which is also when he allegedly bought the island near Ecuador.