A 55-seconds long video talking about the Global Country of World Peace (GCWP), which calls itself a “borderless Hindu country” located in the USA's Iowa has gone viral on social media.
The clip says that GCWP is currently led by one Tony Nader, a neuroscientist and researcher.
It discusses a currency called “Raam,” which it claims is accepted in the USA and the Netherlands.
Bearing the photo of the Hindu deity Ram, one Raam is said to be equivalent to 10 US dollars in the US and 10 euros in the Netherlands.
The video further claims that the “country” is led by people from scientific backgrounds, being nuclear researchers, quantum physicists and so on.
Lastly, it claims that the GCWP country follows the principle of “Ram Rajya,” or the kingdom of Ram.
Let’s take a look at these claims.
The Global Country of World Peace’s website calls itself a “consortium of educational organisations” founded by spiritual leader Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the year 2000. It is currently led by Tony Nader and works to create an era of “peace, progress and prosperity.”
The GCWP is headquartered in a village called Vlodrop in the Netherlands, and has many educational institutions all across the world, including in Madhya Pradesh, India.
However, it does not have a “borderless Hindu country” in the USA's Iowa as claimed. Its website mentions a city in Iowa, USA, called the Maharishi Vedic City, which has its own by-laws, but does not call itself a country.
Iowa’s Maharishi Vedic City follows Hindu traditions and guidelines such as and vedic organic agriculture and has its boundaries within Jefferson County, Iowa
What about the Raam?: The GCWP has issued its own currency called the Raam in 2001, which bears the photo of Hindu deity Ram and is issued in denomination of one Raam, five Raams and 10 Raams.
The Raam, which the GCWP calls a “catalytic global development currency,” can facilitate the development of “unused fertile agricultural land available in the nation to produce pure nourishing food” for export, its website reads.
As per the Hindu BusinessLine, the raam is in circulation in parts of the United States and the Netherlands, and is issued by the Stichting Maharishi Global Financing Research (SMDFR), a charitable foundation.
In a 2003 article, the BBC reported that the raam had not violated Dutch law as per the country’s central bank. The notes had been accepted in over 100 Dutch shops and around 30 villages and cities in the country.
A Dutch Central Bank told the BBC that the “Maharishi movement,” or the GCWP had followed the law but stated that the currency could be used as long as the notes were “not used as legal tender”and it stayed with “a closed-off circuit of users.”
Is it a powerful currency?: BBC’s report mentioned that some Dutch shops accepted the raam notes/bonds at a fixed rate of 10 euros per raam.
Those possessing raam could exchange it at the Fortis Bank brand in Roermond.
As for the USA, it mentioned that the Maharishi Vedic City used the raam as currency within its city limits along with the US dollar, adding that “raam-based bonds” were being offered in 35 different American states.
However, country officials had rejected the currency as legal tender, according to a 2002 India Today article. The Vedic City continued to accept the currency, which it valued at 10 USD per raam.
So, what about the viral video?: The viral video makes misleading claims.
As per their website, the GCWP is a “consortium of educational organisations” headquartered in a village called Vlodrop in the Netherlands.
It mentions a city in Iowa, USA called the Maharishi Vedic City with its own by-laws but does not call the consortium a country.
Further, the currency of Raam is not an officially recognised currency by the World Bank. However, some places in the Netherlands and USA’s Iowa have adopted the currency as bonds, but not legal tender.
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