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Lindsay Pereira

Uttaranchal. Chattisgarh. Jharkhand. While new states form, and others wait in the wings for their slices of pie, the one thing for certain is that everyone loves autonomy. States, nations, or individuals, everyone wants a niche to call their own and rule with an iron fist. The difference is, while some of us die dreaming about it, others take over bedrooms, imaginary spaces, and even cyberspace, to create virtual 'nations' for themselves. These little cities, according to experts, are called MicroNations.

The smallest form of official nationhood, MicroNations are actually nations that may or may not actually hold any land, but lay claim to sovereign independence and territory anyway. Needless to say, most remain unrecognised by major countries of the world.

Since this is about these nations online, a good place to start is the League of Micronations (http://lom.4t.com/), an international organisation that 'allows MicroNations to interact with each other and strengthen relationships between MicroNations in peace and common existence.' Whatever.

The League has 22 Member Nations already. You can get lots of data and links to each of them, find out how you can join any or all, or check out institutions like the League Parliament, League Council of Ministers, and League Court of Justice.

Moving to an actual MicroNation, the Republic of Lomar (http://www.republic-of-lomar.org/) is as good an example as any. Calling itself the world's leading virtual state, Lomar is a non-territorial governmental organisation structured and organised as a nation, specifically as a constitutional republic. Its name comes courtesy a poem by Science Fiction writer HP Lovecraft entitled 'Polaris'. So much for antecedents.

The site tells you where the Republic is, how you can get a passport to it, how you can become a diplomat or, most importantly, whether what it's doing is legal.

While some restrict their imagination to the Net alone, others dive deeper. Like the people behind Oceania -- The Atlantis Project (http://www.oceania.org/). Not content with what earth has to offer, the goal here is the establishment of a new country named Oceania that will - hold your breath -- first exist as a sea city in the Caribbean. How, you ask? Well, by building an island out of concrete and steel, of course!

Currently raising funds resources to pay off past debts and build a completed model of Oceania, the project is supposed to get into full gear and go well beyond its peak reached in early 1994. It's supposed to spring up about fifty miles off the coast of Panama in the Caribbean Sea, and the structure will comprise hexagonal, modular units of about 1.60 acres each. Those interested can check the site for images of the project, information on Oceania passports, and even a opportunity to 'interface' with the country's huge world-wide spy network!

Best of all, visitors can also visit the 'secret Oceania lodge,' though the cynic in me fails to see how it can remain a secret if left online much longer.

On to newer worlds and newer nations. The Kingdom of Freedonia (http://vcsn.com/~bis/fredon.htm), a sovereign nation in North America, lives by the concept that the business of government is to provide service first and foremost. A noble idea, though it would have been a lot more reassuring if we weren't told that the Reigning Sovereign was someone called King Brett I.

Citizenship is free and open to all though, and inquiries can be sent to the nation's Foreign Ministry located at the Freedonia Government Building, in Philadelphia.

On a lighter note, you can avoid nations boasting high ideals and opt for one with a little more joie-de-vivre. Like Roadkills-R-Us (http://www.rru.com/), which seceded from the United States of America and became 'the first nation in Cyberspace' (by its own admission) on April 1, 1997!

After getting through these examples, the temptation to create your own MicroNation may be strong. And, if you think that's as easy as ABC, that's pretty much the truth.

On 26 December 1979, 13-year old high school student called Robert Ben Madison, from Milwaukee, declared his bedroom to be an independent sovereign state: the Kingdom of Talossa (http://www.execpc.com/~talossa/main.html). He went on to take the Throne as King Robert I. Talossa boasts a '20- year-old unique culture and language,' and is currently overflowing with over fifty citizens. It comprises people from all over North America, Europe, and Latin America and, after it went online in 1995, its population ballooned from around 20 to the huge figure of 60. It's popularity, however, is obvious by the number of pages devoted to it.

There are many more where that came from. Like the Principality of New Utopia (http://www.new-utopia.com/) which resembles the Principality of Monaco. Its creators have an idea that, if implemented here in India, could make life easier for our police: New Utopia will be constructed in a way that each platform making up a city block will be surrounded by water. This, say the New Utopians, will obviously make its policing easier, and crime virtually non-existent. Yeah, right. And I'm Santa Claus.

The Kingdom of Merovingia (http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/5205/), is an absolute monarchy currently comprising two enclaves within the USA, one inside Brazil, and the Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean with a total area of 3.40011435 square miles. The Kingdoms of Elgaland and Vargaland (http://www.it.kth.se/KREV/) are more ambitious. Their rulers say: 'With effect from the 14th of March 1992, we are annexing and occupying the following territories: All border frontier areas between all countries on earth, and all areas (up to a width of 10 nautical miles) existing outside all countries' territorial waters. We designate these territories our physical territory.'

Finally, if this has been inspirational in any way, you might want to try the World MicroNation Union (http://www.micronations.co.uk/ ) for a comprehensive list of MicroNations currently on the web. Of the 20 mentioned, there's nothing under the 'Indian' section yet.

Any takers?

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