It was on Might 16, 1975 that Sikkim turned twenty second state of the Union of India. Whereas in lots of fashionable narratives, the story of the previous kingdom beneath the Namgyal dynasty buying Indian statehood begins in many years near the Nineteen Seventies, the true story, in accordance with consultants, can solely be understood by tracing the occasions again to 1640s when Namgyal rule was first established.


Starting with Phuntsog Namgyal, the primary chogyal (monarch), the Namgyal dynasty dominated Sikkim till 1975. At one level, the dominion of Sikkim included the Chumbi valley and Darjeeling; the previous being a part of China now.

Within the early 1700s, the area noticed a collection of conflicts between Sikkim, Nepal, Bhutan, and Tibet, which resulted in a shrinking of Sikkim’s territorial boundaries.

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MH Dalmia, Director of Orissa Cement Ltd., is seen with the Chogyal of Sikkim. (Specific Archive)


When the British arrived, their enlargement plans within the Indian subcontinent included controlling the Himalayan states.

The dominion of Nepal, in the meantime, continued with its makes an attempt to broaden its territory. This resulted within the Anglo-Nepalese warfare (November, 1814 to March, 1816), often known as the Gorkha warfare, which was fought between the Gorkhali military and the East India Firm. Either side had formidable enlargement plans for the strategically essential mountainous north of the Indian subcontinent.

In 1814, Sikkim allied with the East India Firm within the latter’s marketing campaign towards Nepal. The Firm received and restored to Sikkim a number of the territories that Nepal had wrested from it in 1780.


A turning level within the historical past of Sikkim includes the appointment of John Claude White, a civil servant in British India who in 1889 was appointed the Political Officer of Sikkim, which by then was a British Protectorate beneath the Treaty of Tumlong signed in March, 1861.

As with many of the Indian subcontinent that the British had beneath their administrative management, the dominion of Sikkim, though a protectorate, had little alternative within the administration of its personal kingdom.

“The British inspired Nepali migration into Sikkim and it didn’t actually occur with the monarch’s consent,” stated Dr Ugen Bhutia, Assistant Professor on the Division of Liberal Arts at SRM College, Amaravati.

The Namgyal monarch couldn’t criticise selections made by the British, however the ruler did complain about this inflow of Nepali migrants into the dominion.

The rationale wasn’t advanced: The monarch was Buddhist, and Sikkim was a Buddhist kingdom. The Nepali migrant inhabitants in Sikkim was rising. A rise of their numbers would have meant a demographic shift within the Buddhist kingdom. “They weren’t Buddhist they usually belonged to a special ethnicity,” Bhutia stated.


Three years after India’s Independence in 1947, Sikkim turned a protectorate of India. In 1950, a treaty was signed between the then Sikkim monarch Tashi Namgyal and India’s then Political Officer in Sikkim, Harishwar Dayal. A clause within the treaty learn: “Sikkim shall proceed to be a Protectorate of India and, topic to the provisions of this Treaty, shall take pleasure in autonomy in regard to its inside affairs.”

Geopolitical adjustments throughout that point put Sikkim in a fragile place. China’s invasion of Tibet in 1949 and Nepal’s assaults on Sikkim all through the dominion’s historical past had been cited as explanation why the dominion wanted the assist and safety of a strong ally.

Additional, the discuss of persecution of Tibetans after China’s arrival on the scene generated concern of the opportunity of Sikkim struggling an analogous destiny.

“Broadly, Sikkim’s ethnicity might be divided into three: Butia, Lepcha and Nepali. So the Bhutia and Lepcha, who’re Buddhists, started feeling threatened by what was taking place in Tibet,” Bhutia defined, including: “There’s a historical past of migration of the Bhutia from Tibet into Sikkim and the Lepcha transformed to Buddhism.”

Maharaja of Sikkim Tashi Namgyal with former president Dr. Rajendra Prasad in New Delhi on 24.1.1961. (Specific Archive)


In March 1959, the 14th Dalai Lama escaped from Tibet. After the Dalai Lama reached Indian borders, he and his entourage settled on the Tawang monastery in Arunachal Pradesh.

A month later, he travelled to Mussoorie, the place he met then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to debate the way forward for the Tibetan refugees who had travelled with him.

The repercussions of India’s determination to welcome and provides refuge to the Dalai Lama despatched a message to some in Sikkim that not like China, aligning with India would assure their safety and safety, stated Bhutia. “This was the attitude of the ruling elite in Sikkim,” he added.

Former Prime Minister of Burma U Nu, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Vice President Dr Radhakrishnan, Dalai Lama and Appa Pant, Indian Political officer in Sikkim on 25.11.56. (Specific Archive)


The interval between the Nineteen Fifties and the Nineteen Seventies marked rising discontent in Sikkim. Primarily, there was anger towards the monarchy due to rising inequality and feudal management.

In December 1947, political teams got here collectively and fashioned the Sikkim State Congress, a political celebration that supported the merging of Sikkim with the Union of India.

Three years later, the Sikkim Nationwide Occasion was fashioned that supported the monarchy and independence of the dominion. A democratic system would have meant a discount in powers held by the monarch in Sikkim and a few researchers imagine that the final monarch, Palden Thondup Namgyal, tried to cut back civil and political liberties.

Prime Minister Indira Gandhi with Sikkim King Palden Thondup Namgyal and his spouse in New Delhi on 17.2.1966. (Specific Archive)

Anti-monarchy protests grew in 1973, following which the royal palace was surrounded by 1000’s of protesters.

Indian troops arrived after the monarch was left with no alternative however to ask New Delhi to ship help. Lastly, a tripartite settlement was signed in the identical 12 months between the chogyal, the Indian authorities, and three main political events, in order that main political reforms could possibly be launched.


A 12 months later, in 1974, elections had been held, the place the Sikkim State Congress led by Kazi Lhendup Dorji received, defeating pro-independence events. That 12 months, a brand new structure was adopted, which restricted the position of the monarch to a titular put up, which Palden Thondup Namgyal bitterly resented.

Former Sikkim Chief Minister Kazi Lhendup Dorji with exterior affairs minister YB Chavan in New Delhi on April 16, 1975. (Specific Archive)

In the identical 12 months, India upgraded Sikkim’s standing from protectorate to “related state”, allotting to it one seat every within the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. Against the transfer, the monarch tried to deliver worldwide consideration to it quickly after.

A newspaper report in The Montreal Gazette dated September 9, 1974, talked about that the monarch wrote to then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and different leaders “asking them to not proceed with the digital annexation of Sikkim”. The monarch had stated that merging with India would “destroy” the dominion’s “separate identification and standing as Indian protectorate”.

The newspaper report added: “In keeping with Indian officers, New Delhi determined to consolidate its maintain on the strategic mountaintop when the chogyal, inspired by his American-born spouse, former New York socialite Hope Cooke, started demanding autonomy.”

Some reviews point out that political leaders in Sikkim criticised the monarch’s makes an attempt abroad at attempting to garner sympathy for his maintain over the nation.


A referendum was held in 1975 the place an amazing majority voted in favour of abolishing the monarchy and becoming a member of India.

A complete 59,637 voted in favour of abolishing the monarchy and becoming a member of India, with just one,496 voting towards.

Sikkim’s new parliament, led by Kazi Lhendup Dorjee, proposed a invoice for Sikkim to change into an Indian state, which was accepted by the Indian authorities.

“There’s a debate that goes on in Sikkim on whether or not it was merged or annexed. However what’s attention-grabbing is that there isn’t any anti-India sentiment there,” Bhutia identified.

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