Past Story: How Sikkim Ended Monarchy & Became Part Of India
August 17th, 2016
Image Courtesy: sikkimarchives
Sikkim favoured India
Sikkim was a strategically important trade route, a route which British wanted to exploit to establish trade with Tibet. However, post-1947, after Independence of India, Sikkim became a separate country. Sikkim remained independent until 1975. It merged with India in 1975 after a referendum was held in which the people of Sikkim decisively voted in favor of merging with India. The merger with India was preceded by series of events. Let us look at a few of them.
Nehru’s attempt to annex
Nehru’s attempt to annex Sikkim to Indian union failed and he eventually agreed to a special protectorate status for Sikkim. Sikkim was to be a tributary of India, in which India controlled its external defense, diplomacy, and communication. This was followed by the establishment of a state council in 1953 to allow for the constitutional government for the monarch Chogyal which lasted for twenty years. However, relations between Chogyal and the elected Prime Minister Lhendup Dorji resulted in an attempt to block the meeting of the legislature. The resentment against the monarch became unanimous in the legislature.
Becoming of state
Indian reserve police were moved in, Gangtok was taken over and Chogyal was kept under siege and the borders were closed. China did its bit in mobilizing opinions against India, however, history was already written and matters came to a head in 1975, when Prime Minister Dorji appealed to the Indian Parliament for representation and change of status to statehood.
End of Monarchy
A referendum was held that facilitated the merger of Sikkim with the union of India and thereby Sikkim became the 22nd Indian State and Lhendup Dorji became head of State (chief minister). The status and post of the monarchy were brought to an end in Sikkim. Democracy reigned supreme.