Sikkim remains an enigma for most. It can be seen that with many misconceptions about its history and its merger with India in 1975. In “Sikkim – A History of Intrigue and Alliance” (HarperCollins), former diplomat Preet Mohan Singh Malik combines insights into the erstwhile kingdoms unique history with the intriguing story of how it became Indias 22nd state.
He examines the often-fraught relationship between the Lepchas (Rongpas)-its original inhabitants — and the Bhutias — people of Tibetan origin who established institutions of religion and governance, and founded the Namgyal dynasty that ruled the kingdom until it became a part of the Indian Union.
16 May is being celebrated as the State Day, the day when Sikkim became the 22nd state of the Indian Union in 1975.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 16 May extended greetings to the people of Sikkim on their Statehood Day.
Taking to Twitter, he said that Sikkim has made great strides in areas like organic farming.
“Statehood Day greetings to the people of Sikkim. This state is blessed with rich natural beauty and is home to warm-hearted people. Sikkim has made great strides in areas like organic farming. Praying for the state’s continuous growth and for the good health of it’s citizens,” Modi tweeted.
India’s historical relationships with Tibet and China form a part of this narrative covering, in particular, the many facets of British involvement in the Himalayan region during the colonial period, and strategic failures that were compounded by a flawed Tibet policy pursued by independent India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru.
Today, Sikkim remains significant from a strategic point of view, given its proximity to Tibet and the crucial Siliguri Corridor that connects India’s north-eastern states with the rest of the country.
Sikkim was made a part of India under the 35th Constitutional Amendment Act. However, China did not like this union up till very late. It was only in 2003 during Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s leadership that China accepted Sikkim as a part of India.