Sikkim Statehood Day Celebrated
Source | Press Information Bureau
GS Paper I: Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country.
Context: The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has greeted the people of Sikkim on their Statehood Day.
“Sikkim Statehood Day”
What you need to know about Sikkim Statehood Day?
- The Kingdom of Sikkim was founded by the Namgyal dynasty in the 17th century.
- It was ruled by a Buddhist priest-king known as the Chogyal.
- It became a princely state of British India in 1890.
- Before Indian independence, Jawaharlal Nehru, as the Vice President of the Executive Council, pushed through a resolution in the Indian Constituent Assembly to the effect that Sikkim and Bhutan, as Himalayan states, were not ‘Indian states’ and their future should be negotiated separately.
- A standstill agreement was signed in February 1948.
- Meanwhile, Indian independence and its move to democracy spurred a fledgling political movement in Sikkim, giving rise to the formation of Sikkim State Congress (SSC).
- The party sent a plate of demands to the palace, including a demand for accession to India.
- The palace attempted to defuse the movement.
- The demand for responsible government continued and the SSC launched a civil disobedience movement.
- The Chogyal Palden Thondup Namgyal asked India for help in quelling the movement, which was offered in the form of a small military police force and an Indian Dewan.
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- In 1950, a treaty was agreed between India and Sikkim which gave Sikkim the status of an Indian protectorate.
- Sikkim came under the suzerainty of India, which controlled its external affairs, defence, diplomacy and communications. In other respects, Sikkim retained administrative autonomy.
- A state council was established in 1953 to allow for constitutional government under the Chogyal.
- In 1975, the Prime Minister of Sikkim appealed to the Indian Parliament for Sikkim to become a state of India.
- In April 1975, the Indian Army took over the city of Gangtok and disarmed the Chogyal’s palace guards.
- Thereafter, a referendum was held in which 97.5 % of voters supported abolishing the monarchy, effectively approving union with India.
- On 16 May 1975, Sikkim became the 22nd state of the Indian Union, and the monarchy was abolished.
- First, the 35th Amendment laid down a set of conditions that made Sikkim an “Associate State“, a special designation not used by any other state.
- A month later, the 36th Amendment repealed the 35th Amendment, and made Sikkim a full state, adding its name to the First Schedule of the Constitution.
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What else you need to know about Sikkim?
- Sikkim borders China in the north and northeast, Bhutan in the east, Nepal in the west, and West Bengal in the south.
- Sikkim is also located close to India’s Siliguri Corridor near Bangladesh.
- Sikkim is the least populous and second smallest among the Indian states.
- Being a part of the Eastern Himalaya, Sikkim is notable for its biodiversity, including alpine and subtropical climates, as well as being a host to Kangchenjunga, the highest peak in India and third highest on Earth.
- Sikkim’s capital and largest city is Gangtok.
- Almost 35% of the state is covered by the Khangchendzonga National Park.
- Modern Sikkim is a multiethnic and multilingual Indian state.
- The official languages of the state are English, Nepali, Sikkimese and Lepcha.
- Additional official languages include Gurung, Limbu, Magar, Mukhia, Newari, Rai, Sherpa and Tamang for the purpose of preservation of culture and tradition in the state.
- Hinduism and Vajrayana Buddhism are its prominent religions.
- Sikkim accounts for the largest share of cardamom production in India, and is the world’s second largest producer of the spice after Guatemala.
- Sikkim achieved its ambition to convert its agriculture to fully organic over the interval 2003 to 2016, the first state in India to achieve this distinction.
- It is also among India’s most environmentally conscious states, having banned plastic water bottles “in any government functions and meetings” and polystyrene products (throughout the state).
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