Sikkim Statehood Day Celebrated

On 16 May 1975, Sikkim became the 22nd state of the Indian Union, and the monarchy was abolished.

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”

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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.


PRELIMS Background Bites

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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