GBS Sidhu, in his book Sikkim: Dawn of Democracy gives an insider’s view of the events that led to the ouster of the Chogyal dynasty in Sikkim around the year 1973. In a society which was struggling to come to terms with the modern world, GBS Sidhu provides an account for the movement which fought for the dawn of democracy and struggles for reformation that were led by Kazi Lhendup Dorji.
From listing New Delhi’s reason for changing its stand of being pro-Chogyal to mapping the political alignments in Sikkim during this time, the author gives an informative and a unique perspective to Sikkim’s road to being a part of India.
Here we give you a few facts about the twelfth and last king of Sikkim, Palden Thondup Namgyal:
1. In April 1965, Palden Thondup Namgyal bestowed with the title of Chogyal (a religious and temporal head of a kingdom) after he repeatedly made requests to the Government of India to restore this title. (Page 35)
2. Palden Thondup Namgyal was the second son of Tashi Namgyal, his predecessor. (Page 26)
3. When India was on its way to becoming an independent country, Palden Thondup Namgyal tried to have consultations and meetings with the then PO Arthur John Hopkinson, for Sikkim’s special independent status but these meetings had consequently failed. (Page 36)
4. Although the Indo-Sikkim Treaty of 1950 was signed between the then PO Hareshwar Dayal and Maharaja Tashi Namgyal, Palden Thondup Namgyal was behind the actualization of the Treaty. (Page 63)
5. Palden Thondup Namgyal married Hope Cooke in the year 1963. This marriage attracted international attention with talks of the marriage in the social and political circles. (Page 88)
6. Soon after his marriage to Hope Cooke, Palden Thondup Namgyal took up the issue to reform the Indo-Sikkim Treaty of 1950. He wished for Sikkim to become a sovereign state and made multiple requests to the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, in order to reform the Treaty. (Page 106)
7. Responding to Palden Thondup Namgyal’s request, Indira Gandhi had offered to make a slight change in the Indo-Sikkim Treaty of 1950 and make Sikkim a “permanent association” to India. However, Thondup thought that this would only make matters easy for India to form a merger with Sikkim in the future and so refused the offer. (Page 1118)