Monday, March 24, 2008

Kingdom without a king

30 years ago in India Today

Our jeep jolted to a halt before the border town of Rangpo. The Nepalese driver leapt out to survey the scene and said, “We will cross into Sikkim now. All this was India.” “But Sikkim is a part of India,” we said. “That is what they say,” he replied. It was under the shrewd gaze of New Delhi thousands of miles away that Sikkim changed governments.

In April 1975, the Government of India introduced the 36th Amendment Act making Sikkim the 22nd state of the Indian Union. The Sikkim issue, which had earlier developed into a national debate a year ago, never got complete hearing due to the declaration of Emergency.

In Gangtok, the deposed Chogyal’s eldest son’s death has caused a sudden tightening of political reflexes all around. The Sikkimese continue to recognise Chogyal as the divine defender of their faith. — Sunil Sethi