Sikkim Statehood Day in India Date in the current year: May 16, 2024

Sikkim Statehood Day in India The Indian state of Sikkim celebrates its Statehood Day on May 16. On this day in 1975, Sikkim became the 22nd state of the Indian Union.

Sikkim is an Indian state in the Eastern Himalayas, bordering West Bengal, Bhutan, China (the Tibet Autonomous Region), and Nepal. It is the least populous Indian state, as well as the second smallest among the country’s states (not including union territories).

According to legend, Sikkim was founded by the Tibetan prince Khye Bumsa, who lived in the 13th or 14th century. One night, he received a divine revelation instructing him to travel to what is now Sikkim to seek his fortunes. One of his descendants, Phutsong Namgyal, became the first chogyal (monarch) of Sikkim and founded the ruling dynasty.

During the 18th century, the Kingdom of Sikkim was constantly attacked by Bhutan and Nepal, losing most of its territory in the process. In 1791, Sikkim was once again invaded by the Nepalese Kingdom of Gorkha, and China sent troops to prevent the Nepalese army from advancing into Tibet. Having defeated the Gorkha Kingdom, the Qing dynasty established control over Sikkim, but granted it autonomy.

Meanwhile, the British East India Company established control over neighboring India. Sikkim aligned itself with Britain, seeking protection from Nepal. Nepal’s attempt to expand its empire into Sikkim resulted in the Anglo-Nepalese War of 1814, also known as the Gurkha War. The war ended in a stalemate, and Sikkim got its territory back in 1817.

After the war, relations between Sikkim and Britain became strained. In 1849, two British physicians were detained by the Sikkimese authorities for entering the kingdom unannounced and unauthorized. In response, the British launched a punitive expedition against Sikkim and annexed some of its territory.

Several years later, Sikkim became a vassal state of the British Empire, and then a British protectorate. China officially relinquished its claim to the kingdom in 1890. Over the next decades, Sikkim was gradually granted wider autonomy; in 1922, its ruler became a member of the Chamber of Princes, a forum of the rulers of the Indian princely states.

When India gained independence from Great Britain, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru insisted that Sikkim was not an Indian state, and so it was not admitted to the Indian Union. This decision spurred the emergence of two opposing political movements in Sikkim. The Sikkim State Congress was pro-accession, while the Sikkim National Party advocated independence.

The Sikkim State Congress launched a civil disobedience campaign, and the ruler of Sikkim asked the Indian government for assistance in quelling the movement. As a result, Sikkim became an Indian protectorate in 1950. Three years later, it was transformed from an absolute monarchy into a constitutional one.

In 1975, the anti-royalist Prime Minister of Sikkim petitioned the Indian Parliament for Sikkim to be admitted to the Indian Union as a state. In April, the Indian Army took over the Sikkim capital and surrounded the royal palace. Following a referendum, the monarchy was abolished, and Sikkim became the 22nd state of India on May 16, 1975.

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