Essential Reads | Sikkim: Dawn of Democracy

Editor | Non-fiction

As head of the and Analysis Wing’s Gangtok station in 1973, G.B.S. Sidhu had a ringside view of the events that led to the Chogyal’s ouster. Sikkim: Dawn of Democracy outlines the intelligence agency’s strategy to achieve the objectives formulated at the highest level of the Indian government and is an insider’s account of how this plan was executed—a process which hinged on the creation of a level-playing field for the fledgling pro-reform movement led by Kazi Lhendup Dorji.

In his fast-paced and clear-sighted narrative, Sidhu tracks the reasons behind New Delhi’s shift from a long-standing pro-Chogyal stance to an actively pro-democracy position and maps the political alignments on the ground in Sikkim. He draws out the interplay between Indira Gandhi, the Chogyal, Kazi and the Indian officials and intelligence agencies to reveal the chain of events that resulted in the creation of a democratic Sikkim and its merger with India.

Shivshankar Menon, former national security advisor and author of Choices, said Sikkim: Dawn of Democracy is a useful and necessary addition to the annals of modern Indian statecraft.  Menon added:  “This book is a rarity, an account by an intelligence insider who participated in and shaped the events that he recounts. It sets the record straight on . . . the merger of Sikkim which has been under-analysed and misinterpreted in previous accounts that drew upon partial or one-sided sources. This book makes it clear that reality and truth often outstrip imagination and analysis.”

Vikram Sood, former R&AW head and author of The Unending Game, said: “This account is based on a diary the author meticulously maintained . . . and some archival references from the ministry of external affairs and the Prime Minister’s Office to reveal the intrigues of an autocratic and ambitious Chogyal. The result is an excellent book that should now be essential reading for all those interested in the history of post-Independence India.”

Brahma Chellaney, geostrategist and author, had fulsome praise for Sandhu’s work. Chellaney said: “‘A fascinating first-hand account of the developments that led to Sikkim’s merger with India in 1975 by an intelligence officer who played a key role. This is essential reading for those who wish to understand how Sikkim finally became part of the Indian Union after being denied the right to accede when the country was partitioned. The book offers crystal-clear insights on how India was forced to correct its mistake almost twenty-eight years after thwarting Sikkim’s accession to it.”

About the author:

G.B.S. SIDHU is a retired special secretary, Research and Analysis Wing. He was one of the key Indian officers involved in the merger of the princely state of Sikkim with the Indian republic in 1975.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *