Sikkim History

The history of Sikkim basically unfolds with the coronation of Phuntsok Namgyal as the first Chogyal. He was coronated at Yuksom in the year 1641, and the coronation throne which witnessed this historic event, still stands today, protected by the Archaeological Survey of India as a monument of national importance. Chogyal Phuntsok Namgyal was succeeded by his son Tensung Namgyal in 1670. He shifted the capital from Yuksom to Rabdentse. Rabdentse, the second capital was very close to the Nepal border, and the Gorkhas used to constantly raid the Sikkemese territories. Owing to this, Chogyal Tsupshud Namgyal, the seventh Chogyal, shifted his capital to Tumlung in Northern Sikkim. These may have been prompted by the fact that Tibet was traditionally an ally of the Chogyals, and shared a close bond by way of marriages and other relationships. Unlike other countries, the Namgyal dynasty continued to rule Sikkim until it was annexed to the Indian Union on 16th may 1975, although it had to face its share of intrigues and wars with their neighbors, from time to time.

The Bhutanese army invaded Sikkim in 1700 and captured Rabdentse and large parts of West Sikkim. Chador Namgyal, the third Chogyal had to flee to Tibet and take refuge there. Later, the mediation of H.H, the 5th Dalai Lama of Tibet, the Bhutanese army retreated and Chador Namgyal was re-installed as the Chogyal. Although Kalimpong, which was a part of Sikkim, was lost to Bhutan forever. During the reign of the sixth Chogyal – Tenzing Namgyal, the Nepalese forces invaded Sikkim and captured a large part of the country, which were restored later when the Nepalese were defeated by the British in 1816, and the subsequent signing of the treaty of Suguali. As a direct spin off, British Indian signed another treaty with Sikkim in 1817, known as the treaty of Titalia, in which the former territories which the Nepalese had captured where restored to Sikkim. Darjeeling and its adjoining areas were gifted by the Chogyal to British India. In the year 1889, British appointed Claude White as the first Political Officer in Sikkim and the Chogyal virtually became the nominal head of the country.

After the independence of India, Harishwar Dayal was appointed as the first Indian Political Officer to Sikkim. There were rumblings in the political ranks by the beginning of 1970, which demanded the removal of monarchy and establishment of a democratic setup. In the year 1973, the Sikkim Durbar suffered widespread upheaval and the monarchy finally collapsed. The Sikkim Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution on 10th April 1975, abolishing the institution of the Chogyal and declaring Sikkim as a constituent unit of India.

Sikkim became a state of India by the 38th amendment of the constitution of India on 16th May 1975. The first election for the Assembly was held on 8th April 1974. Kazi Lhendup Dorjee became the first Chief Minister of Sikkim. Sikkim has seen five Chief Ministers till date. At present Dr. Pawan Champing is the Chief Minister of Sikkim, who heads his regional party Sikkim Democratic Front. which has been ruling the state since 1994 .

Sikkim State Archives.

After the merging of Sikkim with the Union of India in 1975, an Archives Section was created under the Art and Culture Department in 1976. The Sikkim State Archives was established with its nomenclature Sikkim State Archives in 1990, and is located at Zero point, 31-A, National Highway, Gangtok-737101.

The State Archives has in its custody, the record holdings of 15 Secretariat Department of the Darbar period. The rules regulating the access to the records have not been finalized by the Department of Art and Culture, Government of Sikkim. The Secretary, Culture Affairs & Heritage Department, however, is authorized to grant permission to the scholars for consultation of records housed in the custody of the Sikkim State Archives and Museum. The record holdings in the custody of the Sikkim State Archives which are more than 30 years old, are open for consultation to bonafide research scholars. Foreign scholars are required to produce a letter of introduction from their respective Diplomatic Mission in India. All such applications for permission to consult the records, are to be addressed to the Secretary, Culture Affairs & Heritage Department, Government of Sikkim, Main Secretariat Building, Tashiling Gangtok-737101.

Growth of Secretariat

The secretariat administration of the Government of Sikkim, prior to its merger to the Indian Union in 1975, was conducted by the Chogyal (Ruler) of Sikkim. The Chogyal was assisted by an organized secretariat, similar to the Government of India. In 1994, the Dewan or Principal Administration Officer (PAO) of Sikkim was appointed. The Dewan was the head of the secretariat Administration. The administration was carried through various Secretariat Departments

Three Secretariats as details below, carried the administration of the State. Besides, a state engineer performed the functions of a secretary for the Public Work Department in Sikkim.

a)General Secretary dealt with police, arms & ammunition, land administration, registration, cooperative credit societies, forest, political, miscellaneous (concerning post, telegraphs and stationery etc.)

b)Judicial Secretary dealt with education, medical (including sanitation), ecclesiastical, jails, income tax, excise, bazar, veterinary, stamps, census, transport.

c) Finance Secretary dealt with the budget, accounts audit, salaries, etc.

Besides the three secretariats, there was a State Council comprising nine members to aid the secretariat administration.

On 5th December 1950, a treaty was signed between India and Sikkim, which ratified the status of Sikkim as a Protectorate with Chogyal as its monarch. Under the provisions of this treaty, the responsibility pertaining to Defence and Foreign Affairs of Sikkim, were taken over by the Government of India. The matters pertaining to postal system and currency and coinage, were also entrusted to the Government of India. However, the Chogyal carried out the internal administration.

In 1975, the following departments were in existence under the Government of Sikkim.

  1. Agriculture Department
  2. Animal Husbandry Department
  3. Bazar Department
  4. Co-operative Department
  5. Education Department
  6. Ecclesiastical Department
  7. Electricity Department
  8. Establishment Department
  9. Excise Department
  10. Finance Department
  11. Food Supplies and Fair Price Shopes Department
  12. Forest Department
  13. General Excise and Motor Vehicles Department
  14. Home Department
  15. land Revenue Department
  16. law Department
  17. Legislative Department
  18. Medical and Public Health Department
  19. Panchayat and Rural Works Department
  20. Planning and Development Department
  21. Press publicity and Cultural Affairs Department
  22. Public Works Department
  23. Tourism Department
  24. Trade Industry and Commerce Department.

Secretariat Record (Dubar Period)

Cencus Department (1902-1960)

Dubar Department (1898-1939)

Development Department (1954)

Education Department (1905-1956)

Excise Department (19909-1958)

Finance Department (1909-1974)

General Department (1909-1961)

Health Department (1955-1961)

Industries Department (1953-1962)

Information Public Relations Department Judicial Department (1907-1943)

Land Revenue Department (1903-1963)

Police Department (1909-1954)

Veterinary Department 1923


Reference Media in the form of department-wise Registers are available

SI NO. – Description –Inclusive Years –Volume

  1.   Census Department :1902-1 1960 :20

2.   Durbar Department: 898-1939 :172

3.   Development Department :1954 :5

4.   Education Department :1905-1956 :40

5.   Excise Department :1909-1958  :18

6.   Finance Department  :1909-1974 :259

7.   Forest Department :1924-1938:  4

8.   General Department :1901-1961 :843

9.   Health Department  :1955-1961: 3

10.   Industries Department : 1953-1962: 5

11.   Information Public Relations Department :1955-1962 :2

12.   Judicial Department: 1907-1943: 2

13.   Land Revenue Department :1903-1963 :120

14.   Police Department :1909-1954: 63

15.   Veterinary Department :1923: 1


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