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Sikkim: Requiem for a Himalayan Kingdom

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Sikkim: Requiem for a Himalayan Kingdom

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This is the true story of Sikkim, a tiny Buddhist kingdom in the Himalayas that survived the end of the British Empire in India only to be annexed by India in 1975. It tells the remarkable story of Thondup, the last King of Sikkim, and his American wife Hope Cooke, thrust unwittingly into the spotlight as they sought support for Sikkim’s independence after their ‘fairytale’ wedding in 1963. But as tensions between India and China spilled over into war in the Himalayas, Sikkim became a pawn in the Cold War ideological battle that played out in Asia during the 1960s and 1970s.

Rumours circulated that Hope was a CIA spy. Meanwhile a shadowy Scottish adventuress, the Kazini of Chakung, married to Sikkim’s leading political figure, coordinated opposition to the Palace. As the geopolitical tectonic plates of the Himalayas ground together, forming the political landscape that exists today, Sikkim never stood a chance. On the eve of declaring Emergency in India, Indira Gandhi brazenly annexed the country.

Thondup died a broken man in 1982; Hope returned to New York; Sikkim began a new phase as India’s 2nd state. Based on interviews and archive research, as well as a retracing of a journey the author’s grandfather made in 1922, this is a thrilling, romantic and informative glimpse of life in Shangri La.
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’Clearly the most comprehensive account so far of Sikkim’s fall.’ – Calcutta Telegraph

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