Sikkim, is a tiny Himalayan Kingdom situated in the north-eastern range of the Himalayas in the Indian subcontinent. Sikkim is a land-locked country with Nepal in the west, Tibet/China in the north and Bhutan in the east. The land in the olden days was popularly known as the " Rice ... (Show more)
Sikkim, is a tiny Himalayan Kingdom situated in the north-eastern range of the Himalayas in the Indian subcontinent. Sikkim is a land-locked country with Nepal in the west, Tibet/China in the north and Bhutan in the east. The land in the olden days was popularly known as the " Rice Valley". Thus agriculture has always been an important source of livelihood to the people. It has an ethnically diverse population, with Nepalese being the majority and Bhutias and Lepchas both belonging to the tribal category. Lepchas along with the Limboos are known to be the original inhabitants of the region. Land is an important means of production in an agrarian society. In Sikkim around 70% of the population still depends on agriculture. (Census of India, 2001) The land is such an important means of livelihood for the people since there was a common saying among the people in those days i.e; ‘padhi guni ke kam, halo joti khayo mam’ which means what is the use of reading and writing, when ultimately you have to plough the field. The aim of this research is to study the change in agrarian structure, land use and land reform policies undertaken by the state in post-colonial Sikkim. The period of study as mentioned in the title is from 1949 to 2016, it was the time when the newly independent state was involved in conducting land reform policies, after succumbing to the peasant resistance of the forties which finally led to the abolition of land lessee system in Sikkim in 1949. Another major step taken by the government was to remove the intermediaries and, in another reform of 1951, ‘Elakhas’ were disbanded which were under the ‘kazi’ feudal lords who were now transferred to salaried officials. The villages were divided into several Blocks under a State Administrative Officer. Until 1975, the state was under a hereditary monarchy. It was in the year 1975 Sikkim became the 22nd state of India , after its merger with the Indian Union by a majority consensus.The Indian Government has a major contribution for the development of the region. During the Planning Years and thereafter in the Economic Reforms era we see major Land Reforms and other developments in the region. The political developments indeed led to significant economic changes in the state, first and foremost being the abolition of Landlordism.
In this paper I will also be covering socio-cultural aspects along with the agrarian history , basically my intention is to study the rural socio-economic history of the region. Hence, i will be looking at both the economic and cultural dimensions of the agrarian society of Sikkim. (Show less)