Indian Gorkha - Nepali people in India

Indian Gorkhas are Indian citizens of Nepali descent. Other than Indian Gorkhas, there is also a sizable number of Nepali citizens currently living in India due to the open border. A high concentration of Indian Gorkha lives in North East India.


The great King Prithvi Narayan Shah (1723-1775) of Gorkha/Nepal started the unification of the pan Himalayan region in 1744 which ultimately provided the current border of the country of Nepal in 1816.  At the peak of the unification (1814-1816) the Gorkha empire was almost two times bigger than present-day Nepal expanding all the way from the Teesta river in the east to the Sutlej River in the west. After the Anglo Nepal war (1814-1816) and Sugauli Treaty(1816), Gorkha/Nepal lost its land on the both eastern and western frontier but many ethnic Nepali/Gorkhali people stayed there under the British Raj. Also after the Suguli treaty of 1816 many Nepali people moved to India looking for jobs and livelihood which continued even after India got Independence in 1947. Many Nepalis also joined the Gorkha regiments of both British Indian (before 1947) and Indian Army (after 1947) among whom many people stayed there and obtained Indian Citizenship. All of these Indian citizens of Nepali descent are collectively known as Indian Gorkha. 

Nepali language speakers in India 

-North EastSikkim (62.6% of 6 Lakh), GTA/Darjeeling (~90% of 33 Lakh), Assam (1.91% of 3 crores 11 lakh), Arunachal Pradesh (6.89% of 13 Lakh), Meghalaya (2.5% of 29 lakh), Manipur (2.23% of 28 lakh), Nagaland (2.18% of 20 lakh), Mizoram (~1% of 11 lakh), Tripura (few).

-Other parts: Uttarakhand 1.1% of 1 Crore.

-Indian embassy in Nepal estimates about 80 lakh Nepali citizen lives and work in India. (link)

Mumbai ~3 Lakh, Delhi ~3 Lakh.

Timeline of Gorkhaland/Darjeeling

1789: Kingdom of Gorkha/Nepal conquered the Sikkim Kingdom which also covered proposed Gorkhaland at that time.

1816: After the Anglo-Nepal war the Sugauli Treaty was signed, Nepal lost all land east of the Mechi river.

1817: Treaty of Titalia: the British EIC reinstated the Chogyal of Sikkim and gave control of land between the River Mechi and the River Teesta.

1850: British EIC annexed 1700 sq km of the current Darjeeling district from Sikkim.

1864: Darjeeling became the summer capital of Bengal Presidency (the British Indian subdivision).

1865: After the Duar war/Bhutan war of 1864-65 Treaty of Sinchula signed. Bhutan ceded the claim of parts of the Assam Duars, Koch Behar Duars, and Dewangiri to British India. These agreements also included the GTA area.

1866: Darjeeling district got its current shape covering  3200 sq km area.

1936 June 22: Subhash Ghising was born in Darjeeling, British India.

1947: After the independence of India, Darjeeling was merged with the State of West Bengal.

1964 July 17: Bimal Gurung was born.

1975: the Kingdom of Sikkim was annexed by India.

1977: Communist Rule in West Bengal: CPI Marxist won the majority of 178 seats among a total of 294 seats in the West Bengal legislative assembly defeating the ruling Congress I. Jyoti Basu became the chief minister of West Bengal. CPI-M rule was ended only after 34 years by the 2011 election.

1980: Subhash Ghising established Gorkha National Liberation Front GNLF, a political party demanding a separate Gorkhaland state in India.

1986-1988: 1st Gorkhaland people's movement: people's movement led by GNLF erupted in the Darjeeling hills demanding separate states on the basis of ethnolinguistic rights. About 1,200 people lost their lives.

1988 Aug 22: Darjeeling Hill Accord was signed. Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council - DGHC, a semi-autonomous body for the administration of Darjeeling district, was established. GNLF gave up its demand for a separate Gorkhaland state.

1992: The government of India recognized the Nepali language (which is also the main language of Sikkim) including it in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution of India.

2007 Oct 7: 2nd Gorkhaland People's movement: Bimal Gurung established Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (गोर्खा जनमुक्ति मोर्चा).

2009 Apr/May: 15th Lok Sabha election. National level leader Jaswant Singh from BJP won the Darjeeling constituency with a 51.5% popular vote. But as the INC alliance got the majority seat in Lok Sabha BJP leader found an excuse not to fulfill his promise to help grant Gorkhaland statehood.

2011 May 20: Rule of Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal State: All India Trinamool Congress got landslide victory defeating 34 years long Communist rule in West Bengal state. Mamata Banerjee appointed as the Chief Minister.

2011 July 18: "Memorandum of Agreement" for "Gorkhaland Territorial Administration- GTA" was signed near Siliguri in the presence of Home Minister of India P. Chidambaram, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leaders. GTA replaced 23 years old "Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council - DGHC". The new GTA will have 50 members: 45 of them will be elected and the rest nominated. (Link) (Link)

2012 July 29: 1st GTA election held. Gorkha Janamukti Morcha GJM won all of 45 seats including 28 uncontested. AITC (Mamta Benergee) contested 17 seats without winning any. 

2013 July 30: Mangal Singh Rajput (45) set himself in fire demanding Gorkhaland State (he died Aug 3 in Siliguri in Hospital) (Link)

2014 Apr/May: 16th Lok Sabha election held. S. S. Ahluwalia from BJP won the Darjeeling constituency(wiki) with 42.75% popular vote getting support from Gorkha Jamamukti Morcha-GJM. Ex-football player Bhai Chung Bhutia, contested from West Bengal's ruling All India Trinamool Congress, got second in the competition with 25.48% popular vote.

2016 Apr/May: West Bengal Sate's 294-seat Legislative Assembly election held. All three candidates from GJM in the Gorkhaland GTA area (Sarita Rai, Amar Singh Rai, Rohit Sharma) won the election.

2017 May-June: West Bengal government decided to include mandatory Bengali language curriculum in School. Protesting the government's decision new agitation erupted in Darjeeling supporting Gorkhaland. Three people killed by Army in the agitation.

Timeline of Sikkim

1950: Indo-Sikkim Treaty was signed between the Maharaja of Sikkim, Sir Tashi Namgyal, and a representative of the Indian Government. This treaty recognized Sikkim as a protectorate of India as Sikkim had autonomy in its internal affairs but its defense, external affairs, and communication requirements were to be looked after by India.

1953: King (Chogyal) Palden Thondup Namgyal introduced democracy to his Kingdom of Sikkim. A State Council of 18 members was formed in which 12 members were to be elected and 6 including the President were to be nominated by the King. 

1953 min: 1st election of State Council of Kingdom of Sikkim: two parties "Sikkim National Party" and the "Sikkim State Congress" won 6 seats each.

1958: 2nd election of State Council of Kingdom of Sikkim. Among the total of 20 members, 13 were elected, 7 from Sikkim State Congress and 6 from Sikkim National Party, and 7 were appointed by the King.

1962 Oct 20-Nov 21: India-China war took place.

1962: Kazi Lhendup Dorji Khangsarpa founded the "Sikkim National Congress" political party.

1966 Jan 24: Indira Gandhi became Prime Minister of India (until 1977 March 24).

1967 March: 3rd election of State Council of Kingdom of Sikkim. Out of a total of 24 seats, 18 had to be elected. Lhendup Dorji's party Sikkim National congress won 8, Sikkim National Party won 5, Sikkim State Congress won 2.

1970 Apr: 4th election of  State Council of Kingdom of SikkimSikkim National Party won 8, Sikkim State Congress won 4, and Sikkim National Congress won 3.

1971 Dec 16:  Pakistan Armed Forces surrendered on Bangladesh War of Independence with the help of India. Former East Pakistan became the new "Republic of Bangladesh".

1973: 5th election of  State Council of Kingdom of Sikkim. Independence supporter Sikkim National Party won 9 seats, whereas annexationist parties Lhendup Dorje's Sikkim National Congress won 5 and newly united Sikkim Janta Congress (Sikkim State Congress + Sikkim Janata Party) won 2 seats out of total elected 18.

1973 Apr: India sent B. S. Das as the Chief Executive in Sikkim (until Sep 1974)

1973 May 8: "Tripartite agreement" was signed between King Namgyal, political parties, and the government of India. The agreement provided for the establishment of a "responsible" government under the supervision of a "Chief Executive" nominated by India.

1974 Apr 13:  6th election of State Council of Kingdom of Sikkim. Sikkim National Congress led by Kazi Lhendup Dorji won an overwhelming majority of 31 out of a total of 32 seats.

1974 June 28: Government of Sikkim Act was passed from Sikkim assembly.

1974 July 23: Following the "Tripartite Agreement" a 5-member Sikkim government was formed with Kazi Lhendup Dorjee as Prime Minister, other members were Rinzing Lepcha, BP Dahal, Dorji Thering & KC Pradhan.

1975 April: ANNEXATION: Indian Army took over the city of Gangtok and disarmed about 300 King's palace guards. One Indian army one King's guard killed in the operation.

1975 Apr 14: The referendum on abolishing the monarchy in Sikkim was held under the control of the Indian Army. 97.55% of people supported the major.

1975 Apr 22: The government of India introduced the 36th Amendment to the Constitution making Sikkim the 22nd state of India with effect from April 26.

1975 May 16: Sikkim became the 22nd state of the Indian Union, and the monarchy was abolished.  Kazi Lhendup Dorjee appointed as the Chief Minister of Sikkim. Indian Chief executive BB Lal became governor of Sikkim.

1977: Sikkim National Congress of Kaji Lhendup Dorjee merged with Indian National Congress.

1977: Nar Bahadur Bhandari formed the "Sikkim Janta Parishad" party.

1978 Aug 18: President rule imposed in Sikkim until Oct 18. (for 2 months)

1979 Oct 12: The 1st Sikkim Legislative Assembly election held. 244 candidates contested for a total of 32 seats. "Sikkim Janta Parishad" won 16 seats with a 31.49% popular vote. Sikkim Congress (Revolutionary) got 11 seats and 20.58% popular vote. "Sikkim Prajatantra Congress" led by Pawan Kumar Chamling won 4 seats and 15.76% popular vote. Independent candidate won rest 1 seat.

1979 Oct 18: Nar Bahadur Bhandari from "Sikkim Janata Parishad" appointed as the Chief Minister of Sikkim until 11 May 1984.

1981: ruling party "Sikkim Janta Parishad" merged with national party Indian National Congress.

1982 Jan 29: Last sovereign king of Sikkim Palden Thondup Namgyal died at the age of 58 because of cancer in New York City, USA.

1984 Jan: 13 ruling party MLAs including 4 ministers submitted a memorandum to the governor against the Bhandari government on a corruption charge and expressed their no confidence.

1984 May 11: Governor "Homi J. H. Taleyarkhan" dismissed the Bhandari government. Bir Bahadur Gurung from INC (SJP had merged with INC) appointed as the Chief Minister of Sikkim (for 13 days). But the Gurung's government failed due to a lack of support and instability.

1984 May: Nar Bahadur Bhandari left merged Congress-I and founded a new party "Sikkim Sangram Parishad" which overwhelmingly won 1985 and 1989 elections with 30 and 32 seats respectively.

1984 May 25:  President's rule imposed until 1985 March 8. (for 9 months 13 days)

1985: The 2nd Sikkim Legislative Assembly election. 195 candidates contested for a total of 32 seats. "Sikkim Sangram Parishad" led by Ex-CM Nar Bahadur Bhandari won the majority of 30 seats with 62.2% popular vote. National party INC got 24.15% popular vote and won 1 seat. Independent candidate won rest 1 seat. Pawan Chamling, future influential Sikkim leader, elected as a member of the Sikkim legislative assembly for the first time from Sikkim Sangram Parishad.

1985 March 8: Nar Bahadur Bhandari from Sikkim Sangram Parishad appointed as the chief minister of Sikkim until 1994 June 17.

1989: The 3rd Sikkim Legislative Assembly election held. 118 candidates contested for a total of 32. seats. Sikkim Sangram Parishad - SSP won all 32 seats with a 70.41% popular vote. National party INC got 18.05% popular vote without winning any seats.

1989: Nar Bahadur Bhandari from SSP appointed as the Chief minister. Pawan Chamling was the Minister for Industries, Information, and Public Relations in this cabinet from 1989 to 1992 June 16.

1993 March 4: Pawan Kumar Chamling founded "Sikkim Democratic Front - SDF" quitting ruling Sikkim Sangram Parishad.

1994 June 17: Sanchaman Limboo from Sikkim Sangram Parishad appointed as Chief Minister of Sikkim until 1994 Dec 12 (for 6 months).

1994 July 1 (early July): Nar BahadurBhandari and 15 of his supporters resigned from the Assembly. Pawan Chamling, the founder of the Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) also resigned soon after that. 32 membered Sikkim Legislative Assembly now only has 15 members including the speaker.

1994 Nov: The 4th Sikkim Legislative Assembly election held. 186 candidates contested for a total of 32 seats. Sikkim Democratic Front led by Pawan K Chamling won the majority of 19 seats whereas the ruling Sikkim Sangram Parishad won 10 seats. National party INC won 2 seats and an independent candidate won 1 seat.

1994 Dec 12: Pawan Kumar Chamling from Sikkim Democratic Front appointed as the chief minister of Sikkim.

1999: The 5th Sikkim Legislative Assembly electionSikkim Democratic (Pawan K Chamling) won the majority of 24 seats. Sikkim Sangram Parishad won 7 seats and the Independent candidate won 1 seat.

2002: Government of India honored Ex-Prime Minister of Kingdom of Sikkim & Ex-Chief Minister of Sikkim State "Kazi Lhendup Dorjee" by Padma Vibhushan, India's second-highest civilian award, for his contribution to merge Sikkim into India.

2004 May 10: The 6th Sikkim Legislative Assembly election. 91 candidates contested for a total of 32 seats. Sikkim Democratic Front led by Pawan K Chamling won an overwhelming majority of 31 seats whereas national party INC led by Ex. Chief Minister Nar Bahadur Bhandari won 1 seat.

2007 July 28: Kazi Lhendup Dorjee, key figure to merge Sikkim into India, died at the age of 102.

2009 Apr 30: The 7th Sikkim Legislative Assembly election. Total 167 candidates contested for a total of 32 seats. Sikkim Democratic Front led by Pawan K Chamling won all 32 seats scoring 65.91% popular votes. National Party INC who had contested in all 32 seats got 27.64% popular votes without winning any seats.

2014 Apr 12: The 8th Sikkim Legislative Assembly election. Total 121 candidates contested for a total of 32 seats. SDF won 22 seats scoring 55% popular votes whereas Sikkim Krantikari Morcha won 10 seats scoring 40.8%  popular votes. National Party INC who had contested in all 32 seats got 1.4% popular votes without winning any seats.

2019 Apr 11: The 9th Sikkim Legislative Assembly election. Sikkim Krantikari Morcha led by Prem Singh Tamang (Goley) won the majority of 17 out of 32 seats. The ruling Sikkim Democratic Front (Pawan Chamling) got only 15 seats. SKM leader PS Goley became chief minister of Sikkim. 

Legacy of Namgyal House

*12th and Last Sovereign Chogyal (King) Palden T Namgyal born on May 23, 1923, in Gangtok, Sikkim.

*His second wife was American lady Hope Cook (married 1963 March 20- divorced1980). As She had abandoned her American citizenship after the marriage, in May 1975, private bills had to be tabled in US Senate to restore her citizenship. President Gerald Ford signed the amended bill into law on June 16, 1976, which would grant her only U.S. permanent resident status at that time.

*Disposed King Palden died of cancer on January 29, 1982 (aged 58) in New York.

*Wangchuk Tenzing Namgyal, Son of the first wife, is the current (13th) titular King of Sikkim.


2004 election data PDF

Encyclopaedia of North-East India: Sikkim edited by Hamlet Bareh


Nepali population ~6 Lakh (2011 census), estimated 25 lakh, Majority in Surajpur

Moni Kumar Subba, INC, MP of 12th-13th-14th Lok Sabha, 1998-2009, Tezpur


Tanka Bahadur Rai, INC, Speaker of Assam Legislative Assembly, 2006-2011 Barchalla

Ganesh Kumar Limbu, BJP, MLA, Borsola 2016

Tikendra Thapa, VPI, Sadiya 2021 candidate


Nepali population estimation 8 lakh

Mala Rajya Laxmi Shah, BJP, MP of 15th Lok Sabha, Titular Rani of Tehri Garhwal

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