Andrew Duff is a freelance journalist based in London and Scotland who writes on India and related subjects. In the UK, his work has appeared in The Times, the Financial Times and the Sunday Telegraph, and in India in the Times of India and the India Quarterly. He travels frequently in India and East Asia.
This is the incredible true story of Sikkim, a fairy-tale kingdom in the Himalayas that survived the end of the British Empire in India only to be annexed by India in 1975. Sikkim: Requiem for a Himalayan Kingdom tells the remarkable story of Thondup, the handsome last King of Sikkim, and his young and beautiful American queen, Hope Cooke, thrust unwittingly into the spotlight as they sought support for Sikkim’s independence after their 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, Sikkim never stood a chance. Thondup died a broken man in 1982; Hope returned to New York; Sikkim began a new phase as India’s twenty-second state.Based on exclusive interviews and new archival research, this is a thrilling, romantic and informative glimpse of life in a lost paradise.