Another Himalayan kingdom is falling, a chapter closing on an ancient historical tradition. But will the modern system of democracy do a better job?
Sikkim’s monarchs, the Chogyals, retreated into history when India annexed their territory in 1975. Tibet’s “priest-king”, the Dalai Lama, was forced in exile when China invaded his land in the 1950s.
In the Himalayas, only in Bhutan does a monarchy still play a significant role, and even there it voluntarily surrendered power this year to a new democratically elected parliament.
Many of these kings were once revered as incarnations of Buddha or Vishnu, some still are.