Murder: The Price of Your Hill Station Holiday


Murder: The Price of Your Hill Station Holiday

Illustration: Akshita Monga


his summer, as droves of us head into the hills for peace and tranquillity, very few will realise that these little idylls, these little pieces of heaven, stand on legs deep in malevolent corruption. Of course that’s an idea that does not square off with hot Maggi and endless cups of over-sweetened tea, long walks in the bracing wind and watching the rain pelt down from your window, writers’ retreats and yoga camps. But the shooting and daylight murder of Public Works Department employee Shail Bala Sharma in Himachal Pradesh, will hopefully force us to face it. The murder is symbolic not just of the criminality at the heart of the mountains, but it is coded with the awareness that we desperately need to keep the hills intact. For our own sanity.

When the Himachal high court passed down orders to demolish illegal hotels in the hills of Kasauli, even the most righteous of men and women admitted surprise. Our public institutions have grit, who knew? Not those at least who have lived in the hills and know how they have become the site of insipid lawlessness that is so systematic in its veins, it flows seamlessly.