Monday, April 15, 2024

Indian Cyclist, PhD student Dies After Being Run Over by Truck in London(ht)

HomeTop NewsIndian Cyclist, PhD student Dies After Being Run Over by Truck in...

A rising star in the world of behavioral economics and “nudge theory” was suddenly extinguished last week when an Indian PhD student was killed in a horrific traffic incident in London. Cheistha Kochhar, just 33 years old, was pursuing cutting-edge research at the prestigious London School of Economics aimed at developing innovative ways to positively influence human behavior and decision-making.

But her bright future was cut brutally short on March 19th in an incident that has shocked academic circles in Britain and India. Kochhar was cycling home from LSE’s campus that fateful evening when the unthinkable happened – she was mowed down by a large garbage truck, suffering catastrophic injuries.

In a cruel twist of fate, her husband Prashant was cycling ahead of her and witnessed the entire nightmarish scene unfold. He rushed to his gravely wounded wife’s side and frantically tried to get her medical aid. But despite being rushed to a hospital, the brilliant young scholar succumbed to her traumatic injuries, her boundless potential and pioneering research permanently derailed.

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The freak accident has triggered an outpouring of grief and disbelief from Kochhar’s illustrious mentors, colleagues and friends who remembered her as a transcendent talent and effervescent force of nature. Amitabh Kant, the former CEO of India’s elite policy think tank NITI Aayog where Kochhar had worked, was one of many left reeling by the devastating news.

“Cheistha Kochhar worked with me…She was bright, brilliant & brave and always full of life. Gone away too early. RIP,” Kant wrote in an emotional tribute on social media. Her father, retired Lieutenant General Dr. S.P. Kochhar, said he was utterly “devastated” along with her wide circle of loved ones.

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What makes the tragedy even more cruel is that Cheistha had accomplished so much already in her young life, scaling the heights of academic excellence at top universities in India and the U.S. before being accepted to do her PhD at LSE. Her research there focused on the burgeoning field of “nudge theory” – using subtle cues and choices to gently steer people toward positive behaviors and decisions.

Former colleagues describe Kochhar as an impassioned evangelist for nudge theory’s potential to improve public policies and tackle major societal challenges like disease, environmental degradation and bureaucratic inefficiencies. “Her work was groundbreaking,” said one ex-coworker. “Cheistha had a gift for finding those tiny nudges that could produce massive positive changes in how people act.”

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As authorities investigate the horrific truck collision, India and the global academic community are left grappling with the devastating loss of a brilliant young mind. A life of limitless potential and possibility, snuffed out in shockingly abrupt fashion by a random stroke of tragedy. Cheistha Kochhar may have been gone too soon, but her trail-blazing work on harnessing the power of small nudges will have lasting impact.

Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee is a prolific author who provides commentary and analysis on business, finance, politics, sports, and current events on his website Opportuneist. With over a decade of experience in journalism and blogging, Mezhar aims to deliver well-researched insights and thought-provoking perspectives on important local and global issues in society.

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