Lone landslide survivor’s story of resilience, hope
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Lone landslide survivor’s story of resilience, hope

June 28, 2024

Through her grit and determination, Pallavi of Madikeri has now earned a doctorate degree

In the heart of Madikeri, during the devastating 2006 monsoon, a tragedy unfolded that claimed the lives of many, including an entire family. Amidst the chaos and despair, one young girl miraculously survived, her story becoming a beacon of hope and resilience.

Pallavi, a 16-year-old girl from Mangaladevi Nagar, was caught in a massive landslide on July 3, 2006, at around 3.30 am. The landslide buried two houses under mud claiming the lives of six family members.

Pallavi’s mother Radha, her sister Jyoti (14), her brother Abhishek (12) and a neighbour’s child were among the six individuals who perished. The disaster struck their homes in Mangaladevi Nagar, reducing them to rubble.

However, against all odds, Pallavi was found clinging to life amidst the rubble, her body battered but her spirit unbroken. She was rushed to the Madikeri District Hospital, where she underwent extensive treatment for several months.

Her recovery was nothing short of a miracle, and during this time, the aspirations of a bright career her mother had instilled in her took root deeply. Determined to honour her mother’s dreams and her new found lease on life, Pallavi pursued higher education with unwavering dedication.

Her journey, marked by perseverance and hard work, led her to achieve a Ph.D., earning her the distinguished title of Dr. Pallavi. Today, Dr. Pallavi is an Assistant Professor at Jain University in Bengaluru.

DC led rescue operations

The then Deputy Commissioner Subodh Yadav led the rescue operations, guiding the forces in a daring effort to recover those who were trapped. Six bodies were recovered from the harrowing site and Pallavi was discovered clinging to her life under the mud.

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In the aftermath, the Government provided a compensation of Rs. 3 lakh to Pallavi, facilitated by Subodh Yadav, to support her future education. The money was deposited in her name as directed by the DC and that aided her education.

A guardian comes forward

Left orphaned and bereft of her immediate family, Pallavi found a guardian in K.T. Baby Mathew, a compassionate social worker and resident of Madikeri. His unwavering support and guidance became Pallavi’s lifeline. She found a new home with her maternal uncle, Sundar and aunt Rukmini, in Murnad, where she continued her high school education.

Despite the immense personal loss, Pallavi excelled academically, achieving high grades in her second PUC. She pursued undergraduate studies at Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa College in Madikeri with distinction and completed her postgraduate studies at Mangalore University.

She took to teaching and her dedication and hard work led her to a position as an Assistant Professor in the Management Studies Department at Jain College in Bengaluru. Although Pallavi spent her childhood with her loving parents, her determination to fulfil her educational aspirations and her mother’s dreams never wavered.

Doctoral degree

Under the mentorship of Dr. Anasuya Rai, Pallavi delved into the intricate world of banking and insurance. Her dedication culminated in a doctoral degree for ‘Bancassurance from an Indian Perspective – A comparative study between banks in Udupi & DK districts’ conferred on June 15, 2024, at a convocation ceremony held at Mangalore University, marking a significant milestone in her academic journey. This achievement has brought immense pride to the people of Madikeri and the entire Kodagu district.

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The community of Madikeri embraced her as one of their own, always considering her a daughter of their town. “Her attainment of a doctoral degree brings immense joy to my life,” said Baby Mathew.

“Fate spared her life 18 years ago, and now fate has shown that with ingenuity and self-confidence, anything can be achieved. Pallavi stands as a shining example to society,” he added.

Fulfilling her mother’s dreams

The affection and support from the people of Madikeri during her most difficult times are something Pallavi cherishes deeply. Without their cooperation and guidance, she acknowledges that achieving this educational milestone would not have been possible.

Pallavi attributes her accomplishment to her mother’s aspirations, who always wanted her children to receive a good education. Despite facing immense challenges, especially the devastating loss of her siblings in the landslide, Pallavi remained focused on fulfilling her mother’s dreams.

Now, with a doctorate to her name, Pallavi finds immense joy in having realised her mother’s aspirations. She also mentioned that alongside preparing for the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) exam in 2019 and taking the exams thrice, she has dedicated herself to teaching and research.

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