The term 'talented' is thrown around carelessly these days, and it has almost lost its meaning. But in case of Fawzia, it is completely fitting. She was a naturally talented person, who acquired the first position in her undergraduate degree with a GPA 3.96. Since the start of the Pharmacy Department of Noakhali Science and Technology University (NSTU) 12 years ago, this has been the highest grade any Pharmacy student ever achieved. Fawzia was on her way to becoming a faculty at the university. Her achievements were recognised beyond the Pharmacy Department. She was given the 'best student' by the VC award just four days before the fateful day. She even got engaged with a faculty member from the Pharmacy Department, Monir Hossain and they had their wedding date set for January. But just one incident shattered what could have been a continuation of the courageous and triumphant journey of a rural girl from a low-middle income family.
Like on any regular day, on November 19 Fawzia got out of her home to go to the university for attending class. She got onto a battery-driven auto-rickshaw and sat on the left side. Another girl sitting on the right side requested to swap place with Fawzia because that girl had the Fox disease and couldn't be exposed to sunlight, which was on the right side. On the way, the auto-rickshaw came to a jerky stop when the driver hard braked. Fawzia was thrown off the vehicle and a pickup van ran her over. She didn't have a chance to survive. The VC of NTSU Prof M Wahiduzzaman visited the scene immediately and went to her home later.
In the following days, there were human chains in protest, demanding road safety. The protesters called on the government to repair the only available road on which the university students and officials commute. Within 10 days of Fawzia's tragic death, a 17-year-old student named Jannat Ahmed Anisa died in a collision accident in Maijdi town.
Fawzia had a dream that she will teach at university one day. Her father also wanted her to become a teacher, even though he never had the means to support her daughter's education. Fawzia earned from teaching private students and paid for her own tuition. Not that death is ever easy for any parents, but it is heartbreaking to think what they must be feeling when their daughter so valiantly overcame all the obstacles of economic burden and made a future for her own self and her family. She was so close to realising her dreams. She was so close.
Fawzia's friends are writing on Facebook about how overwhelmed they are by her death. Her fiance Monir Hossain is leaving his job here at NSTU because it is too difficult for him to face all the memories of Fawzia in this place. We can only hope that the authorities become more committed to road and traffic safety so that people's dreams and lives are not destroyed for nothing.