Letter to the Editor
In memory of my student Fowzia Sultana Tumpa
It is about six months that we sought blessings for an ailing student Fowzia Sultana Tumpa, who was suffering from cancer at a hospital in Bangkok. Everyone prayed for her, as she was too young to leave the earth. Moreover, she was a person with rare kind of qualities. Yes, it is about our student, a sixth semester student of English Language and Literature, at Premier University who has died young.
Tumpa succumbed to the deadly cancer and passed away on the 17th October 2008. It was a heart-rending news on that day for us to receive, for Fowzia was a apparently healthy girl with an indomitable spirit to perform her duty. She was friendly to all, gentle and mild. She had a mind that was always sympathetic to all her friends. On the campus, she made frequent appeals to the authorities to extend free studentship to the students coming from poor backgrounds. She was the founder member of the Drama Club at PU; she formed the debate club too. And her spirit was so heightened that she did not sit idle afterwards: she was an active performer of drama on stage, she was a debater and on top of all she was a great organizer of events.
Tumpa's acting performance on stage as the Prince of Aragon from Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, and as Isabella's encounter with her brother (which she did just prior to her departure to Bangkok for treatment) in the prison scene in Measure for Measure was outstanding. None, at that time, however, could anticipate a disaster of such a catastrophic height --- her getting infected by the deadly cancer, which ultimately led to her untimely demise.
I, like her friends, find no words or thoughts of respite as the thought that she is no more keeps haunting the mind. I was in contact with her through face book and e-mail I used to encourage my students to make a good use of the computer with regard to improving their English language and inculcating a writing habit eventually. And as I reckon today, how depressing was her tone while talking about the torments of the cyclone SIDR-affected people; and at that very moment I saw a busy Fowzia running around forming a fund - raising enterprise to help them. They managed a modest amount of money and some other essentials as well.
We will always miss Fowzia. May the Almighty grant her soul eternal peace.
Rafiqul Islam Rime
Lecturer in English
A Dissonant Dirge
"Death also is trying to be life
Death is in the sperm like the ancient mariner with his horrible tale, Death mews in the blankets- is it a kitten?"
… I always forget to wish my friends on their birthdays, and on Sadaf's birthday there was no exception. Besides I had been busy with my one-day trip to Dhaka for consulting dad's doctor. I had this prickly feeling though that something had slipped my mind. Finally when it hit my head, I rang up Sadaf. But it was already 48 hours late and she was like "old nick's inflamed sense of infuriation" the old school way! So I had to cook up excuses…
… What are birthdays? Why should we rejoice it? What great things have we done for which people should not only remember the dates of our birth but also rejoice? Life is just a flicker between darkness and darkness… today I am alive… tomorrow I will be resting in pieces… feeding worms and what not … right? Then again, rejoicing a birthday is actually welcoming death, no? You are rejoicing a year being lost from your life span!
17 October, 2008: Fowzia Sultana Tumpa, a sixth Semester student of Department of English Language and Literature, Premier University; died of non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in a hospital in Bangkok…
I received the call just after an hour I talked to Romel…I received a text on my way back to Chittagong from Dhaka…she was just about my age, probably a year younger… or two? I think two. Still, it was not her time to go…
"Our life is but a winter's day:
Some only breakfast and away;
Others to dinner to stay and are full fed;
The oldest man but sups and goes to bed;
She that goes soonest has the least to pay…"
Fowzia was not my friend, she was just one of the many junior students from my department who always greeted me whenever I stumbled into her on the stairwell or in the library. For me she was she was a highly energetic person always full of life. The first time I saw her was in the fresher's day program where she recited a Bengali poem very beautifully. After that she was hard to miss. We found her everywhere - staging plays, reciting poems, debating, arranging programs, initiating rallies on occasions such as 21 February…
When we returned to university in the beginning of this semester, we heard about her illness, and we all refused to believe it. It was pretty impossible to imagine such a healthy and lively person lying on a hospital bed fighting death. Every time we enquired about her we only got bad news, yet we never thought she would die. Perhaps it was just a hope flickering against the hopeless darkness that was closing in on us, yet it did burn bright with our sincere well-wishes and heartiest prayers.
Our paths never crossed, she just used to pop up in my Facebook newsfeed. Whenever I logged in there used to be a post on the walls of our mutual friends… even from bedridden state she used to reach out to us with all her sincere spontaneity to touch our hearts… she used to be curious about every little details about everything going on in the campus… she missed it… she missed us… she missed being here with us, among us, being one with us…
15 October, 2008: Department of English Language and Literature, Premier University arranged for a Dua-Mehfil for Fowzia Sultana Tumpa's recovery, a student of sixth semester who is at Bangkok at present for treatment. She is suffering from non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. Teachers, students, and other well wishers present at the gathering prayed for her and wished her recovery.
Allah had decided for a different fate for her… as the Maulana in the mehfil said, "Allah calls away people whom HE loves the most."
"Today they brought no letter for us:
She forgot to write or maybe went away;
She was with us such a short time ago,
So in love, tender, ours
But that was in white winter.
Now it's spring, and springs melancholy is poison
She was with us such a short time ago…”
Sadaf Iqbal & Shahidul Alam Chowdhury
(The writes are students of the Department of Language and Literature, Premier University, Chittagong)
Writing for a Cause
Khondoker Wahid-Ul Asif is a student of Civil and Environmental Engineering department of Shahjalal University of Science & Technology, Sylhet. He is suffering from a critical disease called Thaimuma, a form of cancer. It is a disease that requires a lot of money for its medication. Furthermore, its treatment is not available in Bangladesh and hence, he needs to be sent to Singapore. Many cultural and welfare organizations of SUST have already raised their helping hand toward him. The students of all departments also put in their effort for money collection for Asif. A 'Human Chain' was held and a charity concert is being organized. Deek Theater will organize a charity drama festival. Sports SUST, Natai, Sport Council of SUST are going to hold indoor and outdoor tournaments. We are also praying to the Almighty for his remedy from cancer.
Sheikh Md. Faysal
(Department of Business Administration, SUST)
About Ambassador Moriarty
How could you change the gender of US Ambassador James F Moriarty in the current issue of Star Campus? (Ambassador Moriarty gives a speech at IUB, Page 2 by Raisa Rasheeka). I did not expect such a blatant mistake from a newspaper of your standing. The picture that you published also do not pertain to Amb Moriarty.
Dear Mozammel Hossain,
The news report was about Ambassador Lauren Moriarty (U.S. Senior Official for APEC - Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) and not James F Moriarty, the US Ambassador to Bangladesh. There wasn't any mistake about the picture or gender of the concerned. We acknowledge the fact that the report should have had more description about the ambassador than it did.