A Doctor's Commitment
There is hardly any person in the northern part of the country who has not heard the name of Dr Homayra of Rangpur. As a physician and a benevolent social worker her name and reputation is widespread in the region.
In the fifties she was the only gynaecologist in the northern part of the country. Since then she has been giving medical services to the women of the eight northern districts.
She is the mother of three sons and two daughters. All of them are established in their respective professions and they are also contributing a lot to the society. Dr. Homayra was born in 1930 in an aristocratic family of Maldah in West Bengal. She got married when she was a student of class eight. Her longing for education could not confine her at home for household chores and family concerns only. She continued her studies. When she was a student of class nine, she gave birth to her first daughter. Seeing her enthusiasm for knowledge, her husband late Habib Uddin and her in-laws did not forbid her study.
After matriculation, despite social restrictions on education for Muslim women, she got admitted into Maldah College for the then Intermediate level studies. Narrating the days of her college life, she said, "I was the only Muslim female student in my class in the college."
"My aim in life was to be a doctor but I did not try to take admission in any medical college in India because of the political unrest of the time." She came to Bangladesh along with her uncle in 1948 and got admitted into the then Midford Medical School (now Midford Hospital). Ignoring all social obstacles, she continued her study and passed License of Medical Faculty in 1952. She joined Midford Hospital in the same year.
In the mean time, Humayra's family shifted from Maldah to Rangpur. Later she was posted at Dinajpur Sadar Hospital. After a few years, she joined Rajshahi Sadar Hospital, and finally she was posted at Rangpur Sadar Hospital in 1959. This was not all that she did. She again went to Sir Salimullah Medical College for and MBBS degree and obtained it in 1969 after which she came back to Rangpur Sadar Hospital and continued her jobn there. Meanwhile, her elder daughter Halida Hanum became an MBBS. Halida was posted in a hospital in Dhaka. She proposed to her mother Homayra to earn an MCPS degree (Member of College of Physicians and Surgeons).
"My daughter Halida also completed her post-graduate studies in 1977 along with me," she recollected, adding, "Only two fortunate persons -- my daughter and I, were the only two among the twelve examinees who obtained the post graduate degree that year."
Her second daughter Dr. Hamida Khanom is teaching at Zoology Department in Dhaka University. Her first son Abu Hashim Jewel is an engineer. He is now settled in America. Her second son, Hedayetul Islam is an eye specialist and practises in Rangpur. Her youngest son, Dr Hafizul Islam, is an Assistant Professor in the Dental Department of Rangpur Medical College.
Homayra's success is not limited to her bright career as a physician and an ideal mother. She is a benevolent social worker. She attends many poor patients free of cost. "I do not take money for surgical operations of many poor patients," she said. Asked if she faced any hardship for being a lady doctor, she said, "A lot! But I won most of them with my perseverance, courage and boldness."
Dr. Homayra believes that the women in Bangladesh have enough potentiality to be established in different professions but, to fulfill that they need courage and perseverance to face all odds.
Besides her profession, Humayra has been involved with many voluntary social organizations. She is an active member of Lions Club, Rangpur. She is closely associated with Women for Improvement Family Project. She is the district chairperson of the executive committee of Paribarik Shashthwa Clinic.
Dr Homayra is seventy-six now. But she is still very particular about her duty and responsibilities. Even at her old age she is regularly attending patients and carrying on surgical operations.
(R) thedailystar.net 2006