Zohra Begum Kazi has been recognised for her excellence by all governments since the British rule in India, technically by three different countries.
She was awarded the Viceroy's Medal by the British Indian government in 1935, Tamgha-e-Pakistan by the Pakistan government in 1964, and the Ekushay Padak posthumously by the Bangladesh government in 2008.
Zohra Kazi was one of the highest achieving women in the subcontinent by any metric. But she will always be best known as the first Bangalee Muslim woman to become a medical doctor.
It is difficult to truly appreciate how challenging it must have been for a Bangalee Muslim woman born in 1912 to pursue higher education. But it certainly helped that she came from a very educated family with a renowned politician as a father, who was also a physician. This background provided the foundation on which she would go on to build her storied career.
Before entering medical school, she secured the first position in every public examination. At the end of her MBBS degree in 1935 at Delhi's Lady Hardinge Medical College, she was the top student, getting the first class first distinction and receiving the Viceroy's Medal for the achievement.
Fortunate to have a great childhood full of wonderful memories, as a kid, she would often engage in "innocent mischief", Zohra Kazi fondly reminisced in an article published in 2000.
Her teacher at Raipur Christian School, where she was the only Muslim girl, used to give her the "punishment" of reading four Bible verses every day.
She ended up memorising many verses from the Bible. "I liked reading scriptures of all religions," Zohra Kazi stated in the article, written for a book commemorating her 89th birthday.
A happy upbringing in a "progressive" family complimented her natural talent as she acknowledged many times throughout her life. Even at the age of 89, she thought her father deserved all the credit, not her.
Kazi Abdus Sattar, originally from Gopalpur in Kalkini upazila of Madaripur district, had moved to Kolkata with his children to be able to give them a university education. A medical doctor himself, as were two of his brothers, Abdus Sattar "made the impossible possible", Zohra Kazi believed.
Zohra Kazi's two siblings also became highly educated, with her elder brother Kazi Ashraf Mahmud becoming professor of botany at Dhaka University, and her younger sister Shirin Kazi also becoming a physician.
Having a political dad at that time meant the family had connections to many prominent personalities of India's anti-colonial movement.
As it happened, the Sattar family was closely connected to the most iconic figure in the anti-British struggle: Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the Mahatma himself.
Through Kazi Abdus Sattar, a member of the Congress Party, Zohra Kazi and her siblings used to frequent Gandhi's Sevagram ashram, where they listened to Gandhi and interacted with him.
"Whenever we went to Mahatma Gandhi's Sebashram he was pleased to see us. He used to sit us down by his side and serve food to us. If we didn't want to eat, he would pack us the food to take away," Zohra Kazi wrote.
This was around the time when she had just become a qualified doctor, after which she worked at Gandhi's ashram.
She went on to work in different hospitals of British India until moving to East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, in 1947.
After moving to Pakistan following the Indian partition, Zohra Kazi got married to Razuuddin Bhuiyan MP, a member of the zamindar family of Hatirdia in Raipur upazila in Narsingdi.
This is when the second part of her career took off, when she really established herself as a respected physician. One year after moving to East Pakistan, she joined Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH).
A nascent medical facility at that time, the DMCH didn't have an obstetrics and gynaecology department. Dr Zohra Kazi took the initiative to found the department, providing lifesaving treatment to female patients who were reluctant to see male doctors.
She was also a key figure in establishing the OBGYN department at the Mitford Medical College Hospital in Dhaka.
In 1955 Zohra Kazi went to the UK to get specialised medical qualifications. She obtained the DRCOG, FCPS, FRCOG and MRCOG degrees there before coming back to Dhaka and joining DMCH as a professor and head of department.
As a professor, she taught many students who would go on to become notable physicians and public figures. Founding secretary general of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party and former Bangladesh president AQM Badruddoza Chowdhury was among some of her famous students.
"She was very inspiring as a teacher. Her genuine interest in teaching attracted us [as students] …I know she helped many freedom fighters during the liberation war …she never discriminated between Hindu and Muslim when treating her patients," said Badruddoza Chowdhury in a documentary filmed on Zohra Kazi released by Laser Vision.
As an eminent medical professional and because of her status as a pioneering woman in the subcontinent, she was close to the higher echelon of the society, at one time serving as the family physician to Bangladesh's founding father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's family.
"I loved all the kids, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and others," she wrote.
But remarkably, everyone – from her students to her colleagues – remember her not for her proximity to influential people, but for her true dedication to helping her patients.
"If there is one thing I could say about her it would be that she always served people," said one of Zohra Kazi's students Shahla Khatun, former OBGYN head at the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University and a National Professor.
"We were lucky to have her as our teacher. I never saw her think about anything other than her patients. We never saw her thinking, 'I will go to that country, will do that meeting, make a name for myself'. She never thought like that," Professor Shahla Khatun said in the Laser Vision documentary.
Zohra Kazi believed that serving people is the way to peace. "You can be truly satisfied only by serving people. Loving fellow humans is an ideal in all religions," she wrote.
For her reputation as a medical doctor dedicated to serving people in need, she became known as the "Florence Nightingale" of Dhaka.
Dr Zohra Begum Kazi died on 7 November 2007 at the age of 95.