Senior researchers, students, friends and family members came to pay their last respects to respected biologist Obaid Siddiqi on Saturday at the Quddisa Qabristan off Jayamahal Road.

The 81-year-old, who was a National Research Professor at the National Centre for Biological Sciences (CNBS), died here Friday when he was knocked down by a young neighbour’s moped.

Active researcher

“As one who was an active researcher and a regular on campus, Prof. Siddiqi will be missed most at lunch when he would take part in scientific and philosophical discussions with the faculty and students,” said Taslimarif Saiyed, Director and COO, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms, NCBS. He was an inspiring teacher, who believed in teaching students from the basics.

“I still remember him teaching me the right way to hold a pencil to draw a graph,” reminisced Mr. Saiyed. Prof. Siddiqi’s son, Imran Siddiqi, said that his father always had informal interactions with faculty and students. “He was available to everyone; anyone could walk up to him and discuss their ideas with him. Be it art, classical music or science, he could engage anyone in a conversation.”

Passion for teaching

His passion for teaching made him a favourite among students and peers. “He could provide the right guidance to suit each individual,” said Mohammed Abubaker, senior research fellow, NCBS. As a student, Mr. Abubaker learnt his greatest lesson about research from his legendary teacher. “He once told me that a good paper (scientific publication) is one that changes the way people think about the subject.”

It was also Prof. Siddiqi’s simplicity that endeared him to everyone. “Not a person to crack jokes often, Prof. Siddiqi once introduced himself as my secretary when a vendor came looking for a certain ‘Prof. Abu’. That showed that he was not one who would go by hierarchy,” Mr. Abubaker said.

“Prof. Siddiqi inculcated the culture of scientific research which we have all inherited,” said Prof. K.S. Krishnan, senior scientist, NCBS.

Theatre veteran Girish Karnad, paying his respects to the father of molecular biology in India, said: “He was a great friend and a good human being. He created institutions that have become the centre of attention for the scientific community across the world. A creative person, he was always a pleasure to talk to.”

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