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Updated: July 27, 2013 21:51 IST
Obaid Siddiqi (1932-2013)

Acclaimed scientist Obaid Siddiqi no more

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Celebrated biologist Obaid Siddiqi, a scientist nonpareil whose pioneering work shed light on how taste and smell are detected and coded in brain, died on Friday.
Celebrated biologist Obaid Siddiqi, a scientist nonpareil whose pioneering work shed light on how taste and smell are detected and coded in brain, died on Friday.

He was knocked down by a neighbour's moped ; but bereaved family will not press charges

Celebrated biologist Obaid Siddiqi, a scientist nonpareil whose pioneering work shed light on how taste and smell are detected and coded in brain, died on Friday of injuries he sustained in an accident two days ago.

Prof. Siddiqi (81), a National Research Professor at the National Centre for Biological Sciences here, was taking a stroll near his residence in Vidyaranyapura on Wednesday when his neighbour, a college student riding his moped, knocked him down.

Prof. Siddiqi was rushed to the Baptist Hospital, where he died of his injuries. He is survived by his wife Asiya, sons Imran and Kaleem, and daughters Yumna and Diba. Prof. Siddiqi’s family members have preferred not to file complaint against their neighbour, whose identity was not revealed by the police. Hebbal Traffic police said the scientist’s family did not want to file a complaint considering their neighbour’s career.

Prof. Siddiqi, born in 1932 in Uttar Pradesh, received PhD from the University of Glasgow for his work on microbial genetics with Guido Pontecorvo. He carried out postdoctoral research with Alan Garen at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and University of Pennsylvania. This work led to the discovery of stop codons in the genetic code and the mechanism of chain termination during protein synthesis.

He set up the Molecular Biology Unit at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai in 1962.

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Its a sad news for all of us... loss of such a humble, genius and phenomenal scientist and a generous human being is indeed too big... I feel privileged to have met him in my student years some 5-6 years ago, I still remember the simplicity of his persona and the shine on his face, which always used to show everyone the path of courage and hard work.... He was a wonderful person

from:  Manas Thakre
Posted on: Jul 29, 2013 at 16:51 IST

..Great soul ! may his soul rest in peace, speechless of family's
kindness as they forgive the inhuman act of the student, but yes guilty
should be grateful to his family through out his Life...!

from:  Girija R
Posted on: Jul 29, 2013 at 11:21 IST

Was shocked to know about Prof Siddiqi's demise. I remember his pioneer
work in the field of Micro-biology in TIFR, Mumbai where I spent eight
productive years of my career. May his soul rest in peace. The admirable
gesture of his family members not to press charges against the errant
moped rider so that the future career of the neighbor's son is not
spoiled is true the nature of Prof Siddiqi.

from:  A B Mehta
Posted on: Jul 28, 2013 at 09:45 IST

Death of Prof. Obaid sahib is really personal loss of mine. I was stunned to know reason
of death.Such people hardly born in a century. I was associated with him to learn
molecular biology , I learnt that he is an extra-ordinary scientist, a human being,a
teacher,a mentor and well wisher.I met him last in his lab 001 at NCBS. Bagalore( founder
director) he was working like any thing.Still I am not convincing that he is not around
me.When people don't know how to drive, a precious,rare genius soul( without security)
will keep on getting such ends. Simply we may say this was destiny. Even after death,
noble soul pardoned the moped owner.
May God give peace to departed soul and strength to bear losses to family and all loved

from:  Sajid Husain
Posted on: Jul 28, 2013 at 09:40 IST

Was he honored with any Padma awards by the govt.? HOw come he was

from:  Eric
Posted on: Jul 28, 2013 at 08:16 IST

I met him only once at Banglore's institute and was absolutely charmed by his poise,
intellect and manners. Having a similar last name, in my entire careers whenever I
met stalwarts of science including nobelists , they used to ask me if I was related.
This was a great honor to be asked that question. I am absolutely proud of this
distinguished giant of science. Brought India in the international view.

from:  Aleem Siddiqui
Posted on: Jul 28, 2013 at 00:54 IST

Very sad news. A renowned scientist. I have read his article with regards to ‘Incorporation of parental DNA into genetic recombinants of E. coli’. He continued to do research until his last days in Bangalore biological science.

from:  shashi
Posted on: Jul 27, 2013 at 23:50 IST

Great person's family is also great. People go mad just for a scratch on their used cars but this family has pardoned the youth who caused Prof.'s death accidentally. An example to emulate. May I touch your feet.

from:  sankar
Posted on: Jul 27, 2013 at 22:28 IST

Prof. Siddiqi was my lecturer of Botany at AMU in 1956. He was a
thorough gentleman, soft spoken and an excellent teacher. He was always
available to us for removing any difficulty. I pray to Almighty God to
rest the noble soul in the peace of Heaven!! Amen.

from:  Prof S N Bhalla
Posted on: Jul 27, 2013 at 22:14 IST

there are very few great souls like professor who dont want any
rewards......we have lost a very great personality today....

from:  kanha joshi
Posted on: Jul 27, 2013 at 22:06 IST

Prof.Siddiqui was a biologist first and last.His contributions to neuroscience are
legendary.Specific neurons for taste and smell were keenly studied.The five senses-
touch,sound,smell,taste and sight - are neuron specific and at a time only one sense is
perceived.Neurons are energized by oxygen taken in by breathing.Oxygen starved neurons
get malfunctional and the importance of daily meditation- breath in,hold and breath out-is
emphasised.There is biophysics in the activity of neurons.Prof.Siddiqui will be remembered
for his passion for science.His students now occupy important positions in science led
institutions.His compassion is well known.It is apt that his family forgave the young boy who
knocked him down.It is the spirit and teachings of Prof.Siddiqui.

from:  Dr K V Peter
Posted on: Jul 27, 2013 at 20:24 IST

Well in India nobody knows these great souls.For the Indians actors and actresses are the idols and they are the people who are well known.We come to know of great people only when they die.So mush for the honesty and the greatness.

from:  Nasar
Posted on: Jul 27, 2013 at 15:34 IST

I am proud of this Indian man of science. His family is amazingly
compassionate for the moped driver, perhaps reflecting this great man's
values. However the law of the land must not allow a man who took
another's life, even if by accident and not intent, to go without
examining the circumstances. In a civilised society it is not a matter
for the family to choose not to prosecute. Accidental death is a police
matter. Was there recklessness or other factors? To let it go will not
help other victims of accidents. This is not a country for example
where the family can accept compensation and pardon a crime.

from:  Prabal
Posted on: Jul 27, 2013 at 13:04 IST

Respectful farewell to biologist Obaid Siddiqi.

from:  Dr.Cajetan Coelho
Posted on: Jul 27, 2013 at 10:34 IST

Sad to learn of his demise. he was a distinguished
Aligarian. I also studied at AMU- where his wife prof. ASIYA SIDDIQUI was my teacher.

from:  deshrajsingh
Posted on: Jul 27, 2013 at 06:35 IST

We have lost a Prince of Science. He was hugely admired by geneticists around the world, including his famous mentor, the late Guido Pontecorvo, who chose Obaid to give the Keynote Lecture at his 90th birthday party. My heart goes out to his family.

from:  George M. Martin
Posted on: Jul 27, 2013 at 03:14 IST
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