Catalyst of a Culture of Creativity

Friday, July 26th, 2013
Catalyst of a Culture of Creativity

Obaid Siddiqi
1932- 2013
Catalyst of a Culture of Creativity

Obaid Siddiqi, once a young star of molecular biology and later a pioneer in neurogenetics was an extraordinary intellectual and scientist. In building the Molecular Biology Unit (now the Department of Biological Sciences) and then the National Centre for Biological Sciences of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, he showed how catalyzing a culture of creativity is vital to long-term institutional success. With his death following a road accident the world of science has lost one of its most thoughtful and questioning leaders. However, his science and the schools he as built will stay and through their quality demonstrate the stay of his deep influence.

Obaid's college days were at the Aligarh Muslim University in a period when India had just become independent and people all over the world were agitating for a just and inclusive society and for change, in much the same manner that we see today.There were many different political trends and popular movements in India and indeed all over the world. Obaid was involved in one of these and he could have very well gone into politics instead of science, but was rescued into science by Dr. Zakir Hussain, who later became the President of India. Obaid has reminisced on how much he owed Zakir Hussain for this change of course and for rescuing him from the consequences of his political passions.

Obaid finished his degree at the Aligarh Muslim University, then as now, a center of culture. He was introduced to taking up plant genetics by a colleague and started work in plant embryology and went to the Indian Agricultural Research Institute in Pusa, New Delhi. There, famously, a hail storm destroyed his crop and he decided that he should get out of a hole rather than keep digging in one. He gave up his experimental-plot and hatched a new one; and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research lost a future star. Interested by the possibilities of doing genetics at a slightly faster pace than what wheat allowed, Obaid wrote to Guido Pontecorvo, Professor of Genetics at Glasgow. Pontecorvo asked him to come to Glasgow for an interview that would decide if he would be admitted to his lab or not. Reaching Glasgow in 1958, Obaid was taken to the lab to get started. Puzzled, he asked when the interview would be held. Pontecorvo replied that Obaid had passed the test by coming to Glasgow: He just wanted to see that the applicant was interested enough to come all the way from India despite the risk of being turned down. At Glasgow, as a PhD student, Obaid mapped the fine structure of the paba gene of Aspergillus by examining intragenic recombination and suggesting that this could be polarized. This work is a classic, with Obaid as the sole-author on the papers.

The world was well connected even then and of the visitors to Pontecorvo's lab was Alan Garen who worked in Al Hershey's lab in Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. In 1961 Obaid moved to Garen's lab as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, working on bacterial recombination. In elegant and brilliant experiments, Siddiqi and Garen discovered the suppressors of "nonsense" mutations. This work stimulated research on conditional mutations of bacteria and viruses and was directly important to the discovery of "nonsense" codons, the stop signals in the genetic code. At this time phage and bacterial genetics was at its zenith and the new term Molecular Biology was coined. Obaid was a regular in meetings at Cold Spring Harbor and elsewhere where the new biology was being invented. The young stars of that period, Obaid amongst them, were to become the who's-who of molecular biology in the next decades: Obaid being a recognized comrade, brought these stars to India later on during his next avatar as an institution builder, thereby transmitting the culture of scientific excellence more effectively and linking young Indian scientists to the best the world-over.

There was a parallel trajectory happening in the world of science related to India that started a little earlier during the Second World War when Homi Bhabha, who was a physicist at Cambridge, came to Bangalore and couldn't get back, trapped by the ongoing Second War. Bhabha became a Reader in the Institute of Science and decided to try to see whether he could establish an institute for fundamental research in India. That institute, as many of you know, is now the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR). Obaid, meanwhile in Pennsylvania, was looking to come back to India. At the time there was huge excitement in biology, particularly in the US. Much of that is written beautifully in Horace Freeland Judson's book "The 8th Day of Creation" and a detailed scientific perspective in Gunther Stent's "Phage and the Origin of Molecular Biology". These were times where relatively ordinary people did good work but brilliant people did extraordinary work because of the interactions that they had with each other. Obaid was right in the midst of this as one of the really brilliant people participating in the phage courses and bacterial genetics courses, typically organized by people such as Max Delbruck, Jim Watson, Sydney Brenner and others. It was very unusual, while at this centre of intellectual ferment, to actually decide to return to India and start at a lab but that's what Obaid wanted to do. Obaid had contacts with the P.C. Mahalanobis, who started the Indian Statistical Institute and with Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar, who started the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and it was a real possibility that he would come back to one or the other of those institutions.

But there was an extraterrestrial intervention, which took place with a Martian visiting Philadelphia and running into Alan Garen. Leo Szilard was the Martian. (He's called a Martian because there were five Hungarians who changed the course of science in the US and it was so unusual that it was felt that they must have extra-terrestrial origins). Obaid met Szilard and as a result of that meeting, Szilard wrote to Homi Bhabha after talking to Alan Garen. Szilard writes to Bhabha, "The enclosed letter of a distinguished colleague of mine, Alan Garen of the University of Pennsylvania, is self explanatory. The second enclosed letter is from Pontecorvo, a distinguished geneticist and whom you may know and relates to the same subject matter. I should be grateful to you for reading these two letters and following it up which such action, which appears appropriate in the circumstances. I regret that our paths haven't crossed for a long time... With kindest regards." Bhabha writes back to Obaid saying "I've received a letter regarding you from a friend, Szilard. I am very interested in personally supporting work in Molecular Biology... We should give you an appropriate offer of appointment either at the Tata's Institute of fundamental research or the Atomic Energy Establishment of Bombay, the Biology division. I should be grateful if you send your CV. We usually ask for several letters of recommendation but those have already arrived so don't bother too much about that and if you want to know anything, just let me know". So that's an interesting way of getting a job; the letters have come in first and all Bhabha wants is Obaid's CV for the record because Bhabha, quite rightly, trusts the judgement of people like Szilard and Szilard trusts the judgment of people like Alan Garen and Guido Pontecorvo. But that's not all, in Pontecorvo's letter to Bhabha about Obaid, there is a statement about what is important for a scientist to do: "I think it would be very important for the progress of Biology in India that he should go back to a job in which his abilities would be fully expressed. In fact, I'm really baffled as to why India continues to promote mediocre scientist politicians and does nothing to maintain the really good scientists." This prompted Bhabha to write to Prime Minster Nehru "My dear Bhai and is signed off as "Homi" saying that "I actually agree with this and we really should make sure that people who work in the lab are highly regarded and it's not scientist politicians who are highly regarded". Obaid came back to India with a job offer at the TIFR. Bhabha had presented his application to the TIFR faculty asking for their opinion. The view was, we are told, uniformly negative and the feeling was that there should be no biology at the Tata Institute, a place meant for the pure physics and mathematics. Bhabha responded by thanking the faculty for their view but apologetically said that he had already made Obaid an offer, from which he did not want to back off.

Obaid joined the Tata Institute in 1962 to set up the Molecular Biology Unit. Biochemists of that time did not like the term 'Molecular Biology.' "What other kind is there?" one, Erwin Chargaff, is famously said to have asked. Yet, using genetics to infer the molecular nature of inheritance and of cellular function was new, elegant, thrilling and informative. Its effective practitioners could be forgiven their deserved pride and self-confidence. At the Molecular Biology Unit at TIFR, Obaid established a small but strong bacterial genetics group. Their work, de-linking DNA transfer, DNA replication and recombination in bacteria, was widely recognized and is textbook material. Under Obaid's influence Pabitra Maitra introduced yeast genetics to the Tata Institute and he and Zita Lobo become leaders in the dissection of the genetics of sugar metabolism. P. Babu was another pioneer in the genetics of the worm C. elegans and other areas also blossomed in Colaba by the sea.

Just when the ease of bacterial genetics could have become addictive, with its proponents doing more and more about less and less, Obaid worked with his friend Seymour Benzer in the 1970s to change his scientific directions again into using genetics to understand the nervous system and behaviour. Here too, Obaid struck gold with his study of temperature-sensitive paralytic mutants in Drosophila: work that has been pioneering in our understanding of how nerve signals are generated and transmitted.

Starting with his student Veronica Rodrigues in 1976 and until today in a bustling-lab, Obaid has pioneered yet again, this time studying the chemical senses of Drosophila. Obaid and his team have identified genes whose mutations block olfactory or gustatory responses. Some of these affect peripheral transduction processes, specifically the electrical activity of chemoreceptors, while others interfere with olfactory network development. While Obaid's work has led to an improved understanding of how olfactory information is encoded in the brain of the fly, his study of chemosensory genetics has also inspired others to address this challenging field. All leaders in neuroscience today admire him for showing the way and continue to be inspired by him.

In 1984, I was standing next to the geneticist E. B. Lewis at Caltech, doing what men in a row usually do, looking blankly ahead. "Are you from India?" asked Ed. "From the Tata?" "Do you know Siddiqi?" "How does one person do such wonderful work in Aspergillus, E. coliDrosophila Physiology and behavior, I can barely deal with one complex locus in a lifetime?" I didn't have an answer to the last question. I had not known too many scientists then and I did not realize that Obaid was unusual. This was an eye-opener. "The Tata (as TIFR is often called outside India) is a great place", continued Ed, "We had Babu from there and he's pretty good, and if they've hired you, you should jump at it". That chance meeting, and each of several others with the best (in other locations), showed how Obaid's name made you good friends. Every meeting came with praise for the Molecular Biology Unit and TIFR. As students, we seemed to have taken for granted, to have the best courses conducted by the best as 'normal'. Going out of the country we realized how privileged we were and what a wonderful culture and environment the Molecular Biology Unit (now the Department of Biological Sciences) and the Tata Institute has given us. A culture of questioning and one which defines purpose in science by the quality of the question and its answer and not by the volume of herd-opinion. That this culture has been constantly passed on and lives on at the Tata Institute today is testimony to the effectiveness of Obaid and others such as him.

With the same culture that combines ease of interaction with rigor in science, Obaid developed a vision for- and founded-the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS). Along with Obaid's 80th birthday we recently celebrated 20 years of NCBS's formal existence. As Obaid's vision crystallized to reality, one theme stood out at every stage: The refusal to be hurried, to compromise on quality or in our core-culture, in the interests of speed. Well-meaning bureaucrats and friends offered advice, or sometimes insisted, that something counter to Obaid's understanding of good sense be done. Obaid would work hard to persuade them to change their view. If they did not, he would simply wait for their successor, hopefully of a different persuasion, to take office: "They will all retire," he famously said, somehow implying that he would himself never age or ever go away.

Obaid Siddiqi had a huge list of students, collaborators and admirers all over the world. They were all his friends, to be questioned by him in his piercing crystal -clear style. His wonderful family enveloped his professional circle as their own and bear his imprint of fierce independence and gentle inclusiveness. He leaves behind his wife, the well-know historian Asiya Siddiqi and his children-Imran, Yumna, Diba and Kaleem.

[This is an edited version of a talk given on Obaid Siddiqi's 80th Birthday and posted on the NCBS website: and modified from an article published by K. VijayRaghavan in the Journal Of Neurogeneritcs]

Other relevant links:


It was during a NCERT Summer

It was during a NCERT Summer Training Program for Biology stream of Science Talent Scholars that I attended a lecture by Prof. Obaid Siddiqui, then from the TIFR Mumbai and he provided a simple narration about some of the molecular biology fundamentals. While the actual lecture topic was intended as a primer on on Molecular Biology, to me it left a profound effect in the sense that a whole new paradigm was opened out for me that was totally novel and yet mesmerizingly fascinating. All the while till then I was expanding my interests in Botany since that was my Majorsubject for B.Sc. from the Pune University. The unassuming and down to earth simplicity of Prof. Siddiqui was so inspiring that we were actually astounded at it since we had seen far less accomplished college and university teachers portraying a pompous professorship that never suited them. May you rest in everlasting peace Sir.

The news of Obaid Siddiqi's

The news of Obaid Siddiqi's demise brought with it a profound sense of loss together with fond memories of a great man. Obaid was a visionary who brought many of his ideas to fruition during his lifetime. He inspired, influenced, motivated generations of students and colleagues. I admired not only his intellect and elegance but also his kindness, generosity and humanity. Obaid lives on through people whose lives he touched.

We just received the news

We just received the news that Dr. Obaid Siddiqi, our beloved Guruji has passed way. Both Usha and myself are deeply saddened by this news. Though the news was not totally unexpected, it still hurt when it came. It is our great fortune that we worked and studied in Obaid's lab. Forever since my early years in his TIFR lab, he has remained my Chief Guruji. His razor sharp intellect, his uncanny gift to separate the kernel from the chaff, his easy encouraging mentoring of a novice student who knew basically nothing about Molecular Biology to begin with, has for ever influenced me during all my working years. Apart from our discussions on Science which always showed his shining and penetrating intellect, I also vividly remember our conversations on poetry, Urdu poetry in particular. I always gained new insights from him in the new territories we conversed about. Though it has been more than four decades, I distinctly remember my exciting conversations with him during our occasional stroll in the TIFR garden after the afternoon tea in the west canteen. And my contemporaries can hardly forget the image of Guruji as the enthusiastic captain of the Mol Bio cricket team. Those splendid years of my life at TIFR / Mol Bio where largely possible due to this fascinating personality leading the group. Scientists in general are a group of good people. But my Chief Guruji is a giant amongst them. Great men are best known by not only what they did, but even more by the legacies they leave behind. Guruji's legacy is not only in the two distinguished institutions he created; but also in the army of young minds he groomed for science and who are now spread over all continents. I am sure many of his students will carry on the torch of science he lighted in their minds with the same vigor as Guruji did. That is our best tribute to our Guru-ji. We wish him peace, where ever he might be. Deeply saddened Sankar and Usha Chakrabarti

To Allaah we belong and to

To Allaah we belong and to him shall we return!

A truly inspirational human

A truly inspirational human being. There is much to learn from him, for all the younger people in this country. India should celebrate his life and his contributions. We badly need such people in this country, where the character of our society appears to be degrading day by day, and no role models to look up to.

I did not know the man very

I did not know the man very well but his science was very familiar to me. This is a great and trajic loss to Indian, and indeed international, genetics. My condolences to his family and the NCBS. I hope we are all wise enough to carry on his tradition.

Innallahi wa inna ilayhi

Innallahi wa inna ilayhi Rajioon. What a sad news. May Allah give his family patience and rest his soul in peace. What a fine scientist, teacher, leader and above all human being. Inspite of holding such a high position both nationaly and internationally he was so close to the people surrounding him. As his student I found him highly motivating and persuasive in carrying out good research. I found him a true GENTLMAN , the best I have ever come across. He will be misssed by many of his students along with his family and I pray for him. His legacy of high quality reasearch and contribution to common good will be upheld by all of us who came in contact with him.

you left us!

you left us! ........................ the body had to follow! brain retired first, your mind never allowed them to stop, neither did us. who believes in another world, u were needed there, so u go! who denies soul, you had just left it here, for us to vow!

Inna Lillahe wa inna ilaihe

Inna Lillahe wa inna ilaihe rajeoon. A sad news of-course, But the illuminated footsteps will guide on the less traveled road. Taj Rizvi

It is an unreplenishable

It is an unreplenishable loss. He was like the sun and we all revolved around him, knowing that he is there and whenever we need some advice or want to clarify an idea we can approach him. During my PhD days (1993-1998), I never found him tired. Even if we approached him during the late night tea at the east canteen and wanted to discuss our findings or general issues in science, he displayed full enthusiasm. I have learnt so many things from him including how to give a good talk. I am blessed that I am also a part of the scientific culture that Obaid has created. Mrinal.

Rest in peace Dr.

Rest in peace Dr. Siddiqui! Nicely put by Dr. Vijayraghavan that the theme of Dr. Siddiqui's vision was to encourage and take forth quality science by "refusing to compromise on quality in the interests of speed". The success of NCBS bears testimony to the fact that Indian institutes could be world class if we don't get bogged down by the pressures of "hurried productivity" - a wonderful teaching of Dr. Obaid Siddiqui. We are sad on losing such a mentor; but we are content that the place that he founded is prospering under the guidance of the likes of Dr. Vijayraghavan, Dr. Satyajit Mayor and other quality researchers.

Inna Lillah i Wa Inna Ilai he

Inna Lillah i Wa Inna Ilai he Rajiuun. May God keep his soul in peace. It is indeed a great loss to the country. Though I am not directly involve in Molecular Biology but a student of Conservation Biology and read his outstanding work. His work and dedication has been inspiration to us. Zafar-ul Islam formerly with the Bombay Natural History Society National Wildlife Research Center Taif, Saudi Arabia

Shocking and saddening news!

Shocking and saddening news! There were close to five decades between us in age, but on the couple of occasions I spoke with him, I encountered a young, playful, and inventive mind, and absolutely no hang-ups. My heartfelt condolences to his family and friends in these distressing times.

I remember the energizing

I remember the energizing meeting with Obaid amidst a huge collection of books in his office at NCBS several years ago. A contagious passion to do great science is what Obaid personified... and the outcome speaks out

We are really shocked to hear

We are really shocked to hear about the passing away of Professor Obaid Siddiqi so soon. We expected that he would lead us for several years to come. We were initiated in Molecular Biology by him in 1962. We fondly knew him as GURUJI. Indeed he was a great mentor and guide through all these years to us. We will indeed remember him and miss him. May his soul rest in peace. Our heartfelt condolences to Mrs. Siddiiqi, Imran, Yumna, Diba, Kalim and family. R.N. Singh and Kusum Singh

A very sad day. This is a

A very sad day. This is a personal remembrance and not an obituary. Although I had never been Obaid's direct student, Obaid influenced me indirectly a great deal. In late 1976, I attended a talk by him somewhere in New Delhi on DNA sequencing (Maxam-Gilbert and Sanger sequencing papers were just published). I think I had asked a few questions, and later spoke to him informally over tea and pakoras. A few weeks later a postcard from Obaid followed to my JNU address, encouraging me to apply to TIFR for the National Science Talent summer research program. I landed in TIFR Bombay in the summer of 1977. However, I was at that time not interested in developmental biology or fly genetics, so I chose Pabitra Maitra's lab instead of his. In a few weeks I got bored of assaying glycolytic enzymes of yeast day in and day out, and was equally puzzled by Dr. Maitra's inimical way of speaking in riddles. U. N. Singh's lectures on regulation of gene expression were quite impressive for its depth and their mathematical sophistication (he used to do what we'd call these days "synthetic biology"), but I soon found myself wandering into Obaid's lab where he used to work alone at nights. Being a night owl myself, this suited me better. Obaid had a few temperature sensitive mutant flies that he suspected had defects in synaptic transmission. So he would poke an electrode into the post synaptic cell, shock a muscle, collect the bursts, raise the temperature, shock and collect the bursts again. He guessed that upon raising the temperature, the frequency distribution of bursts would resemble Poisson distribution. He let me do some of the recordings. Once he was trying to poke the microelectrodes and I could see that he was missing the cell. I wanted to help, but he sharply told me to refrain from helping him and instead focus on the recording--I merely thought I would have a steadier hand, but he clearly didn't think so. I was left with the impression of an intensely confident man. Later he invited me and my friend Syed Ehtesham Hasnain (now a member of the Planning Commission of India) to his home and Asyia cooked dinner. There was a framed photograph of Sydney Brenner on the wall. I still remember that monsoon evening, a new building was coming up next door and stevedores were going up and down with loads of cement in torrential rain, and we discussed the coming of CPI-M with Jyoti Basu having just become the chief minister a few days earlier. Obaid asked whether I thought it was going to be good with CPI-M in governance, and I remember my reply, "Let's give them a chance." These were new experiences for me, to be sought out for opinion (then a mere MSc student!) by a legendary scientist. Clearly he was an exception among any man of letters that I had known until that time. Obaid encouraged me to apply to TIFR for PhD, which I did, got an interview but did not go. Later I heard from a friend that Obaid was annoyed. My reason for not going there was that I had found the atmosphere in TIFR molecular biology too elitist, except in Obaid's lab, and I wasn't interested in fly genetics. Some six or seven years later I was a postdoc in Frank Stahl's laboratory; Imran, his son, was my--our--close friend, who was a grad student of Frank. Obaid visited Eugene and gave a fantastic talk at our institute on olfactory genetics of fly, and later came to visit us for dinner. As he entered and proceeded to sit down on the sofa, our daughter, some 3 or 4 years old at the time, looked up to the tall man--he was some 6 ft 6 in height--shook her finger and blurted out, "no no no, you'd need to take off you shoes first!". Obaid and I had had much more interactions since those days. He offered me a job in 1989 at what was to eventually become NCBS (, right after Vijay (K. Vijayraghavan), and Mathew K. Mathew just joined the still non-existent institute that didn't have its own space or even an approved budget. I did not go. That was the most unfortunate professional blunder I have ever committed. I gave the excuse that I hadn't made my mark yet. Obaid replied that I had learned enough science and now is the time to give back. I regret not having accepted the offer. I chickened out. In truth, I was afraid of what India might have had in store for me, having been out of the country during the past 10 years. I regret his untimely departure, due to a senseless accident. My thoughts are with his family and near friends. My greatest regret is that I never got to listen to Obaid playing the sarod--he was an accomplished musician.

'Deeply saddened by the loss

'Deeply saddened by the loss of such an intellectual giant. Thank you Obaid, for giving me a chance when no one else would. I will always remember you with awe and gratitude in equal measure.

It's not a loss you ever come

It's not a loss you ever come to terms with. You believe he will always be there, may be holding a cup of tea in the cafeteria, discussing what he currently finds interesting in science or world. He was a visionary leader. A charismatic person, whose enthusiasm and love for science defied age or stature. He was our guru, our friend and our idol. A great man, whose contributions can not only be summarized in the number of awards he won, but the number of hearts and minds he touched. You will be missed sorely Sir, and it's only with a heavy heart we will ever be able to let you go.

Prof Obaid Siddiqi was a true

Prof Obaid Siddiqi was a true renaissance man, a scientist of unequal caliber and a visionary - and a giant in his field(s). His inspirational approach in and out of the lab and his knack to make scientific research a joyous experiment was a pleasure to witness. I am sure - wherever he will be now - he will be waking up late in the morning and heading off to his favorite stomping ground and starting to tinker in his lab - till the wee hours of the coming morning. Good bye Sir and Thank you for everything you did for so many people around - near and far. Gautam Thor

As Vijay pointed out, we were

As Vijay pointed out, we were all complicit in the belief that Obaid would simply always continue to be there. Thus, it is even more saddening to hear of this tragic loss. As students, we all looked up to Obaid to remind us that there were never any limits to our thinking and that no scientific problem was too big. It was this calm intrepidity that I found most admirable. I owe him a huge sense of gratitude for his wisdom and advice not just on how to think about science but also the very real nuts and bolts of electrophysiological experiments. There is no doubt that his legacy does and will continue to live on. It will perhaps be the best tribute that we can all pay him. My heartfelt condolences.

May his soul rest in peace...

May his soul rest in peace...

Friends; I am deeply saddened

Friends; I am deeply saddened to learn that Professor Siddiqui is no more. He was an icon and a pioneer of Indian science, unlike any other. He was an exemplary scientist, a teacher and a mentor for a generation of scientists in India with global influence. He was and is an inspiration to me. May almighty God offer eternal peace to the departed soul, and strength to accept the inevitable to his wife Mrs. Asiya Siddiqui and his family. Narendra Singh (Doctoral student of Professor Obaid Siddiqui 1975-1979) Professor, Department of Biological Sciences Auburn University Auburn, AL 36849, USA

Prof. Siddiqi's teaching of

Prof. Siddiqi's teaching of and about the science and the life of scientist to countless young from India has tremendous positive impact for day to day scientific progress. I would be fortunate to make difference in one persons life, while I think Prof. Siddiqi has influence and change a course of countless individuals spanning two generations. This is truly remarkable. Condolences to Asiya and all the family members.

I am deeply saddened by

I am deeply saddened by reading this news. Upon return from the West, Obaid took the TIFR’s mission – to establish a top-notch scientific infrastructure in India – to his heart and spared no efforts to realize the goal. He provided desirable scientific freedom to express/execute ideas to all, built state-of-the-art facility and diligently created highly conducive environment to train most competitive researchers under his umbrella. Thanks to him, we all could walk in any lab in the world and be competitive with peers. His contribution in our lives is invaluable and this void can never be filled. My prayers are with his family in this difficult time. May Guru ji’s noble soul rest in peace. Jay Jay B. Joshi, Ph.D. Clinical Neuroimmunology and Brain Tumors (CNBT) Study Section National Institutes of Health II Rockledge Center, 6701 Rockledge Drive, MSC 7846 Bethesda, MD 20892-9692; Use zip code 20817 for overnight mail Skype Phone: 301-456-0043 Skype Address: j.joshi.csr BlackBerry: 301-408-9135 FAX: 301-480-4184 Email:

I am awfully sad to learn

I am awfully sad to learn that Obaid passed away yesterday. He was a phenomenal person who led a rich life fulfilled with accomplishments. He influenced me in many ways and I am very grateful for that. He also trained many scientists who will continue his legacy. My condolences to his wonderful wife Asiya and his children, Imran, Deeba, Yumna and Kaleem. My prayers are with them at this difficult time. Vijay

It is very sad that Prof.

It is very sad that Prof. Siddiqi is no more. Prof. Siddiqi belonged to a rare breed of classical and elegant scientists whose scientific pursuit was based on intellectual curiosity and challenges and not influenced by any extraneous factors. It was a privilege to know such great, humble and gentlemanly scientist.

I am deeply saddened stunned

I am deeply saddened stunned by the sudden passing away of Obaid Siddiqi. Obaid was just very special. Obaid was a highly regarded scientist and a wonderful human being. He influenced and was loved by a very large number of scientists all over the world. It' is a great personal loss to me. Obaid was always generous, gracious and charming. Just like he impacted so many careers, he was very influential and important in my own career. I will miss him dearly. His legacy will of course continue for a very long long time. My thoughts and prayers are to Asiya and the family. Venky

Obaid Siddiqi was much more

Obaid Siddiqi was much more of an inspiration and a nurturer of bright young biologists than we realised when we were graduate students at TIFR. All those years ago we used to affectionately call him the Old Man, but now he's died too young. We will all miss him. Thank you, Obaid, for all you gave us.

Very very sad news. I am lost

Very very sad news. I am lost for words. We often think about Obaid and our times in TIFR. May his soul rest in peace. Our deepest condolences to wife Asiya, and his children Yumna, Deeba, Kalim and Imran.

Very very sad news. I am lost

Very very sad news. I am lost for words. We often think about Obaid and our times in TIFR. May his soul rest in peace. Our deepest condolences to wife Asiya, and his children Yumna, Deeba, Kalim and Imran.

Inna lillah-e wa inna alaih-e

Inna lillah-e wa inna alaih-e rajeoon Brightest amongst the bright, a true beacon of knowledge and learning--will be missed all over the world.

This is truly the end of an

This is truly the end of an important era in Indian Science. Obaid's conviction in his research and his steely determination were most admirable. But for him and people who were trained with him, many Indian students like me would have never discovered the joys of learning fly genetics and the importance of scientific endeavor in our lives and society. He leaves a legacy that is here to stay and grow. I will fondly remember many a conversations with him in the NCBS cafeteria. His humility and respect for others was something to aspire for. A true gentleman scientist of our times! I wish his family and friends courage and solace. His legacy will always be cherished.

Miss you Sir.

Miss you Sir.

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