Dr. Obaid Siddiqi

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Professor Obaid Siddiqi


By Afzal Usmani

Born: 7 January 1932, Basti, Uttar Pradesh
Died: 26 July 2013, Bangalore (Karnataka)
Buried on 27th July 2013, at Quddisa Qabristan, Jaya Mahal Road, Bangalore, Karnataka
Wife: Dr. Asiya Siddiqi (served in Dept. of History, AMU Aligarh)
Parents: Mr. M. A. Qadeer Siddiqi and Mrs. Umme Kulsum
Brother: Prof. Aslam Qadeer (Ex-Dean faculty of Engg. & Tech. AMU Aligarh)
Education : M.Sc. from AMU Aligarh in 1953
Ph.D. from University of Glasgow, UK in 1961

· Hon. Professor, Founder & Emeritus Director

TIFR National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore
· Chancellor, Maulana Azad National Urdu University, 2005-Till date
· President National Academy of Sciences(NAS), India : 1986-88
· Vice-President: 1983-85
· Council Member NAS : 1974-91
· Member, National Academy of Sciences (NAS), India, 1968- Till date
· Member, National Academy of Sciences, USA, 2003-Till Date
· Sr. Associate. Fellow, Royal Society of London,
· Director: TIFR, National Centre for Biol. Sc., Bangalore, 1993;
· Sherman Fairchild, Distinguished Scholar 81-82, 86;
· Gosney Fellow 72-73,
· Visiting Professor Cambridge Inst. of Tech., USA: 1968, 1970-71;
· Visiting Associate Yale Univ., Dept. of Biophysics in 1966;
· Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore:
· Hon. Prof. National Inst. of Advanced Studies, Bangalore:
· INSA, TWAS, Maharashtra Academy of Science.
· Pennsylvania Univ., USA: Post doctoral Fellow 61-62;
· Lallor Foundation Fellow, Cold Spring Harbor Lab., USA, 1961
· Res. Scholar, IARI, Delhi: 1957-58
· Lecturer, AMU Aligarh, 1954-57


· Padma Vibhushan, 2006
· B.C. Roy Award, 2004
· Sir Syed Life Time Achievement Award, AMUAA New York, 2004
· Pride of India Award, AFMI, USA, 2004
· INSA Aryabhata Medal 1992;
· Goyal Prize 1991;
· Birla Smarak Kosh National Award 1989;
· Padma Bhushan 1984;
· Bhatnagar Award 1976;
· Honorary D.Sc. from AMU Aligarh., BHU Banaras & Jamia Hamdard Delhi.

India has produced many stalwart scholars and scientists in recent times. A few of them have earned Nobel Prize after they became expatriate. On the other hand, for those who opt to work in India, a membership to the US National Academy of Sciences is considered the highest international scientific recognition of their contribution to science. Professor Obaid Siddiqi is one of a few non-US citizens inducted as a Fellow of the prestigious scientific academy. This fellowship bestowed on him brings an honor to the country of his residence, India. The Indian Diaspora joins the citizen of India in feeling proud for Dr. Siddiqi’s achievement.

Obaid Siddiqi was born on 7th January 1932 in Basti to a family of scholars. His siblings have also distinguished themselves in academic medicine, science, engineering, social, and literary fields. In his youth, he wanted to be a professional photographer; however, it appears that his uncle’s persuasion directed him to science and his ambition to photographing turned into ‘mapping’ of nature’s mysteries. Although he is in his early seventies, he keeps himself engrossed in scientific research as an Emeritus Professor of Molecular Biology at the NCBS. It is good to know that Obaid’s life is not just science; he has a keen interest in sports and literature. He is very fond of Urdu poetry and Allama Iqbal’s following verse fits him well: BaRi mushkil se hota hae chaman meiN deedawar paeda.

Obaid Siddiqi started his scientific career at the Aligarh Muslim University as a lecturer after graduating from the university. His romance with molecular biology began long before it became the ‘cool’ area of research of modern times. Realizing Obaid’s inclination towards the field, his teacher-cum-colleague Reyayat Khan of AMU’s Botany Department encouraged him to work on mapping of rust-resistance genes in wheat at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute in Delhi. He then proceeded to work for his PhD at the Department of Genetics at the University of Glasgow. Even before he had completed his degree, Obaid was offered a post-doctoral position at the MIT to work with a giant in genetics filed, Dr. Alan Garen. Alan Garen later moved to the University of Pennsylvania and took his postdoctoral colleague with him. Together they discovered the suppressors of “nonsense” mutations that led to the discovery of “nonsense” codons, the stop signals in the genetic code. In early seventies, his work with Professor Benzer of the California Institute of Technology led to the identification of several genes that control nerve conduction and synaptic transmission. Obaid and his associates’ pioneering work on neurogenetics of fruit fly, Drosophila, has opened up the prospects of an integrated genetic and neurobiological investigation of chemosensory perception.

Obaid’s desire to return to India was fulfilled when Homi Bhabha of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, invited him to start a molecular biology group at the institute in early 1960s. Obaid recruited top-class scientists and put the TIFR’s molecular biology group on world map of genetics. Later, with the support of government of India, he founded TIFR’s National Center for Biological Sciences at Bangalore. The mandate of this Center is basic research in the frontier areas of biology and currently it has many distinguished scholars working in various fields of science with state-of-the-art facilities testifying that Obaid’s brainchild, NCBS, will one day flourish into a research institute of international repute. Prof. Obaid has mentored energetic scholars, who have distinguished themselves in the field of genetics and are occupying highly visible academic positions in India and abroad. The list includes: R. N. Singh, Vijay Sarthy, Satpal Singh, Sheela Dhonde, Veronica Roderiques, Kavita Arora, V. C. Jayaram, Shahid Siddiqui, Ravi Rajan, Rashid Mistry, Swati Joshi, Champakali Ayub, and Anil Gupta.

Prof. Obaid’s name is held in high esteem among the biologists. He has published hundreds of original research papers and articles in internationally recognized scientific journals and lectured at prestigious institutions. He has been awarded almost all distinguished scientific honors. He has been a visiting Professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Gosney Fellow and twice Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Scholar at the California Institute of Technology. He is a life Member of Clare Hall, Cambridge University. A past president of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Fellow of the Indian National Science Academy, the National Science Academy, The Royal Society of London, the Third World Academy of Sciences Trieste, and Foreign Associate of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Washington. Prof. Siddiqi is a recipient of the Shanti Swaroop Bhatnagar Prize, The Aryabhat Medal, The Indian National Science Academy Jubilee Medal, The Goyal Prize, the Birla Smarak Kosh Award for Biological Sciences, Bhasin Award, GM Modi Innovative Science and Technology Award, The B.C. Roy Award for Biomedical Research, and the Indian civil honor Padam Bhushan. The Aligarh Muslim University, Banaras Hindu University and Jamia Hamdard have conferred honorary D.Sc. degrees on Professor Siddiqi.


Recieving BC Roy Award from President APJ Abul Kalam


Prof. Siddiqi with Prof. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Presidnet of India at annual convention of MANUU


Prof. Siddiqi, Founding Chancellor of Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) delivering Presidential address at annual convention of MANUU


Prof. Siddiqi, Founding Chancellor of Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) at annual convention of MANUU


Prof. Siddiqi with Prof. Pathan, Vice-Chancellor of MANUU, and Prof. S. jairajpuri, Founding Vice-Chancellor of MANUU. at a function at MANUU to honor Prof. jairajpuri

Prof. Obaid Siddiqi receiving the Sir Syed Ahmad Khan Intrnational Award for Life Sciences 2009 from AMU Chancellor, Justice A. M. Ahmadi

Prof. Obaid Siddiqi receiving the Sir Syed Ahmad Khan International Award for Life Sciences 2009 from AMU Chancellor, Justice A. M. Ahmadi on 17th October 2009 Sir Syed Day Commemorative Function in AMU Aligarh

Prof. Obaid Siddiqui addresing the Alumni Meet of S.T.S High School

Prof. Obaid Siddiqui addresing the Alumni Meet of S.T.S High School on 18th Oct. 2009

Inna Lillahe Wa Inna Elaihe

Inna Lillahe Wa Inna Elaihe Raje-oon.

Indians in general and Aligarh fraternity in particular lost one of its bright star.
Milnay Kay Nahin Nayaab Hain Hum

I never met him, or spoke to him but heard so much about him from my seniors specially from his cousin Mr. Umar Farooq who lives in Atlanta and Dr Masood Haider from New Jersy who introduced him to the younger generation by awarding him Sir Syed Lifetime Achievement Award from Aligarh Alumni Association of Tri-State New York in 2004. Dr. Obaid Siddiqui was a person of high caliber and brilliance. A brilliant student of a brilliant teacher and Former Dean of faculty of Life Science (or Science), Prof. Reyayat Khan.

Hope we have more of his likes among us.

We pray to Allah SWT to shower his mercy and blessings to one of his servant do died in the blessed month of Ramazan.

His brief life sketch can be read at; http://aligarhmovement.com/aligarians/obaid_siddiqi

Afzal Usmani
Thousand Oaks, CA

Assalamu Alai Kum
Warahmatullahe Wararakatahu

On the behalf of my family members I express deep sorrow due
to sudden demise of our beloved great scientist Prof. Obaid Siddqui. It is
indeed a great loss to scientific community around the globe and especially to
AMU community. May Allah Taala give abundant strength and Sabr to bear this
un-repairable loss to his family members with highest place in Jannatul Firdous

I humbly request to AMU community to remember our both renowned
scientists Prof. Majid Siddqui and Prof. Obaid Siddqui in your pious duaas, who
passed away in the Holy month of Ramzan. We should all do hard work and good
deeds in our life what both Prof. Siddquis has done for us. Jazaakallah

Taimur Athar
M.Sc. 1981

Inna lillahe wa inna ilaehe rajeoun. May the departed soul rest in peace in jannah.

I have the privilege of interacting with Prof. Siddiqui when he came to the Biochemistry Department in the F/O Life Sciences to deliver a Lecture. So clear were the concepts and so focused was he that I still remember his presentation. Like all 'real greats' Prof. Siddiqui was completely a down to earth person. My second meeting with him was at NCBS, Bangalore in 1992-93. Lets all pray for his maghfirat.

Biochem, JNMC

Innalillahi Wa`inna ilaihi raji`oon
I am greatly saddened to learn of the passing of Professor Obaid Siddiqui. I'm sending my most sincere condolences and deepest sympathy on this big loss. I wish to extend my deepest sympathy to his family, all the staff of National Centre of Biological sciences, all national scientists, researchers and academicians, and all the international scientific community
May ALLAH(SWT) rest his soul in Jannah.

Kind Regards
Bachelor of Science (Math)-III
Aligarh Muslim University

Innalillahe Wa Inna Alehe Rajeoon..
It is very sad to hear the demise of a great personality, eminent scientist and a great human being Prof. Obaid Siddique. His lost can not not be compensate by any other means.
May Allah rest his soul in peace and give strength to his family to bear this valuable loss.

Qambar Hasan, M.Sc-Biochemistry-2012.
New Delhi.

Prof. Obaid Siddiqui passed away

In-nall-laha wa inna ilahi rajioon.
May Allah have mercy on him and his soul in this holy month of Ramadan.
My deep and sincere condolences to his family.

Mansoor Azam
B.Sc (Hons) Zoology. (2008)
Dubai - UAE

Prof. Obaid Siddiqui passed away

Salaam Alay Kum.
We all have lost a distinguished Scientist and a great Aligarian. A very
humble man who has left a pioneering mark on Genetics’ work in India.
We are all very sad and will miss him and pray for him
Asaf Ahmad

Prof. Obaid Siddiqui passed away

Assalamu Alai Kum
Warahmatullahe Wararakatahu

On the behalf of my family members I express deep sorrow due
to sudden demise of our beloved great scientist Prof. Obaid Siddqui. It is
indeed a great loss to scientific community around the globe and especially to
AMU community. May Allah Taala give abundant strength and Sabr to bear this
un-repairable loss to his family members with highest place in Jannatul Firdous

I humbly request to AMU community to remember our both renowned
scientists Prof. Majid Siddqui and Prof. Obaid Siddqui in your pious duaas, who
passed away in the Holy month of Ramzan. We should all do hard work and good
deeds in our life what both Prof. Siddquis has done for us. Jazaakallah

Taimur Athar
M.Sc. 1981

Prof. Obaid Siddiqui passed away

It is with profound sadness that I heard the news of demise of my Aligarh
senior and Union debater Mohtaram Obaid Siddiqi; he was an inspiration to
me personally as an ideal senior and union leader. I kept the relationship
with him when I visited Bombay to meet my family and have lunch with him.
My daughter Bushra Yasmeen Ghazi and Dr. Siddiqis' daughter Deeba? became
class-mates and close friends in Bryn Mawyer College in Pensylvania, I met
him with my daughter in Bombay as Deeba were off to Rajhastan doing some
project and had lunch with him. The little footnote from my memory I want
to add is my first participation in Urdu Extempore debate in 1952, during
the tenure of Shah Enayat Husain Aftab Husain where among others Obaid Bhai
was also a participant and contender. He easily won the first prize, second
prize went to Anwar Ali Khan Soze and I was sa urprise winner with third
prize. I very well remember the *shabashi *I received form Obaid Bhai and
remark, "I must now retire from debates!" In fact it was his last debate
though he remained an effective speaker along Ahmad Saeed Anda and Sutan
Niazi on Union platform participating in many stormy sessions. All of the
great senior speakers retired that year and field was left open for me to
reap all the first prises in Urdu debates next year and get coveted Saif
Fida Husain God Medal. The standard of debating at the Union was so high
that my winning of third prize became a news and Obaid Bhai one of those
those who relished the news and encouraged me to participate in all Union

May his soul rest in peace.

Dr. Abidullah Ghazi
President IQRA' International Educational Foundation
Skokie IL 60077

Re: Prof. Obaid Siddiqi

Indeed, a sad day for Indian Science. AMU also lost a brilliant star. One of the very few persons who have made AMU proud. While he did most of his studies and research outside AMU, but the University will feel proud to have its name associated with Prof. Obaid Siddiqi. He has left a great legacy.

AMU lost two great persons and scientists, both of whom left great legacies, in the last two years. One is Prof. Obaid Siddiqui who passed away today, and another was Prof. Abdul Majid Siddiqui from the Biochemistry Department of AMU, who passed away in 2011. Interestingly, both of them passed away in the blessed month of Ramazan. Perhaps Allah wanted them to be engulfed by His mercy and reward them for their efforts.

It was nice to see a great posting in a long while on AMU network. It is a must read.

Hazaroon saal nargis apni benoori pe roti hai
badi mushkil se hota hai chaman mein deedawar paida

Shaida Andrabi,
University of Kashmir
MSc Biochemistry, AMU 1995
It is truly a great loss for the Indian scientific community in general, and Indian Muslims in particular. I remember when I went to TIFR in 2002 and introduced myself, several people recognized Aligarh Muslim University as Prof. Obaid Siddiqui's alma mater, such was the legacy of this great scientist.

My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family. Inna Lillahi wa inna elaihi rajeoon.


Rehan Baqri
B.Sc. Botany, 2002



Washington DC, July 27, 2013

It is with profound sorrow that we have learned of the passing away of
Prof Obaid Siddiqi in Bangalore yesterday. Prof Siddiqi was a world
renowned and most distinguished biological scientist from India. His
sudden passing away, as a result of a traffic accident, is a huge loss
to the global scientific community and to the Indian nation. We
Indian Muslims who live in North America deeply mourn his loss.

The Association of Indian Muslims of America, Washington DC had given
its distinguished leadership award to Prof Siddiqui in 2004 during his
visit to US. About a decade ago he received the top Indian award of
Padam Vibhushan for his service to science. Indeed in his very
distinguished career he received many top awards from many prestigious
institutions all over the world.

About 30 years ago he established a biological research center, an arm
of the prestigious Tata Institute for Fundamental Research in
Bangalore. He dedicated his life to it and made it one of India's
premier research centers. A large number of scientists who benefitted
from his guidance and advice will miss him sorely.

Kaleem Kawaja
Association of Indian Muslims of America

PO Box 10654, Silver Spring, MD 20914

AFMI condoles the demise of renowned scientist Dr.Obaid Siddiqi

AFMI condoles the demise of renowned scientist Dr.Obaid Siddiqi (Recipient of AFMI's Pride of India Award)
FARMINGTON,MI--The American Federation of Muslims of Indian Origin (AFMI) condoles the passing away of renowned biologist Dr. Obaid Siddiqui. He was a recipient of AFMI's prestigious Pride of India Award in 2003 at its annual convention in Houston.

"AFMI (USA Canada) members are deeply saddened by his passing away and express our condolences to his family, friends and colleagues. He was not only a pioneering scientist but also a great humanitarian who quietly strived for justice and equality in society," said Ayub Khan, president of AFMI.

"Despite attaining great heights in his career he was a paragon of virtue and humility. An inspiring figure he touched everyone he came across with his high mannerisms and positive attitude. We pray to Allah (swt) to grant him maghfirah and the highest stations in jannah."

The American Federation of Muslims of Indian Origin, is a North American based grass-roots organization, dedicated to socio-economic and educational development of Muslims and other underprivileged masses in India.

The American Federation of Muslims of Indian Origin; 29008 W.8 Mile Road, Farmington Hills, MI 48336; Tel: 248-442-2364; afmi11@aol.com.

Re: Prof. Obaid Siddiqi

I also just learned of the sad news of his passing away an hour ago through my father.
He was my mother's first cousin and last time I recall meeting him was in the early part of 2008 when I had visited Bangalore on a business trip and he had invited me over for dinner at his residence. I recall spending a good part of the evening chatting about various things, of which the main discussion revolved around Science and I distinctly remember Sitar playing in the background that apparently he had a penchant for.
I join the rest of the Alig. community in offering my condolences to the family.
Inna lillahe wa inna ilaehe rajeoun.

Saad Zaidi(B.Sc Engg Electronics 1992)
San Diego,CA

Re:Prof Obaid Siddiqui

Little remains by way of tributes after the brilliant obituary by a colleague posted by the moderator except to add a few miscellaneous comments to draw attention to the many faceted personality that has just moved over to history.

A typical Tar Bangla boy, he hardly changed in appearance over the years save for the long hair turning grey. I always found him smiling and relaxed giving the impression that he had all the time in the world for you. I have abiding memories of his frequent overnight visits to Aligarh to see his parents (possibly whenever he came to Delhi from Bombay). He would walk slowly towards the Tar Bangla Masjid escorting his father Janab Abdul Qadeer Sahib for the maghrib namaz and returning from the threshold of the mosque chatting and greeting with the passer by. It was hilarious to see him being often accosted by the late Shujaatullah Khan (who stayed with his elder brother in a house diagonally across the Masjid). Shujaat Sahib marhoom would unfailingly converse with him in English notwithstanding the unfailing replies in Urdu. I also remember him explaining to me in simple Urdu what Molecular Biology meant, how did it really differ from Biochemistry, and what was the nature of research for which Hargovind Khurana had been awarded the Nobel. I also recall with amusement his mirthful laugh when a peon or Lab Assistant (who knew him from his Aligarh days) asked him if he was also a leader of junior employees in 'his University'; to his bewildered query as to what prompted the fellow to ask the question the innocent interlocutor referred to the similar activities of his brother in law (sister's husband), Dr Irfan Habib in the AMU. After that memorable laugh his reply was equally memorable, "Khan Sahib jahan mein kaam karta hoon wahan aap jaise mazloom zyada nahin hain!".
One wonders whether the Urdu Press and Muslim intelligentsia realizes that in Dr Siddiqui's death the community has lost arguably the most distinguished Muslim scientist alive. Of course, one also wonders if the Botany Department of AMU will formally condole the passing away of its most distinguished alumnus - I hope they are aware of the fact!

Naved Masood
LL.B (Hons) 1977
New Delhi

Re:Prof. Obaid Siddiqui passed away

Inna lillahe wa Inna Ilehe Rajeoun.
May his soul rest in heaven.

A big loss to Indian science and to Aligarh fraternity.
My deep and sincere condolences to his family.

Tariq M Haqqi, Ph.D. (1979)
Cleveland, OH

Alas! What a sad news.
Inna Lillahe Wa Inna Ilaihe Rajeoon
May Allah grant peace upon him and grant him a place in Jannatul Firdaus.

However, the way Prof. Obaid Siddiqui left us is very unfortunate.

Laayi hayaat aaye qaza le chali chale
Apni khushi na aye na apni khushi chale

It was indeed a very unwanted qaza for him. Anyways, this is the fate that will be ultimate on all of us.
AMUOBA Riyadh pays rich tribute to this great personality and prays for his maghfirat..........Aameen.

Dr. Mohammad Ahmad Badshah
Saudi Arabia.

What a profound loss to a large spectrum of people and communities. Great people's lives and departures are inspiration for all. Dr. Obeid inspired when he was with us and will continue inspiring when physically is no more with us. May Allah have mercy on him in this blessed month. Innalillahi wa inna ilahi rajioon.

Tahir Hussain, Ph.D. 1987


Prof. Obaid Siddiqui passed away

Dear Friends

26th July 2013.
I am very sorry to inform that Prof. Obaid Siddiqi passed away a little while back in Bangalore after being on life support since Sunday night. Please pray for his maghfirat. I will send more information when available.

Inna lillahe wa inna ilaehe rajeoun.

Shahid Jameel
New Delhi, India

ASAK All: Innalillahe wa inna ilaehe Rajeun. Sorry to hear the passing away of Prof. Obaid Siddiqui. An accomplished Aligarian who did us all proud. May HE have mercy on his and give him a place in Jannat. may Allah also give sabr to the family, friends and well-wishers.

Sharing the grief with others,

Ali Rizvi
Boston, MA

Prof. Obaid Siddiqui

It is sad to hear of the accident involving Obaid Sahib or, for that matter, anyone else. Since it has happened, all we can wish is that he recovers fast from his injury. Obaid Sahib has done much for science in India and I personally have deep affection and admiration for him. I hope he will be well soon and resume his work.

Asad Ahmed, Ph.D. (Aligarh '61
Edmonton, Canada

Prof. Obaid Siddiqui

Dear Shahid
Thank you for sharing the news a very sad one indeed, we pray for his recovery
and hope he comes out of the coma.
He is no doubt one of the best and decorated scientists India has produced
inspiring at least two generations of young minds and budding scientists.

Best wishes

Ashraf Khan, MD, FRCPath
Professor of Pathology
Director Surgical Pathology
UMassMemorial Medical Center
University of Massachusetts Medical School
Worcester MA 01655

Prof. Obaid Siddiqui

It is indeed shocking, roads are not safe in India..accident prone, no proper
lines for two wheelers, cyclists or pedestrians.

May Allah bless Prof. Obaid with fast recovery, hardly we have Muslims of his

Naheed Banu
Naheed Banu,Ph.D.
Qassim Univ. KSA
On EOL from:
Department of Biochemistry
Faculty of Life Sciences
Aligarh-202002,UP, India

Prof. Obaid Siddiqui hit by a scooter

ASAK all,
It is indeed a very tragic news --a very serious accident of the most decorated
Indian (Muslim) Scientist, Prof Obaid Siddiqi.
Please pray for his recovery. Miracles do happen. India and the Indian Muslims
will not see another like him in decades. He was the best among the very best of

dhoondho-gey hameiN Mulko-Mulko,
milney key naheeN, naayaab haiN hum!

May Allah have His mercy and blessing on Prof. Obaid.

Razi Raziuddin, M.Sc.'74, Frederick, MD, USA

Prof. Obaid Siddiqui hit by a scooter

A very very sad news indeed. We all pray to God for his full and speedy recovery.

Tariq M Haqqi
Cleveland, OH

Sorry to know about Obaid sb. I know him for last 2 decades. He is Thorough
gentle man. No need to say a " Good Scientist)
May Almighty "Allah" give him speedy recovery.

Asad U Khan, PH.D
AMU Biotechnology

This is a shocking news indeed.
We all pray for his good health and for a long life.
A person of his caliber is an asset for our community.
AMUOBA Riyadh prays for his early recovery and subsequent healthy life.


Dr. Mohammad Ahmad Badshah
Saudi Arabia.

Prof. Obaid Siddiqui hit by a scooter

Dear Friends

Prof. Obaid Siddiqi, an Alig and Professor Emeritus at National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore, was hit by a scooter yesterday resulting in severe head injury. He underwent emergency surgery last night to remove blood and clots from the brain, but has not recovered from the coma and is not responding as of this morning. He is now on a ventilator.

Prof. Siddiqi is one of India's most decorated scientists, having been President of the Indian National Science Academy and Fellow of the US National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society of UK. He established the Department of Biological Sciences at TIFR, Bombay in the early 60s and then the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore in the 90s. He was also awarded the Sir Syed Lifetime Achievement Prize by AMU a few years back.

Please pray for his recovery and subsequent health.

Shahid Jameel, Ph.D.
B.Sc. (Hons)'77
New Delhi, India


Dear Aligs: ASAK!

AMU has selected Prof. Obaid Siddiqi and Prof. Zahoor Qasim for this year's Sir Syed Award in Life Sciences. My heartiest congratulations to Prof. Obaid Siddiqi and Dr. Zahoor Qasim. Congratulations AMU administration for choosing two eminent scientists, an excellent choice. AMU has increased its prestige and that of the award by this excellent selection.

Here is the link to the Hindu newspaper about this news:

With all the best regards

Afshan N.Hashmi,Ph.D. 1991
Rockville, MD, USA

Sir Syed Ahmad Khan International Award – 2009 to Obaid Siddiqi

Aligarh, October 10: A seven member Jury comprising distinguished personalities today unanimously recommended that the Sir Syed Ahmad Khan International Award – 2009 in the field of Life Science be awarded jointly to Prof. Obaid Siddiqi and Prof. Syed Zahoor Qasim.

This prestigious international award carries a cash prize of Rs. 5 lakhs with citation and plaque. The Award will be conferred on the above personalities on the Sir Syed Day on October 17, 2009 in the Commemorative meeting at AMU, Aligarh. Dr. Farooq Abdullah, Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy will be the Chief Guest in the Commemoration Function.

AMU Vice Chancellor, Prof. P.K. Abdul Azis said that in line with the prestigious academic awards and literary organizations such as Nobel, Pulitzer and Gyanpeeth, the Aligarh Muslim University instituted an International Award in the name of its illustrious founder last year.

Prof. Azis said that the AMU has constituted a Committee comprising Prof. N.K. Ganguly, former Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research, Prof. Panjab Singh, former Director General of ICAR, Prof. G.P. Talwar, Director, Talwar Research Foundation, New Delhi, Prof. Syed E. Husnain, Vice Chancellor, University of Hyderabad, Padma Shri Prof. Syed Zillur Rahman, President, Ibne-Sina Academy, Aligarh and Prof. Prof. V.K. Abdul Jaleel, Registrar of the Aligarh Muslim University as its Convener.

The Aligarh Muslim University invited nomination from individuals and Universities, Research Centres, Government and non-Government organizations of international repute. The Committee after extensive deliberations and thorough evaluation of the works submitted by the nominees unanimously recommended the names of Prof. Obaid Siddiqi and Prof. Syed Zahoor Qasim for this year’s illustrious international award.

Prof. Obaid Siddiqi is an eminent scientist and his research interest includes Molecular Biology, Behaviour Genetics and Neurobiology. He was awarded the highest second civilian award Padma Bhushan in 1984 and conferred upon honorary degrees by eight Universities of international repute.

Prof. Zahoor Qasim has brought laurel to the nation by successfully leading a team of scientists in the “Fist Indian Expedition to Antarctica” in 1981. He was instrumental in the creation of the Ministry of Environment. Earlier he served as Member of the Planning Commission. In recognition of his work he was awarded honorary degrees by a number of Universities. Dr. Qasim was the first Indian Marine Scientist to be invited by the Inter-Governmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO to deliver the Anton Brunn Memorial Lecture.

(Dr. Rahat Abrar)
Public Relations Officer
AMU Aligarh

Sir Syed Ahmad Khan International Award – 2009 to Obaid Siddiqi

I am delighted and congratulate the Sir Syed International Award Jury choosing Drs. Obaid Siddiqi and Zahoor Qasim as the recipients of the 2009 Sir Syed Ahmad Khan International Award in the field of Life Sciences. I would like to elaborate on the Press Release issued by AMU and add my own thoughts on the world prominence of Dr. Obaid Siddiqi in the field of Life Sciences,

I first met Dr. Siddiqi during my Ph.D. training at AMU when he visited the campus to give a series of lectures in Molecular Biology. His lectures were stunningly impressive and they left a lasting mark on me and to some degree helped me structure my own career. After receiving my Ph.D. degree in Biochemistry I spent almost 1 year at Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) Bombay before moving to the United States where I have continued to follow Dr. Siddqi’s numerous contributions to field of Molecular Genetics as well as his leadership roles in shaping the research endeavors of Indian Scientific Establishments

Born on January 7, 1932 in Basti (U.P.), Dr. Siddqi received his M.Sc. degree in Botany from AMU in 1953, where he taught for the next three years. He then moved, first to the Indian Agriculture Research Institute in Delhi and then to the University of Glasgow, where he earned his Ph.D. degree in Genetics. His thesis work on DNA transfer and recombination in fungi not only helped to explain an important molecular phenomenon, but also became the foundation of the molecular biology field. Armed with a strong background in genetics, Dr. Siddiqi did his postdoctoral training at top institutions (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory; University of Pennsylvania; MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge). This was an exciting period for Life Sciences, because just a few years earlier the double helical structure of DNA had been elucidated by Watson and Crick. The Molecular Biology field was undergoing a renaissance of a sort and Dr. Siddiqi was in the midst of it all. Of particular importance is his work with Alan Garen on the suppression of nonsense mutation in bacteria that explained how the cellular machinery determines when to stop the synthesis of a growing polypeptide chain – a phenomenon that has become an important part of the molecular biology lexicon. I am sure that with his stellar scientific contributions, Dr. Siddiqi could have obtained any academic position of his liking in this country, but he heard the calling from back home and was recruited by Dr. Homi Jehangir Bhabha to lead the Molecular Biology Unit (MBU) of the newly established TIFR in a quiet and serene nook of bustling city of Bombay. Like his ingrained determination to pursue cutting-edge biomedical research, he developed TIFR-MBU as a place to do 1st-rate science by recruiting the best minds and providing them with modern facilities and a challenging atmosphere. His efforts culminated in the creation of a research facility comparable to any top places in North America. To truly appreciate TIFR, one has to visit the place.

What is most impressive is that despite his commitments with establishing the TIFR-MBU, Dr. Siddiqi did not pause in his own scientific endeavors. He continued to produce ground-breaking scientific discoveries. Among his many contributions, his work with Seymour Benzer at California Institute of Technology (CALTECH) on paralytic mutation in the Fruit Fly (Drosophila) led to the discovery of genes that interfere with nerve conduction. Dr. Siddiqi continues to be among the leaders in his current field of research related to behavioral genetics of Drosophila olfaction – an area of Neurobiology that is well-positioned to provide clues to several unanswered questions in the field. More importantly, his research carries the promise of deciphering the molecular defects behind neurological disorders, which should provide a platform for developing therapies. Dr. Siddiqi has earned the respect of his peers, and as during his early career, he continues to spend his time at top research institutions in the United States (MIT/CALTECH/Cambridge) as Visiting Professor/Distinguished Scholar.

As if his contributions to the scientific community were not enough, in 1991 Dr. Siddiqi embarked upon establishing the National Center for Biological Research, TIFR in Bangalore. He moved to Bangalore and became its Founding Director and Professor of Eminence from 1991 to 1996. Currently, active in research, he is Emeritus Professor and Senior Homi Bhabha Fellow at NCBS/TIFR and in 2006 Government of India bestowed upon him the National Research Professorship.

I am not surprised to see the long list of Awards (Bhatnagar Prize, Padma Bhushan; Padma Vibhushan) and Honors (Hon. D.Sc. from AMU, BHU, IIT, Jamia Millia and Jmia Hamdard) that Dr. Siddiqi has so deservedly received. It is befitting that the inaugural SIR SYED AHMAD KHAN AWARD FOR LIFE SCIENCES is now added to this list. Dr. Siddiqi is member of several prestigious Academies and Societies. Most notably, his election as a Foreign Associate of the United States National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is something of which to be especially proud. According to the NAS, “the Academy membership is composed of approximately 2,100 members and 380 foreign associates, of whom nearly 200 have won Nobel Prizes. Members and foreign associates of the Academy are elected in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research; election to the Academy is considered one of the highest honors that can be accorded a scientist or engineer”. Not only was Dr. Siddiqi elected to the National Academy, but he also was chosen to serve as an editorial board member of its highly-ranked journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA.

His world-wide eminence in the field of Life Sciences is a matter of pride not only for the Aligarian community, but for the entire nation of India. On a personal note, I am taking the liberty of paraphrasing Allama Iqbal Sohel (another Aligarian) to sum up Dr. Obaid Siddiqi’s achievements:

Iss Khitt-a-ye “Aligarh” Per Faizan-e-Tajal-lee Hai Yektar

Jo Zarrah Yehaan Se Uthta Hai, Woh Nayyar-e-Alam Hota Hai


Sohaib Khan [Ph.D. (Biochemistry), AMU 1974]

Cincinnati, OH, USA

Sir Syed Bi-Centenary


Hamiduddin Farahi


ZH Chowdhury

Satish Chandra