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Obaid Siddiqi – The Revolutionary Neuroscientist and Microbiologist who Bid Adieu to the World



Obaid Siddiqi (Image Source)

Quick Facts

  • Name: Obaid Siddiqi
  • Famous As: National Research Professor
  • Nationality: Indian
  • Birth Date: 7 January 1932
  • Died On: 26 July 2013
  • Birth Place: Basti District, Uttar Pradesh
  • Awards: Padma Bhushan (1984), Padma Vibhushan (2006)



Obaid Siddiqi was the founder of Tata Institute of Fundamental Research and a National Research Professor. His major work included Neurobiology and Genetics. The acclaimed scientist is no longer in this world. He made major contributions in science. Obaid Siddiqi was a distinguished personality, who showed the world as to how smell as well as taste is detected. Have you ever wondered as to how the smell and taste is coded to the brain? How does the brain know that something is appetizing or not? How to distinguish whether something is edible or not? He found the answer to this question through his Neurobiological works.

Obaid Siddiqi – The Father of Modern Biology in India

Let us find out more about him!

Early Life of Padma Vibhushan, Obaid Siddiqi

Obaid was born in the year 1932 on 7th January. He was born in Basti district in Uttar Pradesh. Obaid attended Aligarh Muslim University and completed his M.Sc.

He loved Science and wanted to make a flourishing career. Obaid did his PhD from University of Glasgow and he did not stop, he went to University of Pennsylvania to complete his post-doctoral research.

He married Asiya and had four children, two daughters and two sons. He is still alive through his family!

Obaid Siddiqi receiving the Padma Vibhushan Award from 11th president of India, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam in 2006

The Renowned Microbiologist & Neurologist

Seeing his publishing works and experience, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research invited him to set up a unit of microbiology. It was Homi Bhabha, who invited Siddiqi to set up the unit in Mumbai.

In 30 years, he became the founding director of the institute in Bangalore. He spent his last days in Bangalore’s institute.

Obaid was a visiting faculty in the following institutes –

  • Cambridge University

  • Yale University

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  • California Institute of Technology

He was also the India Academy of Science’s Director.

In a nutshell, he had a flourishing career. He received the following awards –

  • Bhatnagar Award (1975)

  • Padma Bhushan (1984)

  • Padma Vibhushan (2006)

  • Goyal Prize (1991)

  • INSA Aryabhata Medal (1992)

When such personalities bid adieu to the world, it is a loss for science and the Indian society. He died in the year 2013.

The Sudden Loss

Obaid Siddiqi died in the year 2013 in a sudden accident. He had a lot of injuries which he could not bear. He was out for a walk near his residence when suddenly; a student knocked him down with his vehicle. He could not survive the injuries and bid adieu to the world. He could have contributed so much more!

Memorable Quotes by Obaid Siddiqi

“The interest of the new generation in such communication exhibits their desire to understand the political situation.”

“Pakistan and India have shared a history but both are individual identities. We need a competitive spirit instead of an air of enmity.”

Since the year 1947, there has been a sense of anger in people of both the countries. Even though they have a shared history but there are still bitter feelings towards each other. If you look at it closely, both the cultures are quite similar.

Why do we have enmity between the two countries? We share a history and we share a similar culture as well. Both the countries need to have a competitive spirit rather than enmity towards each other.

Obaid Siddiqi was one of the few scientists, whose work was highly appreciated by great personalities like Shri Manmohar Singh.

“Siddiqi was among that crop of scientists who helped lay the foundation of our country’s scientific research effort,” – Shri Manmohan Singh

Obaid Siddiqi was also known as the Father of Modern Indian Biology. He started a wave which motivated other scientists to come up with their vision and experiments.

Even though Obaid Siddiqi is no more, he has made his contributions to the Indian society and science. He will be remembered for his scientific brilliance and humble nature.


Written By: Anshu Choudhary


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