Obaid Siddiqi: Scientist and Intellectual

Sukant Khurana in Counter Currents:

Obaidsiddiqi.jpg.pagespeed.ce.gYYfLo3kr4It is very rare that individuals are institutions in themselves. Such individuals are genuine visionaries who start a wave, who create a school of thought and like a banyan tree keep extending inspiring branches through offshoots much beyond when they are gone. The late Obaid Siddiqi, who many rightly consider the father of modern Indian biology and the last of the giants of the South Asian science scene, was one such rare individual. While risking the shallow deification of the late protagonist of this article, I write this piece, hoping that a few people would understand that it is not the person but the vision that this is a personal tribute to and they would strive to pick up the torch where the last generation left it.

Obaid Siddiqi, who strove to transform the life sciences in South Asia recently died of a freak road accident. True to his dream of a peaceful, considerate, educated and scientific society, his family decided to not press charges on the young careless driver that hit him, as it would ruin his career and education.

My article is far from a perfect tribute to my first scientific mentor as it deals solely with my personal interactions with him in order to bring forth his ideas that continue to inspire me, instead of details of his tremendously long list of achievements or his interactions with hundreds of other very well accomplished students that continue to contribute to science and society world over. The greatest biologist that South Asian soil has sprung so far, Obaid Siddiqi, despised personal publicity and his motto was simply to just do your job quietly without worrying about the results.

More here.