Manjit Thakur / New Delhi
In the early eighties India sent its scientific mission to Antarctica, the snow covered continent. The deputy leader of this rather bold and important campaign was Hasan Naseem Siddiqui. The mission returned after establishing 'Dakshin Gangotri' center in Antarctica.
Siddiqui was a marine geologist who rose to become the director of the National Institute of Oceanography. He is known for his geologic studies in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea and was elected fellow of the Indian National Academy of Sciences, the Geological Society of India, the Association of Exploration Geophysicists and the National Academy of Sciences.
Siddiqui was awarded the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize, the highest science award in India in 1978, for his contributions to Earth, Atmosphere, Marine and Planetary Sciences. He was also given the Padma Shri in 1983.
Hasan Naseem Siddiqui was born on 20 July 1934 in Bijnor, Uttar Pradesh. He did his early studies from Adilabad, Bijnore, and after matriculating in 1949, joined the Osmania University for his intermediate studies. He completed his master’s degree in Geology from Aligarh Muslim University. The same year he joined the Geological Survey of India (GSI) where he worked for 17 years.
When the National Institute of Oceanography was established in 1973, he was posted at its Goa headquarters. Over a decade later Siddiqui rose to become its Director.
Hasan Naseem Siddiqui’s work was spread over the Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal and Antarctica. His work includes exploration of petroleum and minerals, development of infrastructure, discovery of poly-metallic nodules, the study of sediments, paleo-climatic studies and Antarctica expedition.
Siddiqui was associated with many oil projects; the most important one was Bombay High. Besides he has also played a key role in finding the Basain-Gujarat line, Butcher Island routes for ONGC and Mahanadi Delta survey for Oil India.
He has done surveyed for Marmagao, Visakhapatnam, Mangaluru and Karwar ports for the Port Trust of India. Siddiqui was the pioneer of the manganese nodule program in India. It was because of his program that India became one of the seven registered major investors of the International Seabed Authority of the United Nations, a global body. Also it was under his leadership that the first bottom sediment map of the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal was prepared that is now a guide for all future excavations.
Hassan Naseem Siddiqui also studied the coasts of Lakshadweed to understand the process of formation of Chagos-Lakshadweep Ridge.
Hasan Naseem Siddiqui was associated with various agencies of the Government of India, such as the Ocean Science and Technology Board and the National Council of Science Museums; was member of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics.
He died in 1986 after suffering two successive heart attacks