Thursday, June 05, 2008

Goodbye friend: Sudha Shenoy 1943 - 2008.

It is with some surprise and much sadness that I report the death of Sudha Shenoy. Sudha was truly a scholar, a gentlewoman, and a friend. She had been battling cancer. The last she wrote me of her battle she said, “the bone cancer is responding very well to treatment & is contained. My specialist is very very pleased.” And while we stayed in touch she never mentioned the condition again and I guess I just assumed that things continued to go well.

So it was with some shock when I was reading Google news that I came across a mention of her death.

Sudha was born in 1943 in India. Her father, B.R. Shenoy, was a prominent economist and friend of F.A. Hayek’s. When I met Sudha she was teaching economic history at the University of Newcastle in Australia. We spent a good deal of time one day riding together through some beautiful countryside and just talking, becoming friends.

Sudha was a great advocate of the free market and didn’t spare the U.S. criticism for its foreign policy. Yet she was always a lady.

I will remember her kindness during times of trial and tribulation. She wrote me urgently: “What can I do? It’s terrible what politics can do. You have all my sympathy & support. Please let me know if there is anything I can do.” She wrote me a kind endorsement and was very supportive and now I feel unworthy.

It bothers me that after she told me things were going well that I let the matter drop. I feel as if I should have asked how she was doing far more specifically than I did in later communication. And I feel cheated because had I known that matters had become much more serious I would have been in touch more often. But Sudha never told me that things were going downhill and with e-mail communication only I just never knew.

Sudha was such a kind person and vibrant intellectual that I feel the world is poorer today because of her death. I know libertarianism is poorer. I know the economics profession is poorer and I know I am poorer.