John Gardner at Home

Memories from Tarun Khaitan

John: you were an excellent tutor. I vividly remember our tutorial discussions on topics in constitutional theory in your office in the aptly named Logic Lane. Your seminars on political theory taught me how to think like a scholar. When I became a junior academic, you were a kind, comforting, and inspiring mentor. You told me not to do what you did--that I was in danger of becoming a Jack-of-all-trades because of my eclectic interests, that the academy today values super-specialists. This was your only advice I did not take--I will be pleased to be half as good a scholar as you were, and eclecticism can't be all that bad if it was your chosen path. Eventually, we became friends. We sparred frequently on theorising discrimination law. We agreed on our politics, but rarely on its rationales. I will cherish the two hours we had together, almost exactly a year ago, in sunny Gold Coast, debating our approaches to discrimination law. I saw how excited you had become about the field, and it is very sad that your book on the topic will remain unwritten. Your intellectual honesty, your clarity of thought and communication, your warmth, generosity, and goodwill, and your insightfulness and acumen--I will remember you by trying to emulate your virtues.