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Ved Parkash Mehta was born on March 21, 1934, to a well-educated Hindu couple in Lahore, British India. At the age of three or four, he lost his sight due to a condition called cerebrospinal meningitis; of course that means he has lived most of his life as a blind man.
The educational options for a young blind student were quite limited at this time, so Mehta's father sent him to a school in Bombay called Dadar School for the Blind, more than a thousand miles away from his home and family.
He attended four colleges, including Oxford and Harvard, and has lived in a Western culture since he was fifteen. He became an American citizen in 1979, and had been writing and publishing books (24 of them) since he was 22.
He was once a staff writer for the New Yorker but was fired because of
his misogynist attitude toward his assistants and writings that were frequently regarded as dull and self-indulgent.
Much of his work is autobiographical, and his interesting life has certainly given him many things about which to write. Common topics for him include his blindness as well as his unique perspectives on America, Britain, and India. He lived in the urban center of Bombay but would routinely go home to his more rural home, providing him an interesting perspective on the differences between these two Indian cultures. He was very well educated and enjoyed success in many academic and philosophic circles, as well. Of course his interactions with all three cultures and all that entails--political, religious, and societal issues of all kinds--as well as his physical disabilities have allowed him to write with experience.
His first published book was entitled Face to Face, and it related the story of his life with his family, his experiences as a blind person, and his family's struggles when they had to flee their home and country when it became the Muslim nation of Pakistan. Mehta's most autobiographical work is The Stolen Light, an ongoing biography which he worked on intermittently since he was in his twenties. He writes articles as well as short stories and novels.
Mehta is married to Linn Cary Mehta (who is, interestingly, related to the literary figure James Fenimore Cooper).
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