Mehta’s best known work explored the history of modern India.
Prolific Indian American author Ved Mehta passed away at the age of 86 on January 9 at his Manhattan home. His wife, Linn Cary Mehta stated the cause was complications of Parkinson’s disease. Mehta who overcame blindness through his words is known as the 20th-century writer who introduced American readers to India.
Mehta was a staff writer at The New Yorker for 33 years. Associated with the magazine for over three decades, much of his celebrated works began as articles in its pages. He is considered as the 20th-century writer who introduced India to many Americans. His most popular work is the 12-volume autobiographical series Continents of Exile, which explored the turbulent and vast history of modern India.
Mehta was born in pre-partition Lahore in 1934 and lost his vision at the age of four due to cerebrospinal meningitis. However, he didn’t let his blindness stop him from flourishing through his literary skills. In an interview with The New York Times, Mehta recalled that his father Amolak Ram Mehta refused to believe that his loss was permanent. Mehta studied at Pomona College and Oxford University.
Mehta is the author of 27 books, a MacArthur Prize Fellow, and a member of the British Royal Society of Literature. He also taught writing at several colleges and universities. Besides his famous autobiography, his other prominent work include Face to Face (1957), Walking the Indian Streets (1960), Portrait of India (1970), and Mahatma Gandhi and His Apostles (1977).
Mehta lived in New York, and is survived by his wife Linn Carey and children Natasha and Alexandra.