Another Prominent Desi Author Has Immigration Issues

According to lit-blogger Beatrice (thanks to The Literary Saloon for the tip!) Pankaj Mishra recently got a taste of American immigration pareshaani when returning to the U.S. from South Asia. He was eventually allowed in, but not before being threatened with deportation:

Apparently I had a much easier time getting to the NYPL than Mishra did; we learned that just last week, Mishra had been coming back from a journalistic trip through Pakistan and Afghanistan when he was stopped at customs in JFK and, as he described it, "taken to a little cell where people who looked like me were sitting," where he was detained for several hours and threatened with deportation because an immigration official spotted "something on his computer" that made Mishra look suspect. Sounds like Ian McEwan got off easy compared to Mishra, who was clearly still rattled by the experience--and the blue-city New York audience was sympathetically anxious for him as well.

Now I can sort of see it if Ramachandra Guha, who is very well-known in India but less known abroad, gets the "something on my computer doesn't look right" treatment. And after all, he was just giving lectures at Oberlin and Berkeley -- are those even real colleges?

But Pankaj Mishra? I mean, come on, just Google the guy -- you get 35,000 hits! They guy has his name on seven books (counting the Naipaul Literary Occasions, and the edition of Kim for which he wrote the forward).

For all this talk about "Intelligence," I'm continually amazed by the evidence that USCIS officials are operating in its absence.