Gieve Patel was born in Bombay, and educated there at St Xavier's College and Grant Medical College. After working for two years ( 1969 –71 ) as a medical officer in rural Gujarat, he returned to Bombay where he now has his own clinic. Beginning in 1966 , the year in which his first book, Poems, appeared, he has held several exhibitions of his paintings, and in 1971 his first play, Princes, was produced. He has since written two others.

Patel's preoccupation is with the human body, which he views with objectivity, bemusement, and, at times, exasperation. ‘I am continuum with the century's skin’, he writes, and his poems explore both the body's and the world's vulnerability and resilience. Like Daruwalla and Jussawalla , Gieve Patel is a Parsi. This fact, together with the wryness and detachment of much of his work, is reflected in the title of one of his best-known poems, ‘The Ambiguous Fate of Gieve Patel, He Being Neither Muslim Nor Hindu in India’.

Patel's second collection of poems, How Do You Withstand, Body (Bombay, 1976 ), was followed by Mirrored, Mirroring (Madras, 1991 ).