Mindy Kaling’s brother says pretending to be black got him into med school

Vijay Chokalingam isn't black, but he is the brother of Mindy Kaling, pictured -- and he'd like a book deal, please.

Vijay Chokalingam isn’t black, but he is the brother of Mindy Kaling, pictured -- and he’d like a book deal, please.

(Joe Scarnici / Getty Images)

Mindy Kaling’s brother Vijay Chokalingam says he got into med school in the late ‘90s by pretending to be black to take advantage of affirmative action -- which kind of sounds like something Dr. Mindy Lahiri’s younger brother Rishi might do on “The Mindy Project.”

Yeah, that’d be the Rishi who wrecked TV Mindy’s credit score and was employed as a weed dealer before TV Mindy found him another line of work.

Now Vijay wants to write a book about his med school application experience, if only someone would offer him a deal.


Um, did he mention the famous Mindy Kaling is his sister? Oh yeah, he did, on the “About” page of Almost Black, his website soliciting a book deal. She’s written a book too, he notes. A New York Times bestseller. But he says she told him his book would “bring shame” on the family. That is in the FAQ section of the website soliciting a book deal.

“She actually said, ‘This book will bring shame on our family.’ The rest of my family does not agree with the book. Still, they respect my right to make my own decisions with my career,” he writes.

But Kaling -- real name Vera Mindy Chokalingam -- appears not to have been a part of her big brother’s process at all.

Her rep said in a statement to Us Weekly on Monday that the 35-year-old actress has been estranged from her brother for years.

“She was not aware of his decision to apply to medical school under a different name and race,” the statement said.


Chokalingam says he “realized” during his junior year of college -- “After watching my better-qualified Indian-American friends get rejected from medical school” -- that he didn’t have the grades or test scores to get in. And he says he really wanted to be a doctor. And he thought the standards for other minorities would be “less stringent.”


So he decided to use his middle name Jojo as his first name, join a black students organization and say on his applications that he was African American.

“I shaved my head, trimmed my long Indian eyelashes, and applied to medical school as a black man,” Chokalingam said on a website promoting his book idea. “My change in appearance was so startling that my own fraternity brothers didn’t recognize me at first.”

He says he “likely” gained admission to med school because he fudged the race thing, and has posted his letter of acceptance from St. Louis University’s medical school and a transcript of the first of the two years he attended classes.

Of course, even a “twisted social experiment,” as he calls it, needs some controls before its results can be seen as valid, and there’s no indication that he ever represented himself as Indian American and was turned down.

He later was accepted into an MBA program at UCLA with his racial identity intact, he says, and since graduating in 2010 has been working as a professional resume writer and grad-school application consultant.

Pretty convenient that he has Mindy Kaling on his resume.

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