Mindy Kaling's brother pretended to be black to get into medical school

Vijay Chokal-Ingram changed his name, hairstyle and even his eyelashes to boost his chances of being accepted

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The Independent Online

Mindy Kaling's brother has written a book seemingly explaining that he pretended to be black in order to get into medical school.

Vijay Chokal-Ingam scored a relatively middling 3.1 College Grade Point Average (which is taken from a scale of zero to four). Worried he wouldn't get into medical school as an Asian man, he decided his odds would be improved if he presented himself as African-American.

In his book The True Story of an Indian American Who Got Into Medical School Pretending to be an African American, Chokal-Ingam describes his plan. "In my junior year of college, I realized that I didn’t have the grades or test scores to get into medical school, at least not as an Indian-American," he says on his website.

vijay chokal-ingram.JPG
Chokal-Ingram's explanation of how he tricked people into thinking he was black

"Still, I was determined to become a doctor and I knew that admission standards for certain minorities under affirmative action were, let’s say… less stringent?

"So, I shaved my head, trimmed my long Indian eyelashes, and applied to medical school as a black man. My change in appearance was so startling that my own fraternity brothers didn’t recognize me at first. 

"I even joined the Organization of Black Students and started using my embarrassing middle name that I had hidden from all of my friends since I was nine years old."


Chokal-Ingam says that he decided to start ticking the "black" box for race on his applications after seeing other students with Asian heritage and better grades than him struggle to get into medical school.  He was interviewed by prestigious colleges Harvard and Columbia, and got into St Louis University Medical School posing as "Jojo".

Kaling, who plays a doctor in her sitcom The Mindy Project, was worried his book would "bring shame on the family", Chokal-Ingam reportedly told the New York Post. He added: "I love my sister to death."

In his Twitter bio, Chokal-Ingam describes himself as Kaling's "brother/nemesis".

His stunt was met with mixed reactions online:

St Louis University told The Independent: "Mr. Chokalingam was accepted into the Saint Louis University School of Medicine in 1999. His MCAT scores and science grade point average met SLU’s criteria for admission at that time, and his race or ethnicity did not factor into his acceptance into the University."

A representative for Kaling told The Independent: “Mindy 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 Independent has contacted Chokal-Ingam to ascertain whether he also applied for the same colleges as "Vijay" in order to present a true comparison.