Chhaya, Mayank

views updated

Chhaya, Mayank


Born in India; immigrated to the United States, 1998; married; wife's name Kesumi; children: Jashn, Hayaa. Education: Graduate degrees in chemistry and physics.


Home—Naperville, IL.


Journalist. Reporter for Free Press Journal, Bombay, India, Associated Press, and India Abroad, New York, NY; Indo-Asian News Service, New Delhi, India, commentator on South Asian affairs; maintains Subcontinent: A Daily Journal of South Asia. Worked for publications in CA and NY.


Sam Pitroda: A Biography, Konark Publishers (Delhi, India), 1992.

The Dalai Lama: Man, Monk, and Mystic, Doubleday (New York, NY), 2007.


Mayank Chhaya was born in India, and as a journalist, he covered South Asian affairs for a number of newspapers and wire services. It was in 1996, while he was writing an article on Tibetan exiles, that he first met the fourteenth Dalai Lama, who has spent nearly half a century in exile in India and who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. While interviewing him, Chhaya expressed an interest in writing his biography, but it wasn't until after he sent copies of the finished article to him, however, that his subject agreed to the project.

The Dalai Lama: Man, Monk, and Mystic is the only authorized biography of the holy man written by a non-Buddhist author. Kathy Millen noted in the Naperville Sun: "To further flesh out the story, Chhaya spent two years interviewing hundreds of people with connections to his subject, including Robert Thurman, a foremost scholar of Tibetan Buddhism; China scholar Orville Schell, dean of the Berkeley School of Journalism; actor and Buddhism devotee Richard Gere; British actor and travel host Michael Palin; the Dalai Lama's elder brother Thubten Jigme Norbu; and scores of Tibetans, scholars and diplomats."

Chhaya also stayed in contact with the Dalai Lama, whose birth name is Llamo Thondup and who was identified as the reincarnation of Tibet's spiritual leader when he was three years old. In reviewing the biography for the Calcutta Telegraph Online, Priyanka Jhala wrote: "These numerous encounters went far in unravelling some of those mysteries. Chhaya was able to ask the Dalai Lama some difficult questions, and his responses, and, more importantly, the way in which they were delivered, simplifies some of the seeming complexities surrounding the man." India Currents Online reviewer Rajesh C. Oza wrote: "Chhaya successfully interweaves many such quotes from the Dalai Lama to keep the narrative moving and make his subject's humanity accessible." Chhaya also studies the Tibet-China conflict and notes that the Dalai Lama and his followers are no closer to a resolution than they were in 1950, when China annexed Tibet and when, at age fifteen, the Dalai Lama assumed authority as secular leader.

Chhaya is also the author of Sam Pitroda: A Biography, a study of the man who led the technological revolution in India during the 1980s.



Booklist, January 1, 2007, Deborah Donovan, review of The Dalai Lama: Man, Monk, and Mystic, p. 25.

Library Journal, January 1, 2007, James R. Kuhlman, review of The Dalai Lama, p. 114.

Naperville Sun, April 5, 2007, Kathy Millen, review of The Dalai Lama.

Publishers Weekly, November 13, 2006, review of The Dalai Lama, p. 52.


Buddhist Channel, (April 5, 2007), Kathy Millen, review of The Dalai Lama (from the Naperville Sun).

Calcutta Telegraph Online, (May 11, 2007), Priyanka Jhala, review of The Dalai Lama.

Deccan Herald Online, (June 10, 2007), Melanie P. Kumar, review of The Dalai Lama.

Hindustan Times Online, (February 23, 2007), Ashok Easwaran, review of The Dalai Lama.

India Currents Online, (May 21, 2007), Rajesh C. Oza, review of The Dalai Lama.

Subcontinent: A Daily Journal of South Asia, (August 8, 2007).