‘People think Nepal is part of the Northeast’
If you are a North Indian, then can you play the sitar or do you speak Sanskrit at home? Wonder where these questions come from? The source is a video by 29-year-old Merenla Imsong, which has gone viral online.
An assistant designer and a part-time actor, this girl from Nagaland has taken the humorous route to pose some pertinent questions on the generalisation of all Northeastern people, especially in Delhi. Her video, titled Presumptuous Chinky Assumes the North Indian Way, tackles the North Indian way of looking at the ‘other’ and makes fun of North Indian names such as Pinki Singh — in the video, she tells the camera: “You look a lot like my friend Pinki Singh.”
In the video, she asks if Bihar is in Uttar Pradesh, to highlight how North Indians are confused about her region. “A lot of people think that Nepal is part of the Northeast. Sometimes, while having a chat with educated Indian people, when I tell them I’m from Nagaland, they say, ‘Tell me about your country.’”
What she has done in the video is based on situations that she herself faced, e.g. the presumption that just because she was from the Northeast, she would know X or Y from the Northeast.
Imsong, who studied in Hans Raj College, DU, says, “A lot of people [outside the college campus] would yell ‘Chinky’ at me. At first, I didn’t even know it was a racist term.” She adds, “I guess this is my way of taking my shoes off and saying, ‘Here, now you wear it so that you get to know what I feel!’”
Sometimes, in a chat with educated Indian people, I tell them I’m from Nagaland. They say, ‘Tell me about your country.’ MERENLA IMSONG
Merenla Imsong has based her satirical video on her experiences as a Northeastern girl in North India