‘Peo­ple think Nepal is part of the North­east’

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Front Page - henna.rakheja@htlive.com Henna Rakheja

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

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