• Miss Imsong: Choosing satire as activism

    Toko Anu

    October 7, 2019

    Image credit: Hindustan Times

    Humour can be therapeutic. It can help people deal with the not-so pleasant situations in life. Merenla Imsong; also known as Miss Imsong does exactly that through her videos on YouTube. Gravitating towards comedy to talk about the socio-cultural problems of our society, Miss Imsong is making hits on the internet with over 25K followers on YouTube (as of 2019). From mimicking politicians of Nagaland to playing the role of a Kohima diva, her short, simple and hilarious videos testify reality with comedy.

     

    Presumptious chinky assumes the North Indian way

    Ask people from Northeast and they will tell you at least one incident of racial discrimination and cultural stereotype. Fighting against this discrimination in the most satirical way, Miss Imsong turns the table on the mainland Indians in her video “Presumptuous chinky assumes the North Indian way”. Asking stereotypical questions such as “Do you know my friend Pinki Singh from North West India? Do all North Indians speak Sanskrit at home? and stating “You all look alike; it’s the eyes,” in the video, she stresses on the racial comments people from Northeast have to hear in mainland India due to a cultural ignorance about the Northeastern region. The video went viral within a week with over 127K views on YouTube. “The response has been overwhelming. I thought it would be funny to make a video reversing certain situations,” she said in an interview with the Hindustan Times.

     

      “Senti goes for job interview”

    Northeast India may have an unemployment crisis but it is not a cause of concern if you are the offspring of a politician or any big shot; and her video titled “Senti goes for job interview” shows just that. The video is a satirical representation of corruption and unemployment in the government sector in the Northeast. In the 1 minute 27 second video, Senti is interviewed by an honest Nagaland Civil Service officer.  When asked for her resume, Senti calls her father who is a politician. “So I can’t even give my daughter a job in the government department I am heading?”, asks Senti’s father to the interviewer on the phone. On sensing the integrity of the interviewer, Senti’s father offers the officer a bribe of Rs.10 lakhs and a clerical job for the interviewer’s brother to change her mind. This video too was widely shared and comments like “This is happening right now in our state…..well done miss Imsong…..” show the positive response the video has received.

     

    How to nail an election in Nagaland

    Election in Nagaland is not just an expensive affair but also a contract between voters and aspiring representatives. “How to nail an election in Nagaland” is a spoof of the corrupt election practices in Nagaland. In this video, Miss Imsong gives free political advice to aspiring politicians. She lists important rules to be followed during the election. In order to know your voters, it is important for an aspiring politician to understand what the voters would prefer as bribe–money, alcohol, promises etc. She goes on to tell her viewers not to worry on budgeting for elections.  Once the election is won, the politicians can earn three times more. Holidaying in Switzerland, building resorts, etc. are some of the enticing perks. The video also talks about the prevalent “mistress” culture among politicians in the Naga society, viewing women empowerment through politics as an anti-Christ propaganda in the Christian dominated Naga society. 

    Miss Imsong’s use of humor as activism exposes hypocrisy and contradictions in our society. In doing so, they expose the discrimination, deceptions and sheer absurdities that are deeply engrained in so many of us. Her satirical videos serve as a coping mechanism for many of her viewers. By eliciting laughter in the midst of the corrupt socio-political environment, Miss Imsong’s comic videos on serious issues have proved to be liberating. 


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    Toko Anu is a member of the editorial collective of the Indian Writers Forum.

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