What It Takes to Live with Chutia as Your Last Name

Culture

What It Takes to Live with Chutia as Your Last Name

The coronavirus pandemic has left a number of Indians without work, and with no means to find employment. However, for an Assamese woman, who was recently denied a job on an online government-run portal, the lockdown is the least of her problems.

Priyanka Chutia (pronounced Sutiya) , who holds a Masters degree in Agricultural Economics and Farm Management, was unable to apply for a job with the government-run National Seed Corporation Limited after repeated attempts, apparently because the software kept rejecting her last name.

The woman expressed her exasperation in a Facebook post, in which she says that her application was denied as the software asked her to use a “proper word” and not “slang” in place of the surname. While Chutia is generally considered a swear word in the rest of the country, it is the common last name of one of the oldest ethnic groups in Assam.

“I feel really sad and frustrated at times explaining people that I am not using slang but it’s a community where I belong,” she wrote in her post. “This is not the first time. Imagine yourself going for a presentation and the panel laughs at you at the introduction speech.”

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Priyanka says the issue was later resolved after she wrote to the company in question. She later took to Facebook because she wanted her fellow community members to raise awareness about the issues they face with their last name.

A number of social media users responded to this clarion call with an outpouring of support, as well as a heady debate over the origins of the name.

The company later clarified, according to a report in Guwahati-based The News Mill, that the glitch was a result of a flaw in coding and that they were working on fixing the issue. However, this is not the first time the issue has been raised by members of the Chutia community, with even social media giant Facebook coming in the line of fire.

If the last two weeks of flooding in Assam going by unnoticed wasn’t enough evidence, Priyanka’s Facebook post has proved once again that the rest of the country is blissfully unaware about the affairs of the Northeast.

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