If you are a fan of memes, & are fairly active on social truyền thông, chances are you have sầu come across a series of Instagram screenshots featuring Sanjay, a teenager and Durgesh,an elderly man,in the last couple of days. Without the absurd and dark captions— which turned their pictures inkhổng lồ a popular meme — theirphotosdon’t mean much.

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My favourite Instagram tài khoản pic.twitter.com/r1bFklRmDx

— Yugi"hoe (
pbthegrea) October 26, 2017

F*CKING durgesh has done it again pic.twitter.com/qogsTu8oN0

— Wolf - FUT Trader (
WolfOfFUTStreet) October 28, 2017

Someone – perhaps we shall never find out who, thanks khổng lồ anonymity on the internet – created a kind of story with these Instagram screenshots. It was the tale of a teenager who would keep on falling for the catfishing (where one pretends to lớn be someone else on social truyền thông particularly to lớn pursue deceptive online romances)accounts run by the same person. This teenager, at some point, gottired & tried to fight this catfish, but ultimately retreated with a blaông xã eye!

An absurd story, but somehow it managed to strike a chord và resulted inmeme after meme – the usual.

The problem with a meme lượt thích this, which uses the photos of ordinary people, and not a celebrity, a sportsperson, a politician or a fictional character, is that the person being meme’d is likely lớn chance upon these images. This is where this absurd meme took a dark turn.

On October 28, Sudhanshu Pandey, a student from Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh posted the other side of this story on his Facebook tài khoản. Heclaims he is the brother of Durgesh, a 16-year-old student from Varanasay đắm, who became "Sanjay" in the memes, and the elderly man who catfishes hyên ổn — "Durgesh" in the memes — is his 51-year-old father Sanjay, supposedly a government officialwho hasundergone two brain surgeries. Sudhanshusays that the elderly manis physically disabled.

Speaking to Storypick, Sudhanshu said, “He is not inlớn memes. His friends told me that he is not one khổng lồ have enemies. The whole family is shocked as to lớn why someone would vày such a thing khổng lồ Durgesh. But it’s heart-breaking lớn see my brother like this. I was the first one to inform hyên about all this. And the first thing which I heard from hyên was, ‘Maine kiđam mê ka kya bigadomain authority he, mere saath aisa kyu ho raha he? (What have I ever done to anyone, why is this happening to me?)’”

The problem

Of the hundreds of thousands of regularly evolving & forever changing memes, there are some telltale problematic consistencies. Some memes are funny only because of how orientalism plays out: for instance, they aregross exaggerations và distortions of how the West sees Indians. In these memes, Indians are always sexually deprived và depraved, và, of course, they struggle with English.

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The subreddit called “Indian People Facebook” is a manifestation of these two ideas. Most of the photos you find onit are either badly phtoshopped images of Indian teens with generic “deep” one-liners written in nauseatingly colourful WordArt or screenshots of conversations, most likely what you would find in the “Others” thư mục of your Facebook messenger.

Can Indian men be creepy? Yes. Can Indians have sầu badly photoshopped photos with tacky captions? Yes. Is that what every Indian is? No.

In the age of the internet, Indians are no longer snake-charmers, elephant-riders và black-magic-savvy. This new age orientalism has turned all Indians into creeps with a bad command over the English language – which is ironic, given how another raging racial stereotype (with some truth) for Indians is how they are all call-centre employees trying to sell Americans AT&T plans.

The problem of perception, sadly, is not limited to lớn the West. The privileged Indian too laughs at this orientamenu humour. It may be urban elitism, class privilege or just plain ignorance, but thousands of Indians have sầu been happily complicit in the spread of memes like “bobs and vegana” & the racially offensive meme born in 4chan called “Pajeet/poo in the loo/designated shitting streets”.

For Durgesh và his father Sanjay, this bad meme may just be a bad episode thatwill be overin a few weeks at most – memes bởi vì have a short lifespan. But for all of us, it should be a reminder of the toxic culture of humour that is a result of both class and racial privilege.

Is this really the best we can do?

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