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

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My favourite Instagram trương mục 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 to 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 be someone else on social truyền thông media particularly to pursue deceptive sầu online romances)accounts run by the same person. This teenager, at some point, gottired and tried to fight this catfish, but ultimately retreated with a blachồng eye!

An absurd story, but somehow it managed khổng lồ strike a chord and resulted inmeme after meme – the usual.

The problem with a meme like this, which uses the photos of ordinary people, và 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 Varanađê mê, who became "Sanjay" in the memes, & the elderly man who catfishes hyên — "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 lớn Storypick, Sudhanshu said, “He is not into memes. His friends told me that he is not one to have sầu enemies. The whole family is shocked as to lớn why someone would vày such a thing lớn Durgesh. But it’s heart-breaking to see my brother like this. I was the first one to inkhung hyên about all this. And the first thing which I heard from him was, ‘Maine kisi mê ka kya bigada he, mere saath aisa kyu ho raha he? (What have sầu I ever done to anyone, why is this happening khổng lồ me?)’”

The problem

Of the hundreds of thousands of regularly evolving and 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 & distortions of how the West sees Indians. In these memes, Indians are always sexually deprived and depraved, and, 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 mạng internet, Indians are no longer snake-charmers, elephant-riders và black-magic-savvy. This new age orientalism has turned all Indians inkhổng lồ creeps with a bad comm& 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 khổng lồ sell Americans AT&T plans.

The problem of perception, sadly, is not limited khổng lồ the West. The privileged Indian too laughs at this orientadanh mục 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 và vegana” và the racially offensive sầu meme born in 4chan called “Pajeet/poo in the loo/designated shitting streets”.

For Durgesh & his father Sanjay, this bad meme may just be a bad episode thatwill be overin a few weeks at most – memes vị have sầu 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 và racial privilege.

Is this really the best we can do?

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