Meme Culture in India- History, Importance & Famous Memes

Meme culture has escalated so quickly in India that it holds the power of changing perception among people. This talent can influence people expeditiously. It is a new visual tool for the digital era in India. Everybody who surfs through the internet is aware and enjoys scrolling through memes on several social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, etc.

Meme Culture in India- History

That would be the reaction anybody would draw upon their face if they find anybody who’s unaware of the term.

Memes target everybody, even the ones who didn’t intend to become meme material. Creating a meme isn’t simple, it takes a lot of creativity and humorous mind in order to form such things that everybody perceives as funny and meaningful.

What is a Meme?

A meme is a post embellished with text that endures funny statements or emotions to establish cultural transmissions. It is a concept that hijacks the original idea altered by human creativity.

As social media has captured a reach of millions of people, there came a rise in another digital revolution which was called ‘memes’. Memes involve several types of it, it can be dark, deep, reaction-based, political statements turned funny, and many more. Flooded over your screen every day, they are responsible for bringing in a humorous trail.

Memes can be considered as the fuel that social media runs on, without it, social media serves no fun. They are the backbone of it, Memes are created over celebrities, politicians, etc. It got introduced as a concept that hijacks the original idea altered by human creativity.

The dominant part of the present memes that are primarily circulated on social media is the edited photographs approached by every citizen in an attempt to create a greater impact on the users of social media.

History of Meme

The term meme was introduced by the biologist Richard Dawkins in his book- The Selfish Gene (1976) to describe gene-like infectious units of culture that spread from person to person by copying or imitation. The history and evolution of the ever-growing phenomenon of memes have been overlooked by academics as of yet. The meme was initially described as anything that can spread around the internet involving different kinds of content, there was no specific genre to it.

One of the earliest Internet memes was the emoticon as described by Davidson. It included the “sideways smiley face” that was formed using punctuation marks. It was created on 19 September 1982 by Scott E Fahlman.

He suggested this in order to depict the emotion with the exchange of dialogues. For example, if the statement is funny on one side, they shall add 🙂 or 😉 along with the sentence so as to depict their real emotion.

This suggestion got escalated quickly among the crowd and soon became a meme. These emoticons also evolved with new emoticons being introduced such as xD, =), :D. Now they are nowhere to be seen.

The official meme culture travelled through the west in India and new advancements over the Internet has made meme the primary source of popularity. The evolution began in the early 2000s when social media networks opened the way for user-generated content that gave birth to memes made over Rajnikanth vs CID Jokes and Meme Mandir among others.

Importance of a Meme

Meme Culture in India- History

The meme can also be described as a vehicle for a joke, the emoticons were the primary example for expressing emotions and certain non-verbal conversational cues in a mechanism where visual and audio channels are absent.

According to renowned researchers namely Johnson, Knobel and Lankshear, Jones and Schieffelin, Bennett, and Burgess, they treated a meme as a prism for understanding certain aspects of contemporary culture without embracing the whole set of implications and meanings booked to it over the years.

It should be advised that the memes should be considered as a communication-oriented perspective. They are powerful tools in shaping and changing public opinion immensely that have become an important part of political communication today at a grassroots level.

They also hold the power of influencing election results. They are extremely efficient in disseminating information at primary level. Their popularity is used not to inform but to instigate. Memes use humour and irony to diffuse uncomfortable situations.

For Example, A Storm Area51 meme might instigate someone who does not believe that there exist aliens but for others, it might be another angle to conspiracy.

Meme makers in India in recent times were served with a platform to put down their thoughts into words and a space for self-reflection which gets viral and leave an impact over people. Now, they evolved quite rapidly and all the internet users became adept of it and initiated with a whole new era.

People who were funny and sarcastic started to form such memes through their ordinary belongings. Memes have evolved and now treated as a powerful business tool, propaganda instrument, etc. The power of a meme is that they can act as a tool that can be passed down forself-expression, allowing people to extensively acknowledge their feelings. It can also be considered as an underrated strain of art.

India being the hub for Bollywood, there was no way that memes did not feature mocking of actors and imitating the iconic dialogues from iconic movies. In India, meme holds immense power especially if they are political. Several memes get circulated and for those few youngsters who spend most of their time on social media, it serves as a news spread platform that helps them become aware of their surroundings.

Anything that persists around the world, people find some way to cater to the issue humorously and spread information along with it being a joke. The most shared document or posts among social media are memes.

Iconic Memes That are Still Relevant

1. Distracted Boyfriend

Meme Culture in India- History

If we open Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, there is a high likely chance you will encounter this meme. This reaction of the guy got widely recognised and several content creators put in their material in this template. This meme is a classic commentary on distraction. In this, the girlfriend is offended by her boyfriend’s wandering eye. Now a myriad of memes was formed using this reaction, for example:

2. Drakeposting

Meme Culture in India- History

The man behind the ‘Kiki Challenge’ also featured into a popular meme that is still circulated among the crowd. The meme is used to express one’s like and dislike over a particular subject that involves two perspectives. The two images were taken from Drake’s video “Hotline Bling”. The memes that got generated after this got released were in huge number and spread like a disease.

3. Rage Comics

Meme Culture in India- History

These were few rage reactions that are black and white and are widely recognised as expressing the emotions through these emoticons. They are MS Paint drawn, and the most famous one was the clueless face and the FUUUU face. Like in this

4. Doge

Meme Culture in India- History

Doge was one of the most famous and influential animal memes that got viral in the last decade. The meme was a picture of Kabosu, a Shiba Inu Dog with a smirk that began with the use of ‘much wow’ face. The post was recreated by many people putting up their humorous content such as:

5. Condescending Willy Wonka

Meme Culture in India- History

Gene Wilder’s face from the Willy Wonka 1971 movie got viral in no time and several relatable memes were created by the creators. The face expression represents sarcasm towards a certain statement or opinion. It is the ‘please tell me more’ face with a sarcastic grin. Creators all around the world used this template and formed memes such as:

Indian Era of Digital Memes

Though we observed several international memes over the internet but Indian memes is where it really hits home, it is needless to mention that as long as you relate with the meme, it stays funny, once memes are relatable it holds zero importance. Hence Bollywood memes are the maximum circulated memes in India, apart from them there are others that got viral without having any uniqueness to it which shall be discussed. Let’s endure few examples of Indian Memes that gave rise to the era.

1. Gormint Aunty

Indian Era of Digital Memes

The very popular Gormint Aunty got viral due to her famous dialogue “Ye Bik Gayi Hai Gormint” which got widely circulated among the social media users and hundreds of memes were formed considering the one dialogue, such as:

Indian Era of Digital Memes

This was the interview which was taken where she mentioned her iconic dialogue, it was afull-fledged interview over her views and opinions of the government and her one dialogue went viral over the time. The memes made on this very particular dialogue featured relatable thoughts connecting them with the emotion with which she delivered the line. For Example:

2. Aise Kaise

Indian Era of Digital Memes

Aise Kaise is a meme that shows a still image of two dancers where both of their hands represent a reaction where they sarcastically mention their sarcastic questionning towards a statement or opinion formed on behalf of anybody. Have a look at one of the memes that got created using it.

3. Hello Friends, Chai Peelo

Indian Era of Digital Memes

This meme was constructed through a video of a woman who is filming herself while drinking tea and in turn ask the viewers to drink tea as well. Now, the way she asked and designated everybody as ‘Hello Friends, Chai Peelo’.

This received huge recognition and several memes were circulated over social media of her reaction. One such was:

4. Modi Ji doing Exercise

Indian Era of Digital Memes

This was another meme that got widely circulated expressing different reaction based on the picture. It was originated through a picture posted by The Prime Minister Narendra Modi where he was seen doing exercise on a rock. That meme escalated quickly through related content getting posted over the social media. Have a look.

5. Our Business is Our Business

This was a Bollywood Meme that received huge publicity due to her illogical dialogue recited by an actress Daisy Shah in a flop movie Race 3 starring Salman Khan, her statement goes like ‘Our Business is our Business, None of your Business’. This was funny in her own self after which it got targeted by the fellow creators. The meme went viral and one such hilarious meme was:

6. Hera Pheri

Indian Era of Digital Memes

Hera Pheri is one of the funniest movies of Bollywood that none other Bollywood film has beaten. The iconic dialogues are circulated even now over social media. The three characters of the film acquired huge publicity even though it’s been more than a decade that movie got released. One such meme based on the movie is:


With the gradually increasing number of smartphone users, the meme culture seems to be losing its harmless and light humour value. It can be observed that now memes that are circulated involve dark humour and untraceable digital revenge that spreads in a drop of a dime and causes irreversible damage to the targeted people mainly celebrities.

The creator holds the power of changing opinions hence they can target whoever they feel fits the situation and draw publicity towards them. Celebrities are targeted immensely on a regular basis, even a petty reaction gets trolled by the creators and gets circulated hampering the image of the celebrity.

Experts have confirmed that unchecked use of memes could disturb the social fabric in India and crosses the line of harmless humour to detrimental mockery. The memes are shared in massive values and the easiness involved in generating a meme is high that makes young teenagers create memes mocking adults and bullying fellow juniors through circulating the memes in high number.

It is also observed that to earn profits and maximise engagement of the crowd on their page, they tend to spread fake news and rumours to attract the prospective audience. Hence memes when on one hand hold the power to bring positivity and humour in people’s lives, it also possesses the ability to spread negativity and derogatory memes on serious issues including rape, sexism, etc.


As you can observe the culture has evolved and so has the creativity within people, the creators are mostly youngsters who like to make fun of everything, it is a great time pass for us to surf through the internet and find these hilarious memes and share them among our friends, these creators have now made a career out of it. Few entertainment companies or famous youtube channels like to hire these people who formed their presence on the internet through memes.

Companies like scoop whoop, ok tested, are a few who deal in the entertainment industry and generate funny videos which require a lot of creativity, hence becoming a memer isn’t a bad thing and anybody can make a career out of it.

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Written by Bishakha Nihalani

Bishakha has a passion for writing about clean beauty and wellness. She believes in the Indian Science of Ayurveda and including it in our daily lives through food and skincare.

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  1. Wow, what an amazing article on meme culture in India! I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the history, importance, and some famous memes that have made an impact in our country. It’s fascinating how memes have become such a significant part of our online culture, reflecting our thoughts, humor, and even our social issues. Kudos to the author for shedding light on this unique aspect of Indian internet culture. Keep up the great work! Looking forward to more insightful articles like this. Cheers! – Gary Ford

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