Richard Dawkins coined the word "meme" in his 1976 bestseller The Selfish Gene. At the time, he probably did not know that some day his coinage will become a part of daily vocabulary across the globe.
If you aren't in sync with Internet culture, memes refer to jokes, urban legends, videos, funny pictures or contagious music that go viral online, becoming a part of the millennial consciousness. Memes hugely influence modern language and culture.
And we Indians have pretty much nailed it.
Here's a list of those who gave us some crackling desi memes in 2016.
1. Baba Ramdev.
The India Today newsweekly showed Ramdev in a yoga posture that would best be described as bending over and facing the camera with his head upside down and between his legs. Yes, exactly.
As soon as the magazine tweeted out its cover photo, Twitter went into disbelief.
Baba Ramdev Leading Indian Airforce... Now Indian Fighter Plane are More Reliable. pic.twitter.com/K4fokfjhCx— Aamir Khan (@wise9211) July 14, 2016
Baba Ramdev launches himself into outer space. pic.twitter.com/pe4ErYgNq9— Gautam Trivedi (@Gotham3) July 14, 2016
After the flag waving on moon, Ramdev's anti-gravity beard is the next big conspiracy theory in science fiction. pic.twitter.com/yRxqhj7oRe— Shirish Kunder (@ShirishKunder) July 14, 2016
2. Tiger Shroff.
Shroff junior is known for his flexible body and for mastering martial art forms such as Kalaripayattu, Modern Kung fu, Krav Maga and Silat.
All that hard work and training seems to be paying off for the budding star and, in all innocence, Shroff shared a photo of his youthful and agile self on his official Facebook account.
Yep. He became a meme.
In Local Train— Donald SWAMY (@HaramySwamy) October 12, 2016
1 ~ Normal people
2 ~ Tiger Shroff pic.twitter.com/btMA8EJX92
Man - Bhaisaab time kya ho raha hai ???— Arjun (@zoomphatak) October 10, 2016
Tiger Shroff - 6 bajh rahe hai pic.twitter.com/44Pizb2vtR
3. Chetan Bhagat.
Bhagat tweeted a photo of his novel, One Indian Girl, resting on a ledge in the sunny and scenic Greek islands of Mykonos and solicited more pretty pictures of his book set against scenic backdrops.
Trust trollers to be at hand to expand the meaning of 'camera skills' to include 'photoshopping skills'.
4. Sonam Gupta Bewafa Hai.
Amidst the currency ban chaos and long waits outside banks and ATMs, Twitter managed to find humour and make 'Sonam Gupta Bewafa Hai' top-trending on all social media channels.
I hate you bewafa sonam pic.twitter.com/jnZIGXI3oW— Funny Deol (@Funny_Deol) January 4, 2016
PROUD MOMENT FOR INDIA:— Finger of India (@IndiaFinger) November 14, 2016
Queen of England declares Sonam Gupta as "International Bewafa" ! pic.twitter.com/QWNxcyUS97
5. Arvind Kejriwal.
When Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal met fishermen in Goa, he was given a traditional welcome by the community and made to wear a tiara made out of flowers.
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal meets family members of fishermen community in Panaji (Goa) pic.twitter.com/eqXrPY69S5— ANI (@ANI_news) June 28, 2016
Adorned in the traditional Goan headgear, Kejriwal's photo spread like wildfire on social media and he became a meme in no time.
Mankinds angel. pic.twitter.com/XeOLaXg6zb— Rashika (@iSocioPathetic) June 28, 2016
He took snapchat's Tiara filter too seriously 😂 pic.twitter.com/CReLHSVMsi— Godman Chikna (@Madan_Chikna) June 28, 2016
NDTV came prepared to protect their microphone in case someone waters those plants mid-interview pic.twitter.com/IoxMVsHuzV— St_Hill (@St_Hill) June 28, 2016
Kejriwal turned into a meme. Again.
On 1 May, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched e-boats and e-rickshaws in his Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi and took rides in both. He also distributed 1000 e-rickshaws among beneficiaries.
However, the Delhi CM was a bit miffed with the Reliance and Ola sponsor logos on the rickshaw that Modi rode in and took a dig at the PM.
Is this an ad for OLA and Reliance? pic.twitter.com/UbZMxF6PDM— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) May 2, 2016
He didn't know that his banter would backfire on him.
In a move aimed at curbing black money and corruption, the government scrapped old ₹500 and ₹1,000 currency notes.
The social media was, as always, quick to make jokes.
Only 90's kid will remember this Rs 500 and Rs 1000 pic.twitter.com/ixTYPZV8R7— I RUN MAN (@BhaagteRaho) November 8, 2016
Ugh. Already? pic.twitter.com/d7H5jbptw9— Raju (@rajupp) November 8, 2016
Acha chalta hun, duaaon mein yaad rakhna. !! pic.twitter.com/FR22YIsYKc— Sachin Chaurasia (@i5achin) November 8, 2016
Instead of declaring 500 & 1000 Rs notes illegal, Govt should replace Mahatma Gandhi's photo with Rahul Gandhi's to change valuation to 0.— The Viral Fever (@TheViralFever) November 8, 2016
Indians, right now. pic.twitter.com/JkuRBcF7wY— Trendulkar (@Trendulkar) November 8, 2016
We have got two words for you: Paytm Karo.— Paytm (@Paytm) November 8, 2016
7. Aamir Khan.
Bollywood perfectionist Aamir Khan displayed his dedication and commitment yet again, showing to the world that he could go through extreme body transformation just for his character in a movie.
For his role in Dangal, 51-year-old Khan transformed from a 97-kilo weighing retired wrestler to a six-pack sporting sportsperson.
While the transformation inspired many of us to set our own fitness goals, social media did what it does best, grabbing the opportunity to turn Khan's photographs into an Internet meme.
Friend: bhai tera pet nikal raha hai.— zakir khan (@Zakirism) November 29, 2016
Me: nahi bhai yeh mera #dangal look hai.
Government Job v/s Corporate Job. pic.twitter.com/ErPsKgBRiX— Kaabira. (@KaabiraSpeaking) November 29, 2016
1. Toned— Mohit Ghune (@Ghunegaar) November 29, 2016
2. तोंद pic.twitter.com/zoVtLiPlKF
8. Pineapple Pen.
This song is about PPAP, which stands for 'Pen Pineapple Apple Pen' and features Piko-Taro, a character created by Japanese comedian Daimaou Kosaka.
The infectious song has had 37 million views on YouTube.
And it trended globally. We Indians weren't far behind in catching up.
9. Shilpa Shetty.
Sometime back, it was announced that the English literature syllabus in ICSE schools will include Harry Potter, Agatha Christie's novels, Tolkein's The Hobbit and Satyajit Ray's Feluda.
In an interview, actress Shilpa Shetty wholeheartedly supported the move, saying,
"Books like Lord Of The Rings (LOTR) and Harry Potter as part of the syllabus is a great move because it cultivates imagination and creativity at a young age. They should include books like Little Women, as it encourages respect towards women at a young age. Even a book like Animal Farm can teach the little ones to love and care for animals."
While Shetty's heart was in the right place when she made the comment, the fact that she held up Animal Farm -- a 1945 dystopian novella by George Orwell, counted as among the finest examples of political satire -- an example of children's literature, was enough for Twitter hounds to smell blood.