Meet Manoj, The Influencer Uniting Pakistanis & Indians Through Memes

By Sajeer Shaikh | 12 Aug, 2021

With the recent barrage of negative news permeating all our constructed barriers, it’s safe to assume that we’ve all been feeling hopeless, lost, or even anxious. At a time where we tap on our phone screens and engage with more distressing news, we also find ourselves engaging with numerous coping mechanisms. One of those coping mechanisms is our constant and undying engagement with the wondrous world of memes.

As of late, we’ve also seen many influencers slowly bridging the gap between cultures, finding threads of commonality.

We saw Pakistan and India briefly set aside all differences to unite over their shared love for a good meme. This manifested in the form of Dananeer Mobeen and her pawri

 

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A post shared by Dananeer | 🇵🇰🌻 (@dananeerr)

Furthermore, we saw Yashraj Mukhate take this a step further with his fun remix of the same

 

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A post shared by Yashraj Mukhate (@yashrajmukhate)

These two videos combined have a whopping 17 million views on Instagram (and counting).

To say that an effort is not being made by Gen Z and millennials would be untrue. Many utilize the unifying power of memes to create content for these audiences. For instance, YouTuber Tanmay Bhat has a whole category of videos dedicated to reacting to what Pakistanis are up to – whether that be TikTok, or hilarious conversations.

Amongst all this, one account that stands out, and seems to have dedicated its energy to uniting Indians and Pakistanis through its posts is that of Manoj Mehta, or @notmanoj on Instagram

 

 

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A post shared by @notmanoj

When asked about how the idea for this content bridge came about, Manoj shared the following in an exclusive interview with MangoBaaz:

“I think it was during the 2019 world cup when I first properly noticed how funny Pakistanis were. India was winning the game, and there were so many self-deprecating jokes by Pakistani cricket fans. Then, somewhere around this year (2021), one of my friends, Abrar, had shared some funny Pakistani uber chat, and I immediately thought everyone should be seeing this. It was when I saw Indians quoting things Pakistan says and relating to them, [that] I saw an opportunity to make this about solidarity.”

 

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A post shared by @notmanoj

Talking about the response this kind of content has garnered, Manoj sums it up as “wholesome”

“The comments section fully has my heart,” Manoj states. “Change the narratives and see how we are all beyond borders and we all inherently just want to be at peace.”

 

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A post shared by @notmanoj

“This content is more important than we think,” Manoj goes on to explain.

“Things that make you laugh, remain with you, which then helps [build] solidarity. It helps peace.” 

 

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A post shared by @notmanoj

Truly, the response to the content curated by Manoj has been refreshing.

From people finding similarities between the two cultures and the hilarious issues they face, to gaining perspective – the account has become a small hub for it all. Meme crossovers are common, too, and work just as wonderfully.

While Manoj jokes about uniting Pakistan and India through these posts, there’s something far deeper to accounts and efforts like these. In a world that is built on divisiveness, two nations that are otherwise viewed as bitter rivals can now share a laugh over memes.

In many ways, it’s a digital shift, and a welcome change in the existing narrative.

 

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A post shared by @notmanoj

At the end of it all, Manoj believes, like many others, that “things are just way easier if we get along.”

“We are fighting for the same things,” he states. “We are fighting for the bread – we are made to fight each other for the same bread, but there is enough bread to share.”

Conclusively, if memes are enough to simply create a sense of camaraderie through a shared laugh, perhaps this, indeed, is a great step in the right direction. While believing that memes are enough to overcome decades of conflict is perhaps a bit too naive, one can always glance upon the silver lining on the horizon, where memes become a part of the foundation of that change.

Have you checked out @notmanoj on Instagram yet? If you do, also check out @stonks.studios, his new creative venture. And let us know what you think about this in the comments.

 

Indians Watched Pakistani TikTok & Their Reactions Are HILARIOUS

 


Cover image via @notmanoj/Instagram

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