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Indian Social Media Vocabulary

Sickular, Bhakt, Khangress, AAPtard, Pappu, Presstitute: Political terms popular on Indian social media.
Samyak Lalit | April 18, 2016 (Last update: April 19, 2016)

Samyak Lalit is an Indian author and disability rights activist. He is the principal author and founder of projects like TechWelkin, WeCapable, Viklangta, Kavita Kosh among many others.

Do you know what is the meaning of AAPtard, Bhakt, Sickular and Namtard?

In 2013 supporters of various political parties in India began to heavily use social media to launch attacks on each other. Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP), Indian National Congress (INC) and the newly formed Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) were at the forefront of social media use. There were all sorts of lies and truths floating around in the form of images, memes, jokes and messages laced with political aims. This conundrum reached crescendo during the General Elections for Lok Sabha in 2014. Ever since a number of new terms have become part of the Indian political dictionary. Today we will take a look at the meanings of these terms.

Meaning of AAPtard

Coined by combining the short-form for Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and possibly the word retard, the term AAPtard is used to point to a person who supports the Aam Aadmi Party, its ideology and its way of functioning.

Meaning of Sickular

This terms has probably been coined by combining the words sick and secular. Sickular is often used to describe the pseudo-secular nature of a person or a political party. Mostly it is pointed at the Congress —a party which has been accused of minority appeasement in India.

Meaning of Bhakt

The word bhakt is Hindi for devotee. In the present context, this word is often used for the supporters of the BJP. The word is used with an undertone that the person is a blind supporter of the BJP, its ideology and its way of functioning. The word bhaktgan is used as a plural of bhakt.

Meaning of Namtard

Here Nam points to the current Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and this has been merged probably with the word retard. The critics of Mr. Modi use this term to describe his supporters.

Meaning of Namo

Namo is a short-form for NArendra MOdi, the Indian Prime Minister. The word namo in Hindi and Sanskrit is used for conveying reverence. As a result, the term is often used by the supporters of Mr. Modi to describe him as a revered figure in the Indian political arena.

Sickular, Bhakt, Khangress, AAPtard, Pappu, Presstitute: Political terms popular on Indian social media.

Political terms popular on Indian social media.

Meaning of Pappu

Pappu has been a popular nickname for boys in Hindi speaking areas. But lately, this term has been given a new connotation. In the present context, the word pappu is used to referred to a stupid guy. It is often used by the critics to refer to the Congress Vice President Mr. Rahul Gandhi.

Meaning of Feku

Feku is a word that is widely used by the critics of Mr. Narendra Modi. This word conveys belief of these critics that Mr. Modi speaks a lot but falls short on action. This word has been coined from a Hindi word fekna which means to throw something. So, in this context, Feku means someone who throws hollow promises at the people but does not deliver in reality.

Meaning of Coalgate

The word Coalgate is a pun on a brand of toothpaste. Coining of this term is also influenced by the Watergate Scandal. Coalgate refers to the coal mining scam which has been probed by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG). The CAG accused the Government of India, under the Prime Ministership of Dr. Manmohan Singh, for the scam.

Meaning of Puppet PM

This term is often used to refer to Dr. Manmohan Singh with a connotation that he was a powerless Prime Minister. During his tenure as PM, the real power was wielded by the Congress President Mrs. Sonia Gandhi.

Meaning of Ghar Wapsi

Ghar Wapasi literally means home coming. In the present context, the term refers to religious conversions. Vishwa Hindi Parishad (VHP) and Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) used this term to refer to the conversion of non-Hindus to Hinduism. These organizations claimed that they were converting Hindus who were earlier converted to other religions. Therefore, the organizations said that they were bringing the converted Hindus back into the folds of Hinduism —and thus the Ghar Wapasi.

Meaning of Award Wapsi

Coining of the term Award Wapasi possibly influenced by the term Ghar Wapsi. Award Wapsi literally means returning award. A number of eminent intellectuals returned their awards as a symbol of political protest against the government of Mr. Narendera Modi. Sahitya Academy was at the center of the Award Wapasi storm as several of the Sahitya Academy Award winners returned their awards. These included Nayantara Sahgal, Ashok Vajpeyi, Kashi Nath Singh, Ganesh Devy, Surjit Patar, Krishna Sobti, Uday Prakash, Nand Bhardwaj, Munawar Rana, GN Ranganatha Rao, Manglesh Dabral and Keki N. Daruwalla etc. The primary reason cited by these intellectuals was the “rising intolerance in India” under the government of Mr. Modi. Murder of Professor MM Kalburgi and the Dadri incident were among the cited examples of the said intolerance.

Meaning of Muffler Man

The terms muffler man refers to Mr. Arvind Kejriwal, the current Chief Minister of Delhi. Mr. Kejriwal often wraps a muffler around his neck during winters. This has become, in a way, part of his identity. When Mr. Kejriwal was trolled on social media because of his muffler, the Aam Aadmi Party retaliated by projecting Mr. Kejriwal as a superhero, the Muffler Man, who has come to cleanse the Indian politics. Posters of the Muffle Man were widely published on social media. These posters purportedly showed Mr. Kejriwal wearing a muffler and holding a broom in hand. Broom is the electoral symbol of the Aam Aadmi Party.

Meaning of Presstitute

This word has been made by combining press and prostitute. The word presstitute is used on social media to refer to the a media organization or an individual who claims to be unbiased but reports the news in a way so as to serve someone’s hidden purpose. The word presstitude is also sometimes used in stead of presstitute.

Connotation of the word presstitute is that the person/organization will become biased towards anyone who pays him more money. This word became popular in India when General VK Singh used it in April 2015.

Meaning of Khangress

The word Khangress is often used to refer to the Congress. The word has been possibly coined by using the words Khan and Congress. Khangress is used to convey an idea that the Congress indulges in minority appeasement.

Another possible meaning of Khangress points to the general belief that the Congress governments have been corrupt. Lot of scams happened during the Congress governments. In this context, the word Khangress is possibly coined by combining Hindi verbe Kha and the word Congress. The verb Kha literally means eating and it also conveys embezzlement.


3 responses to “Indian Social Media Vocabulary”

  1. Rajendra Gupta says:

    Excellent etymological analysis. Three comments.
    1. Coalgate is not a pun on Colgate toothpaste. It is an old method to name all scams after the Watergate scam in USA in the 1970s. We Indians are fond of copying every american thing, e.g. Bollywood named after Hollywood. Similarly, we have coalgate, cashgate, Radiagate etc. There are more than a hundred scams with “-gate” suffix.
    2. Khangress is invariably used to denounce the alleged Muslim appeasement policy of Congress; never for its role in corruption or KHA / KHANA (Hindi for eating / edible).
    3. In addition to sickular, there is Shekhular (Shekh + secular). This again is to denounce the alleged Muslim appeasement policy of various political parties and intellectuals.

  2. Avinash Padmane says:

    Nice article Lalit. Apart from technology it’s seen that your social awareness is also good. I was already familiar with some of the terms that you mentioned above. But you’ve given detailed information. Thank you once again.

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