Love making fun of Meera's English? Zarnish Khan wants you to stop being so shallow

Love making fun of Meera's English? Zarnish Khan wants you to stop being so shallow

The British might have left us, but their language still reigns supreme in the minds of those hell-bent on bullying the actor.
15 Oct, 2021

Lollywood actor Meera is haunted by the greatest ghost of our colonial past — the English language and how deeply it has embedded itself in our minds as a marker of success and intelligence. She's often the victim of trolls who make fun of her skills as an English speaker, a pastime that ultimately comes from the false perception that speaking the foreign language somehow makes you elite and more sophisticated than others and actor Zarnish Khan is not okay with this at all.

Meera has spoken English in the public eye from time to time, and her proficiency in the foreign tongue isn't the same as a native speaker's. While in a perfect world that would not have been an issue (given that English is not her native language), we don't live in a perfect world and sadly trolls have plenty to say about how the actor speaks the language.

Memes and video clips mocking Meera's English surface on the internet from time to time, nitpicking the actor's accent and grammar. Regrettably, a large number of social media users often validate the mockery by becoming a part of it themselves. Actor Khan recently highlighted one such video on Instagram, snapping back at trolls who feel there's nothing wrong with making fun of someone's English speaking skills.

"Stop it already people!" she wrote on Instagram Stories. "I'm pretty sure all the people who make such memes or cut-out video clips are a bunch of idiots themselves who might not even know how to speak their own mother tongue properly, let alone speak fluent English. Just because you can hide behind the anonymity of the cyber network does not give you the right to make fun of other people," she said.

"Maybe she can't speak well in English but is that a crime? How well do you know this language? Are you ready for an open challenge? I bet you aren't!" she said.

Khan's parting request was to ask people to not be "so shallow".

Khan highlighted a good point — in Pakistan many people seem to see our indigenous languages as inferior and English as superior. English opens doors to gaining the best education in the land — almost all elite educational institutes use English as the language of instruction — and to be well-versed in English is often seen as a sign of being 'educated'.

In many ways, the trolls that pick apart Meera's English are fuelled by systems that put English and English speakers on a pedestal. They might also be fuelled by their own personal traumas of being made fun of for not speaking the language well enough in school, or perhaps not speaking it at all. In 2017, a private school in Sahiwal banned students from speaking Punjabi, declaring it a "foul language".

While these reasons may be valid, this still does not excuse anyone from bullying Meera for the way she speaks English. Bullying, for whatever reason, can have a devastating impact on an individual's mental health and the Lollywood actor is no stranger to this. She was admitted to a hospital for depression in April and became the butt of many jokes, even amongst celebrities such as Frieha Altaf. She recently spoke up about mental health and depression, highlighting how celebrities are "deprived of mental health" in the country and "the industry we are supposed to be stars of".

Ultimately, it is high time we all agree get over our colonial hangover when it comes to English. It's also about we give Meera, and many others, a break from the bullying and mockery. As Khan said, bas kardo.


M. Saeed Oct 15, 2021 02:27pm
English simply is a sure measure of elitism in Pakistan. Meera has an English complex and self esteem not diminished by any amount of fun making of her on it. She should be sympathised with, for her obvious lack of facility in English, which is now an essential prerequisite in the glamour industry.
Ifti Malik Oct 15, 2021 04:44pm
Zarnish Khan is 100% right
Shahla Oct 15, 2021 06:54pm
Well said
Ch. S Oct 15, 2021 07:27pm
I actually never felt Meera's English-speaking skills were below average. I think she can sometimes feel shy or confused with cameras around, but I would bet she'd be fluent when no one is looking.
Samsam Oct 15, 2021 08:46pm
No comment.
ST Oct 15, 2021 09:01pm
The thing is that English is a foreign language so should be learnt to speak, write and read properly. Mera should first learn ot, master it and then speak, else speak in Urdu.
NYS Oct 15, 2021 11:10pm
Infact spoken English is big dilemma for Asian countries most of the people are striving hard to achieve this vast international language apparatus even they can get hefty job in varied firms, educational institutions and valued ... Meera concerns are right recommendations to watch "Hindi Medium" 80% Pak and India have same demographics
Shubham Trivedi Oct 16, 2021 01:04am
Then why is Meera speaking English? What is wrong with Urdu. Haters are wrong but she herself has to get out of colonial mindset. She is speaking English to try and prove she is elite.
Tariq Oct 16, 2021 03:31am
"Are you ready for an open Challenge? , Zarnish Khan. Her challenge reminded me a drama clip "Janu Germen English Competition". We should find a Janu German for her.
Nasser Oct 16, 2021 04:30am
Pre- partition India has been ruled by foreigners for over a thousand years. Arabs, Persians, Afghans, Turks, Mongols, Greeks, the British are a few to mention. Thus Pakistanis and Indians have a slavish mentality. They like to be ruled whether physically or mentally. The Arabs, Persians, and the rest have a pride in their language and culture because they were largely rulers than the ruled. No wonder Pakistan and India languish at somewhere around the bottom of the human development index.
Pak Pashtun USA Oct 16, 2021 04:54am
No one should make fun of anyone's language issues but in this case Meera is making fun of herself by insisting on speaking in English again and again, when it's painfully obvious she is incapable of doing it.
Pak Pashtun USA Oct 16, 2021 04:55am
@M. Saeed it's not just in Pakistan alone it's all over the world... you are not educated unless you can communicate in English... That's the reality.
Maryam Siddique Oct 16, 2021 07:29am
I totally agree. But Meera is very brave and an ideal for all those who are trying.
Tadka Oct 16, 2021 09:09am
Zarnish Khan's 2 mins of for meera if u want to learn English you can as its only a language nothing more ...says Kangana Ranaut