I just wanted to say that because Elia's dad is Sikh, Elia is a Punjabi Indian, and not Gujarati. You did your research well, (The state of Gujarat and Punjab are near each other, though not neighbours) but if you want to be more on point, Elia is more likely to be Punjabi. There have been many riots between Hindus in Gujarat and Sikhs from Punjab or Rajasthan. It may not seem like much, but I think you should change the info in the Cast page. Sorry if I came off as rude😅😅 I love les normaux!
Hello there! I’m Aqssa, JJ’s friend. I’m Sindhi Pakistani (part of my family came there from the great migration so rly i trace back to Maharastra) and Bangladeshi. Since I’m desi and well versed in everything from the start of the Mughal’s rule to the present, and I consult JJ on a couple of stuff, she thought it was best for me to answer this ask based off my knowledge, cuz JJ’s still researching and doing a great job at it! First off, please don’t mistake my tone as an elitist one. I’m coming at this as honestly and as humbly as possible, and I just want to make sure any readers know that my knowledge of desi culture isn’t vague so you can trust what I want to say. My culture is very important to me!!
I know where you’re coming from in your inclinations to go to the majority of where the Sikh population is, and I’m aware of the tension between Sikh’s and Hindu’s, believe me!! JJ was going through the LN cast’s ethnicities with me and I had my slightly reservations for Elia being Sikh and from Gujarat, but then I figured, giving my own experiences as a later example, that giving Elia a Punjabi descent would be a little more probable, but his being Gujarati isn’t inaccurate.
See, like, i think I myself am a huge example!! I’m sure you know of the huge, huge, huge social tension between Bangladeshi’s and Pakistani’s, and my parents are each of those. But even more, my Bangladeshi mother lost a LOT of her family in the ‘71 war until they escaped to India, and when they came back her village was destroyed. And my father, a Pakistani, he and his family STRICTLY supported Bhutto’s command over the country and the People’s Party. My dad’s side of the family is heavily involved with politics and the army.
Now before anyone might think it: I’m not saying this to shove my importance as an example around!! Not at all!!!! I’m giving myself as an example that the most improbable circumstances doesn’t make it impossible. My parent’s marriage (not arranged, and 21 years later there’s still some tension between our families) was rocky but cooled the opinions of either side. We don’t wanna perpetuate a prejudice, knowing that the tides of India and Pakistan are shifting for the better (not a LOT, but still a slight amount of progress) than before. We want to make Elia a tiny step forward because we don’t wanna imply a lack of hope or that we as desi’s are close-minded in how we see people of our own race. I mean!! Have you seen the popularity of Bajrangi Bhaijan in Pakistan (Pakistan!!! we’re known for being *so obstinate*) lately? And the religious messages sent by PK?
And also, the majority population of Sikhs do live in Punjab so I get where you’re coming from. Like we automatically associate a Sikh with an Indian Punjabi, I know, but there is a tiny, tiny tiny population of Sikhs in Gujarat as well. I promise JJ didn’t look at a map of Indian provinces and just pointed to a place where Elia was chosen to be. I mean if she chose, like, Banglauru I woulda said something. But! There is a Sikh population in Gujarat there. And to deny that population by just saying that the majority of Sikhs are Punjabi so let’s make him Punjabi isn’t a great reason. Sikh Gujarati’s are a minority population and it’s a little odd, but LN wants to celebrate these rly acute minorities as have them celebrated as “normal”. Hence the title, Les Normaux! The representation of a hopeful couple who see past religious tension like Elia’s parents as well as the Sikhs in Gujarat is, I think, really important to how JJ wants to approach representation in all her art!