May sound suspiciously like moral policing, but it's a regimen student leaders like Zou seem more than happy to comply with. Wearied by the endless complaints of harassment and violence against them, Zou says it's time they changed their "tribal outlook" and integrated with the mainland. Zou blames his own leaders for corrupting the youth, introducing them to the high life and encouraging them to stick together and not socialise with the community they live in. "Our youth are not interested in building bridges with the people they live with. If you wear inappropriate clothes and don't speak Hindi even after living here for several years, what else do you expect? Unless you discipline yourself, how can the police protect you? Anywhere in the world, if you go around drunk when everyone else is sleeping, who will protect you?" However, such moralising is unlikely to go down well with the fiercely independent spirit of these young tribals. As a young BPO worker, Linda, asserts: "Whether my parents are here or not, it makes no difference to my lifestyle. Everybody knows what is right or wrong, we don't need anyone telling us." Linda has an unexpected supporter in sociologist Ashis Nandy. "Trying to break the stereotype by becoming different is of no use," says Nandy. "Most people in Delhi know nothing about Northeast culture. The only stereotype they have is that they are outsiders. Any foreign woman to them is fair game, and according to them the women are foreigners—lacking morality, used to sex and therefore a little more can't hurt."But that's why, Zou says, it's time that the people of the Northeast form their own lobby in Delhi. "You have the Bania lobby, the Punjabi lobby, the Jat lobby, the Bengali lobby, the south Indian lobby, the scheduled caste lobby and the Christian lobby. So why not a Northeastern lobby?"
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