Ramchandra Guha writes in his essay Feeling Left Out:
Thus, regionalism in India has come in three varieties – regionalism properly so called, parochialism, and secessionism. The odd, and possibly unique, thing about the Ulfa is that it has simultaneously partaken of all varieties of regionalism. That is why the common people of Assam have never turned completely against the militants, for the sentiment of being left out, of being discriminated against, is pervasive among them too. They may not agree with the Ulfa’s wish to forge a separate nation, or approve of its killings of migrant labourers, but they yet feel that their state has been treated with contempt and condescension by the rest of India. So too with Nagaland and Kashmir, the two other states where regionalism has been both violent as well as intractable, refusing to arrive at a compact with the Union of India.
Guha gives us glimpses of the history behind the regionalism in India and that’s why the article is a must-read.