What is sedition, anyway? Here's how the New Oxford American Dictionary defines it: "conduct or speech inciting people to rebel against the authority of a state or monarch." Here's the preferred tool of the Web era, Wikipedia: "overt conduct, such as speech … that is deemed by the legal authority to tend toward insurrection against the established order. Sedition often includes subversion of a constitution and incitement of discontent (or resistance) to lawful authority. [It does not] consist, in more representative democracies, of peaceful protest against a government."
So am I going to get into a discussion of whether Arundhati Roy's words fit these definitions? Not on your life. Because it matters not a jot. Those who dislike the lady and what she says will believe she has been seditious. Others will not. Getting into the middle of that only detracts from the issue, which really should be what sedition means to us. (There are other issues too, but I'll stick to this one for now).
(Aside: I will, however, draw attention to that last sentence: peaceful protest against a government is not sedition. Even Ms Roy's greatest detractors will be hard put to suggest that, in what she did that has so upset them, she was violent and destructive. End Aside).
There is no country without dissent. This applies if you had two people in a country, it applies a billion times over if you have a billion people in a country. This is not, despite all you may have been led to believe, an esoteric liberal or leftist thing to say. Instead, it is just the way human beings are. You'll have an impossible time getting two people to agree on everything around them; with a billion, there's no way to even make sense of such an attempt. A country, by definition, is crammed with every shade of opinion. A country, by definition, is crammed with opinions you (and/or I) won't like.
Put it another way: a country where you agree with everyone around you is not a country. I'm hard put to even imagine such a place: perhaps some lala noddy land filled with inanimate toys might qualify.
Therefore the thing about living in this country is this: you have to get used to the fact that fellow-citizens have dramatically different points of view.
For example, I have to get used to the idea that some of my fellow-citizens actually believe the 1000+ Indians slaughtered across Gujarat in 2002 "had it coming" to them, that they "had to be taught a lesson". I hate it that people have such nauseating beliefs, but it is undeniable that many do.
For example, I have to get used to the idea that some people have spent over a quarter-century snuffing out any attempt to punish those who massacred 3000 Indians in Delhi in 1984. It burns me up that there are people as dedicated to destroying justice as this, but it is undeniable that they are out there.
For example, I have to get used to the idea that some people actually are afraid enough of words in a novel that they want it banned. It is simultaneously laughable and tragic that they are this insecure, but they too are out there. As are those who bow and scrape before them.
So I urge you too to get used to the idea that there are people who disagree profoundly with things you believe and hold dear.
Yes, that includes Kashmir. Get used to it.
And that there exist those differing views, that they are expressed, does not by any means equate to sedition. It is instead the definition of being Indian. Get used to that too.