Over the past few years, there have been growing reports of the stifling of dissenting voices in India. This disturbing trend is like “going back into a tunnelled vision,” according to noted filmmaker and author Saeed AkhtarMirza.

In a video for Karwan-e-Mohabbat, a journey made in 2017 by a team led by activist Harsh Mander through eight states to meet the families of the victims of hate violence, Mirza noted the diversity in terms of languages spoken in India. “Now that is my country! To me it’s poetry! And look what has happened to that,” he said.

Mirza also talked about the fear that has seeped into the popular discourse, but said he remains hopeful that there is still space for poetry and that people will uphold democracy.