Monday, January 11, 2021

US Needs to Promote Democracy At Home!

About a week before the world witnessed the storming of the US Capitol by an angry mob on January 6, 2020, the US Congress allocated $15 million for "democracy programs" in Pakistan as part of its latest Coronavirus Relief Bill. Should charity start at home? Should America prioritize democracy at home? With 64% of Republicans supporting Trump's false claim of "stolen election", has pro-Trump extremism gone mainstream in GOP? How to deal with the fervent believers in QAnon conspiracy theories while promoting a fact-based democratic discourse? How can deep divisions in American society be healed? These questions are beginning to be raised after recent shocking events in Washington D.C. Meanwhile, the US government-funded think tanks such National Endowment for Democracy (NED) are very active in many developing countries, including Pakistan.  Cato institute says that what NED does "would otherwise be possible only through a CIA covert operation". NED's 2019 recipients include Balochistan rights activists, women and minority rights groups, media groups, data journalism,  digital rights, social justice, etc. All of these groups and the money they have received can be seen on National Endowment for Democracy's website

Storming of the US Capitol


Storming of US Capitol:

Egged on by the outgoing US President Donald J. Trump who lost the 2016 presidential election, the world saw an angry violent mob of tens of thousands attack Capitol Hill as the lawmakers met to certify the victory of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. This was a shocking development for many in the United States and abroad who look up to the United States to set an example of peaceful transfer of power. Violence on Capitol Hill resulted in the death of five Americans, including a protester and a policeman. It is now being characterized as an attempted bloody coup. 

Those involved in the Capitol Hill attack come from all walks of life, including off-duty police officers, firefighters, state lawmakers, teachers, municipal workers and at least one active-duty military officer. About 64% of Republicans support Trump's false claim of "stolen election". Some of them fervently believe the QAnon conspiracy theories claiming that Democrats are evil. They see Democrats as demonic pedophiles bent upon destroying the United States for their own selfish motives. The QAnon conspiracy theory appears to adapt itself to new events and personalities with time. It is a clear sign of deep and growing divisions in the American society. 

Democracy Abroad:

The recent allocation of $15 million for democracy in Pakistan is a small part of America's promotion of democracy abroad. There are also US government-funded think tanks and hundreds of non-government organizations (NGOs) tasked with promoting democracy abroad. 

The most audacious of the Washington DC think tanks promoting democracy abroad is the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).  Cato institute says that what NED does "would otherwise be possible only through a CIA covert operation". NED website agrees with this description. Here's how NED describes its origins:

"In the aftermath of World War II, faced with threats to our democratic allies and without any mechanism to channel political assistance, U.S. policy makers resorted to covert means, secretly sending advisers, equipment, and funds to support newspapers and parties under siege in Europe. When it was revealed in the late 1960’s that some American PVO’s were receiving covert funding from the CIA to wage the battle of ideas at international forums, the Johnson Administration concluded that such funding should cease, recommending establishment of “a public-private mechanism” to fund overseas activities openly". 


NED Activities in Pakistan:

A few years ago when I attended my alma mater NED Engineering University's alumni convention in Washington DC area, I met dozens of people from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED think tank). Apparently, they were mostly Pakistani dissidents on the US government payroll who wanted to bring democracy to Pakistan. 

Since that alumni convention I have researched the NED think tank  and learned that it gives large amounts of money to a variety of NGOs operating in Pakistan. NED's 2019 recipients include Balochistan rights activists, minority rights groups, media groups, data journalism,  digital rights, social justice, etc. 

NGO-ization of Pakistan: 

Pakistan has seen more than 10-fold increase in the number of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) operating in the country since 911. There is now one NGO per 2000 Pakistanis. A large slice of billions of dollars in US aid has been funneled through non-government organizations. This was particularly true after Kerry-Lugar-Berman aid bill in 2009 that tripled civilian aid to Pakistan from $500 million to $1.5 billion a year. KLB is long gone but the American money flow has continued to a large numbers of Pakistani NGOs. For example, US government-funded think tank NED's 2019 recipients include Balochistan rights activists, minority rights groups, media groups, data journalism,  digital rights, social justice, etc. 

Summary:

The US Congress allocated $15 million for "democracy programs" in Pakistan as part of its latest Coronavirus Relief Bill.  This happened about a week before an angry violent mob stormed the US Capitol.  It is now being characterized as an attempted bloody coup.  The shocking events of January 6, 2020 are raising serious questions: Should charity start at home? Should America prioritize democracy at home? How to deal with the fervent believers in QAnon conspiracy theories while promoting a fact-based democratic discourse?  How can deep divisions in American society be healed? Meanwhile, the US government-funded think tanks such National Endowment for Democracy (NED) are very active in many developing countries, including Pakistan.  Cato institute says that what NED does "would otherwise be possible only through a CIA covert operation". NED's 2019 recipients include Balochistan rights activists, women and minority rights groups, media groups, data journalism,  digital rights, social justice, etc. The name of these groups and the money paid out to them is listed on NED's website.


10 comments:

Mayraj F. said...

It's no secret that there are powerful forces in the U.S. that support the Hong Kong protests. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have all publicly waded in on the side of anti-Beijing protesters. Senior U.S. diplomat Julie Eadeh has been caught meeting the "pro-democracy" activists.

Out of the spotlight, active U.S. interference takes place through the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The NED is bankrolling Hong Kong "pro-democracy" and anti-Beijing groups such as the Solidarity Center (SC), the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor to the tune of millions. In 2018 alone the NED reports giving 155,000 U.S. dollars to the SC and 200,000 U.S. dollars to the NDI.

The NED is a sham NGO founded in 1983 to replace functions previously carried out by the CIA. Philip Agee, a former CIA agent and author of "Inside the Company: CIA Diary" details how the CIA would set up front organizations and funnel money into destabilization campaigns.

After destabilization would come the coup-d'etat. The Brazilian 1964 coup that overthrew President João Goulart and the Chilean 1973 coup against Chilean President Salvador Allende were both backed by the CIA. In both instances, left-wing parties were deposed and replaced by right-wing military forces compliant to U.S. interests.

..
In today's world of espionage using the CIA to fund "independent" groups would lead to accusations of imperialism. Consequently, the funneling of money and the setting up of front organizations go through the NED. According to Allen Weinstein, who was responsible for setting up the NED during the Reagan administration: "A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA."

Nicolas Guillhot from the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique says the NED creates "a non-governmental crusade for human rights and democracy which avoided accusations of imperialism by presenting itself as a direct response to the needs of dissidents and reformers worldwide."

The Department of State funds the NED. As such, the NED must act in accordance with U.S. geopolitical aims. For example, the NED's president must appear before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee every year to account for its activities.

The NED has continued the CIA's work to further U.S. interests abroad. In this game, democracy and the vague language of freedom is merely instrumental. William Blum, author of "Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since Word War II," describes how the NED had successfully manipulated elections in Nicaragua in 1990 and Mongolia in 1996 and how it helped to overthrow democratically-elected governments in Bulgaria in 1990 and 1992.

In recent history, in 2018 nearly 1,000,000 U.S. dollars was proportioned to Bolivia for funding think tanks, news agencies and political parties. This funding is for the purpose of thwarting Evo Morales, who nationalized Bolivia's gas reserves.


Shams N. said...

So Riaz, which US government institution will help out in freedom for Sindh and Balochistan from Punjabis and Pathans?

Riaz Haq said...

Shams: "So Riaz, which US government institution will help out in freedom for Sindh and Balochistan from Punjabis and Pathans?"


I think we in the US need to worry about the potential for civil war at home. Trump has left the United States deeply divided. We may end up reaping what we have been sowing abroad.

Mayraj F. said...

Wanting to turn back the clock and restore the American Empire to what it was before Donald Trump’s presidency is a fool’s errand. It’s already a thing of the past – and the storming of the US Capitol was just the last straw.
Don’t take my word for it, though. “If the post-American era has a start date, it is almost certainly today,” argued none other than the head of the Council on Foreign Relations – the foremost think tank advocating for the Empire in Washington – after Wednesday’s storming of the Capitol by several hundred Trump supporters protesting the certification of the election for Biden.

“No one in the world is likely to see, respect, fear, or depend on us in the same way again,” lamented CFR president Richard Haas.
..
This unwitting admission of ‘American exceptionalism’ basically says it’s fine for US-backed activists to storm parliaments in “regimes” that Washington dislikes and wants to change, but when Americans rebel against their own government they believe is acting illegitimately, that’s beyond the pale.

While what happened Wednesday was not actually a “color revolution,” the visuals were certainly similar enough for the world to take notice. It would be wrong, however, to blame the Capitol “insurrection” for the demise of the American Empire, when it was merely the last domino to fall.

Again, don’t take my word for it – here’s Ishan Tharoor, a columnist for the notoriously pro-establishment Washington Post, declaring on Thursday that for “many abroad,” the vision of the US as a shining city on a hill with global moral influence and authority “has already died a thousand deaths.”

..
For some of these people, Tharoor argued, this narrative was “always an illusion to obscure the Washington-engineered coups and client military regimes.” Indeed.

Democrats and their neocon allies have spent the past four years blaming Trump’s ‘America First’ policy, lamenting that he was acting unilaterally, antagonizing “allies” and creating a “leadership vacuum” in the world. Those are the talking points of the incoming administration as well.

Except they’ve clearly forgotten the events of January 2020, when Trump ordered the drone assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani. There were no protests from US “allies” – or should we say vassals? Instead, they fell in line with amazing alacrity.



https://www.rt.com/op-ed/511963-american-empire-capitol-resistance/
The American Empire has fallen, though Washington may not know it yet

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/477605-soleimani-killing-trump-empire/
Exposing empire: How Soleimani’s killing put paid to myths the US told itself and others

A crowd of protesters stormed Congress protesting a presidential election they claimed had been fraudulent. When this happened in Serbia in 2000, the US called it democracy. When it happened in Washington, DC – not so much.
Scenes from the US Capitol on Wednesday, as protesters backing President Donald Trump disrupted the joint session of Congress meeting to certify the election of Democrat Joe Biden, looked very much like Belgrade in October 2000.
..
The sight was later repeated in Ukraine – twice, in 2004 and 2014 – Georgia, Moldova, Belarus, and several Central Asian former Soviet republics. On every occasion, the US backed the “people power,” because American NGOs and embassies were supporting what became known as “color revolutions.”
..

Same thing happened in 2011 with the “Arab Spring” that started in Tunisia and then burned its way across North Africa to the Persian Gulf. In some places it “succeeded,” overthrowing decades-old governments. In others it failed, setting off wars in Libya and Syria and leaving blood on the streets of Bahrain. Again, the US cheered this on as democracy – except for Bahrain, which hosts a major naval base.
https://www.rt.com/op-ed/511740-us-democracy-congress-stormed/
Do you realize now what you have done? US gets the kind of ‘democracy’ it championed overseas

Riaz Haq said...

How White Evangelical #Christians Fused With #Trump Extremism. A potent mix of grievance and #religious fervor has turbocharged the support among Trump loyalists, many of whom describe themselves as participants in a kind of #holy #war. #CapitalHill https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/11/us/how-white-evangelical-christians-fused-with-trump-extremism.html?smid=tw-share

Lindsay French, 40, an evangelical Christian from Texas, flew to Washington after she had received what she called a “burning bush” sign from God to participate following her pastor urging congregants to “stop the steal.”

“We are fighting good versus evil, dark versus light,” she said, declaring that she was rising up like Queen Esther, the biblical heroine who saved her people from death.
-------------

Before self-proclaimed members of the far-right group the Proud Boys marched toward the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, they stopped to kneel in the street and prayed in the name of Jesus.

The group, whose participants have espoused misogynistic and anti-immigrant views, prayed for God to bring “reformation and revival.” They gave thanks for “the wonderful nation we’ve all been blessed to be in.” They asked God for the restoration of their “value systems,” and for the “courage and strength to both represent you and represent our culture well.” And they invoked the divine protection for what was to come.

Then they rose. Their leader declared into a bullhorn that the media must “get the hell out of my way.” And then they moved toward the Capitol.

The presence of Christian rituals, symbols and language was unmistakable on Wednesday in Washington. There was a mock campaign banner, “Jesus 2020,” in blue and red; an “Armor of God” patch on a man’s fatigues; a white cross declaring “Trump won” in all capitals. All of this was interspersed with allusions to QAnon conspiracy theories, Confederate flags and anti-Semitic T-shirts



---------------
Oren Orr, 31, an arborist from Robbinsville, N.C., where he goes to Santeetlah Baptist Church, rented a car to drive to Washington. He carried his American flag right up below the officers on the bleachers, and his wife had a Christian flag. Mr. Trump could be the last president to believe in Jesus, he said. (Mr. Biden speaks often about his lifelong Catholic faith, and unlike Mr. Trump, attends church services frequently.)

----------------

Abigail Spaulding, a stay-at-home mother of 15 who traveled to the rally with friends from her church in South Carolina, broke down in tears as she spoke about her fears for her children under a Biden administration. She said her husband had explained to their children that when Mr. Biden is sworn in as president, “they can take the Bible and call it hate speech and throw it out.” And she had other worries about Mr. Biden, drawn from Facebook and Twitter — all of which were false.

Riaz Haq said...

It's still Trump's party

https://www.axios.com/trump-republicans-impeachment-support-10c11b10-2149-406f-ab6a-4a94db8d1226.html


He lied about the election being fixed. He incited an attack that left five dead at the U.S Capitol. He got impeached. Twice. But polling indicates Republicans still have his back — and views — by vast majorities.

Why it matters: Anyone who thinks Trump is a politically dead man walking appears pointedly dead wrong.

Just look at the numbers:

Two-thirds of House Republicans voted to decertify the election results — in the hours after an insurrection.
93% of House Republicans voted against impeachment yesterday.
In an Axios-Ipsos poll taken Tuesday and yesterday:

64% of Republicans said they support Trump's recent behavior.
57% of Republicans said Trump should be the 2024 GOP candidate.
Only 17% think he should be removed from office.
House and Senate Republicans tell me they strongly believe Trump will remain a force in the party's 2022 and 2024 races — even if he were to be convicted in the forthcoming Senate trial, and barred from holding federal office himself.

One reason he may escape conviction is that some top Republicans believe that would make him a martyr and actually empower him. They'd rather let him fade away.
Fox News' Tucker Carlson said last night: "By impeaching the president during his final week in office, Congress will not succeed in discrediting Trump among Republican voters. In fact, it will enhance Donald Trump among Republican voters. Obviously!"
Between the lines: A majority of Republicans in the poll — 56% — consider themselves traditional Republicans; 36% call themselves Trump Republicans.

That's a formidable base for Trump, who also controls the $150 million+ he has raised for his super PAC since the election.

Riaz Haq said...

Opinion | Has #Trump pushed the #Republican Party to the breaking point? In the past eight presidential elections, the Republican candidate for president has won the popular vote only once — in 2004, in the wake of 9/11. #US #democracy #CapitolRiots https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/has-trump-pushed-the-republican-party-to-the-breaking-point/2021/01/14/6cb4f064-56aa-11eb-a931-5b162d0d033d_story.html?tid=ss_tw

The modern Republican Party has long harbored several factions that lived together uncomfortably — libertarians, evangelicals, states’ rights advocates and (let’s be frank) racists. They have been able to paper over the divides for decades. But in recent years, two factors have propelled the party into crisis. The first is that the Iraq War and the global financial crisis broke the back of the Republican establishment, opening the way for Trump, who appealed not to discredited party elites but to the base, with the help of raw cultural and racial rhetoric.

The second factor has been the increasing awareness of its leaders that it is really not a majority party. In the past eight presidential elections, the Republican candidate for president has won the popular vote only once — in 2004, in the wake of 9/11 and the early days of the Iraq War — a trend unprecedented in U.S. history.

Nonetheless, the electoral college and the Senate, along with gerrymandering and voter suppression, have enabled the party to win power without winning a majority. That has made it less responsive to the demands of the majority, national elites and the mainstream media. It has found a way to thrive by cultivating its own smaller ecosystem, creating its own facts, theories and heroes.

But that ecosystem is splintering. Fox News, central to the party’s ability to indoctrinate its base with myths, half-truths and falsehoods, is losing market share. (Disclosure: I host a weekly show on CNN.) The newcomers — Newsmax and One America News — are willing to enter a fantasy world where even Fox News will not go. Perhaps most important, the Republican base is shrinking, not by a huge amount but significantly. Partly, this is a matter of long-term demographics; partly, it is Trump. Polls suggest that Trump’s approval rating has now descended into the 30s, with about 50 percent of independents supporting his removal from office. Republicans in swing districts across the country may find themselves in an impossible situation: unable to get nominated unless they embrace Trump but unable to get elected if they do.

If these trends persist — a big “if” in a country where party loyalties remain very strong — we might see a dangerous dynamic. Some Republicans, both at the elite level as well as among ordinary voters, will defect from the party, unwilling to sign on to the Trump family cult. The rump Republican Party will become a minority party in more of the country. But it will be dominated by people who reject American democracy and are enamored of conspiracy theories, enraged by their powerlessness and increasingly willing to support extreme, even violent means to achieve their ends. In other words, the future Republicans in Congress may look a lot like the mob that stormed it last week.

Riaz Haq said...

#CapitolHill Attack: From off-duty police to firefighters, state lawmakers, teachers, municipal workers and at least one active-duty military officer, dozens of public servants from across the #UnitedStates joined pro-#Trump protests that turned violent. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-protest-officials-insight/off-duty-cops-other-officials-face-reckoning-after-rallying-for-trump-in-d-c-idUSKBN29I315

As rioters scaled scaffolding outside the U.S. Capitol, Roxanne Mathai held up her cell phone to record the sea of supporters of President Donald Trump storming America’s bastion of democracy.


“We’re going in,” said the 46-year-old Texas jailer, “tear gas and all.”

Mathai, a jail lieutenant and 8-year veteran of the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office, approached the Capitol steps last Wednesday as rioters in front of her breached barricades.

Wearing a red, white and blue face mask with a Trump flag hanging from her back, she posed for selfies. “Not gonna lie,” said the mother of three on her Facebook page, “aside from my kids, this was, indeed, the best day of my life.”

The next morning, her boss reported her to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which was seeking information on any participants in the Jan. 6 insurrection that left five people dead, including a Capitol police officer. Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said Mathai also was placed on unpaid leave pending results of a separate investigation into her involvement.

“I was oblivious to everything,” including the violence, Mathai told Reuters on Tuesday. “I was watching everything as a spectator.” She said she was bound by a confidentiality order that prohibited further comment.

From off-duty police to firefighters, state lawmakers, teachers, municipal workers and at least one active-duty military officer, dozens of public servants from across the United States joined the protests in Washington that turned into a siege on the U.S. Capitol. The mob’s violent effort aimed to block Congress’ certification of Joe Biden’s election as president.

Since returning home, many have confronted harsh criticism from angry constituents or employers - often because of their own posts on social media.

At least 50 elected officials and others in public sector jobs are facing internal inquiries or investigations that, in some cases, have resulted in temporary suspensions pending investigations, based on a Reuters examination of public statements, news reports and video footage.

At least two Capitol police officers have been suspended and more than a dozen others are under investigation for alleged dereliction of duty or aiding or abetting rioters.

For some public employees caught on video or social media rioting inside the Capitol, the consequences have been swift, including arrests and job termination. Two off-duty police officers from Virginia faced criminal charges Wednesday after posting a picture of themselves on Jan. 6 in front of the Capitol’s statue of John Stark and bragging about their behavior, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court in the District of Columbia.

Riaz Haq said...

#BidenSpeech: "The cry for survival comes from the planet itself, a cry that can’t be any more desperate or any more clear. And now a rise of political extremism, white supremacy, domestic terrorism that we must confront and we will defeat" #terrorism https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/interactive/2021/01/20/biden-inauguration-speech/

This is democracy’s day. A day of history and hope of renewal and resolve through a crucible for the ages. America has been tested anew and America has risen to the challenge. Today, we celebrate the triumph not of a candidate, but of a cause, the cause of democracy. The people, the will of the people, has been heard and the will of the people has been heeded.

We’ve learned again that democracy is precious. Democracy is fragile. At this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed1.

From now, on this hallowed ground, where just a few days ago, violence sought to shake the Capitol’s very foundation, we come together as one nation, under God, indivisible, to carry out the peaceful transfer of power, as we have for more than two centuries.

As we look ahead in our uniquely American way: restless, bold, optimistic, and set our sights on the nation we can be and we must be.

I thank my predecessors of both parties for their presence2 here today. I thank them from the bottom of my heart. And I know, I know the resilience of our Constitution and the strength, the strength of our nation. As does President Carter, who I spoke with last night, who cannot be with us today, but whom we salute for his lifetime of service.

I’ve just taken the sacred oath each of those patriots have taken. The oath, first sworn by George Washington. But the American story depends not on any one of us, not on some of us, but on all of us, on we the people who seek a more perfect union.

This is a great nation. We are good people. And over the centuries, through storm and strife, in peace and in war, we've come so far. But we still have far to go. We'll press forward with speed and urgency, for we have much to do in this winter of peril and significant possibilities, much to repair, much to restore, much to heal, much to build, and much to gain.

Few people in our nation’s history have been more challenged or found a time more challenging or difficult than the time we’re in now. A once-in-a-century virus that silently stalks the country. It’s taken as many lives in one year as America lost in all of World War II. Millions of jobs have been lost. Hundreds of thousands of businesses closed. A cry for racial justice, some 400 years in the making, moves us. The dream of justice for all will be deferred no longer.

The cry for survival comes from the planet itself, 3a cry that can’t be any more desperate or any more clear. And now a rise of political extremism, white supremacy, domestic terrorism that we must confront and we will defeat.


Riaz Haq said...

Director of Amazon #India Drama "Tandav" Cuts Scenes Amid Outcry From #Hindu Nationalists.The creators of “Tandav” have been caught up in sweeping political/ social changes in India driven by a Hindu nationalist movement led by #Indian PM #Modi. #Tandav https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/22/business/india-amazon-tandav.html?smid=tw-share

The director of a big-budget Amazon web series has bowed to pressure from Hindu nationalists and cut several scenes that they had deemed offensive, demonstrating the sway of a powerful political movement that strives to reshape Indian society.

Ali Abbas Zafar, the director of “Tandav,” a gritty political drama, made the edits amid an intensifying outcry about the show and calls for a boycott.

Hindu nationalists, including members of the governing Bharatiya Janata Party, or B.J.P., have accused Mr. Zafar of insulting Hindu deities and stirring up animosity between Hindus and Muslims and between upper castes and lower castes.

Mr. Zafar said on Twitter on Tuesday that the show’s cast and crew had decided to “implement changes to address the concerns raised,” and since then, several scenes have been excised. But on Friday, some critics continued to drum up opposition, calling for Mr. Zafar to be put in jail.

The creators of “Tandav” have been caught up in the sweeping political and social changes in India driven by a Hindu nationalist movement. Led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has shouldered aside significant opposition, the movement champions India as a Hindu nation that pushes other groups, including its significant Muslim minority, to the margins.

The pressure has extended into culture. In recent years, Hindu nationalists have heavily criticized Bollywood, the central Indian filmmaking industry, for depictions that run counter to their beliefs.


Among the cuts made to “Tandav” was a scene in which a university student is seen playing a cursing Lord Shiva, a Hindu god, on a stage. In another scene that was taken out, a fictionalized prime minister speaks derisively to a member of a lower caste.

But on Friday, Ram Kadam, a B.J.P. state lawmaker who had filed a criminal complaint against the show’s creators, said the edits were not enough.

“This is a fight against the type of people who hurt the religious sentiments of Hindus,” he said. “They must go behind bars.”

At least three criminal complaints have been filed, including one that accuses the show of promoting hatred between different religions, a serious crime in India. Already investigators in Uttar Pradesh State, run by one of Mr. Modi’s closest allies, have summoned Mr. Zafar to speak to them.

But the true reason for the complaints against “Tandav” may be that the show holds up a mirror uncomfortably close to Indian society and some of the problems blamed on Mr. Modi’s administration. In the opening episode, the show features protesting students and disgruntled farmers, echoing events that have taken place in recent months. (Mr. Zafar has said the show is a work of fiction.)

"Tandav” is just one of many recent productions that have provoked the ire of Hindu nationalists. A journalist filed a criminal complaint this week against the makers of “Mirzapur,” another Amazon web series and the name of a midsize town in northern India. The journalist said the series hurt religious and regional sentiments and defamed the town.

In recent months, similar pressure has been exerted on Netflix. Several of the platform’s productions have come under attack, including a show that featured a Hindu woman kissing a Muslim man, with a Hindu temple in the backdrop, which Hindus denounced as offensive to their beliefs. Hindu nationalists have tried to shut down interfaith marriages, and recent laws in several of India’s states have targeted interfaith couples.