The story of Tanneri Chaso

It was a cold and crisp December morning in 2014 and a group of youngsters stood nervously huddled together near Baneshwor Chowk in Kathmandu, a bustling area known for protests and demonstrations. However, today they were not there to join a demonstration but rather to attend a meeting with 15 Constituent Assembly Members at The Everest Hotel. For many of them, it was their first time meeting such high-level politicians, and the weight of the occasion was palpable in the air. Despite their apprehensions, the young people were determined to make their voices heard. 

As they stepped inside the meeting hall, their nerves were replaced by a strong sense of purpose and determination. Each individual shared personal stories of how the political impasse had impacted their daily lives, ranging from public service delays in their hometowns to empty government offices. Having witnessed the previous Constituent Assembly fail, they were armed with evidence of broken promises made by political parties in the form of a book ‘Esto Nahos Sabhasad ko Niyat’. They represented frustrated youths across the country eagerly awaiting the delivery of the constitution. They posed firm questions to representatives of the Constituent Assembly about the reasons for the prolonged transition and obstruction of the constitution drafting process. With a sense of urgency, they pressed for a constructive role in ending the deadlock, recognizing the high stakes for the nation and its people. Their presence served as a powerful statement, demanding answers and a call to action. Among the group of youngsters were Nabin Silwal and Deep Jyoti Shrestha, the founders of Tanneri Chaso Network.

The Birth of Tanneri Chaso

Nabin Silwal presently the CEO of Tanneri Chaso vividly recalls the day he was going about his daily routine of reading the newspaper when his attention was caught by an advertisement for the ‘New Media and Debate Training 2010.’ As someone keenly interested in New Media, he immediately recognized that this was an opportunity he could not afford to miss. Having come from Dhading, a neighboring district of Kathmandu, to pursue further studies, he had never encountered such an opportunity before. Without wasting any time, he quickly pulled out his laptop and submitted his application to attend the training. This decision profoundly impacted his life, and things have never been the same for him ever since. 

The ‘New Media and Debate Training’ was a 15-day workshop organized by Alliance for Social Dialogue that aimed to equip participants with video production, debating, critical thinking and writing skills, and provided them with a platform to interact with individuals from various communities in Nepal to understand their nuances. The training started in 2010 and continued annually until 2013, and the organizers recruited the initial cohort of trainees as trainers for subsequent trainings. As a result, the training not only produced skilled young people but also instilled in them a desire to build a social space, resulting in the formation of the Tanneri Chaso Network. The network served as a platform where youths could connect, deliberate, and act on social and political issues that affected their community.

Catalyzing Social Spaces

People have embraced the availability of spaces in the past in Nepal where they could share their personal narratives and viewpoints. In the 1990s, FM stations served as virtual spaces that provided an intimate public space. Popular shows such as Mero Katha and Mero Git gave listeners an opportunity to express their opposition to dominant structures through the letters the listeners wrote (Kunreuther). Similarly, young people across the world are constantly searching for spaces where they can freely express their frustrations and disappointments. (Ugor) talks about how young people in Nigeria created a cultural social space through their local cinema industry, Nollywood. This space allowed them to voice their grievances against older adults whom they felt had negatively impacted their future prospects. 

The Tanneri Chaso Network emerged during a time when young people in Nepal were feeling disillusioned and disheartened. Their aspirations for a new constitution that would address the needs and aspirations of all Nepalese citizens, including marginalized groups, were not being fulfilled. They were also yearning for greater representation, peace, security, socio-economic development, inclusion, equality, and good governance. Young people were looking for an outlet to engage, connect and act. Tanneri Chaso not only provided them with a platform to transform their frustrations into positive action but also transformed the way these young people were involved in the newly created social space. 

Nabin and the Tanneris, other members of the Tanneri Chaso’s first undertaking was the production of a short video about how public walls and buildings were covered in posters that no one took responsibility for removing. The video aimed to create awareness about the issue and encourage institutions and political parties to take responsibility for the mess created. The issue raised by the Tanneris a decade back is seen bringing fruition as the new young and popular mayor of Kathmandu Metropolitan City has prohibited the distribution of posters and pamphlets and recently took action against such activity.

The issue of posters was not only the issue of Kathmandu, the cities outside of Kathmandu also were faced with similar issues. Tanneri Chaso then started a blog documenting social and political issues faced by youth from different parts of Nepal, allowing for a unified voice of concerns from across the country through this virtual social space. 

Deep Jyoti Shrestha currently the director of Tanneri Chaso’s passion for politics began at a young age and continued to grow as she kept up with the latest political news in the country. Despite her high hopes for positive change in Nepal following the Maoist insurgency, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, and the elections of the first Constituent Assembly, she, like many other Nepali youths, was left disappointed by the dissolution of the first CA. Expressing her frustration through her Facebook profile, Deep Jyoti found solace in connecting with other like-minded individuals who shared her sentiments. Her online activism led her to the blog of Tanneri Chaso. As Deep Jyoti and other Tanneris, wrote their hearts out about their problems in the blog, they came to realize the pervasiveness of politics in all aspects of society and the need for greater accountability from politicians. (McIntosh and Youniss) say individual efforts to promote change in political structures often have limited impact. Therefore, a crucial aspect of political involvement is the ability to unite with others who share similar views and work together to amass the necessary resources to effect change in public policies or practices. Rather than simply venting their grievances, the Tanneris decided to shift their focus towards fostering a culture of questioning and holding those in power accountable along with developing collective power and evidence through their social space. 

Political Coming of Age

Tanneri Chaso has played a significant role in the political socialization of young people since 2013 and to this day as it serves as a social space for young people to connect regularly on contemporary issues. (Fillieule) defines political socialization as the gradual formation of an individual’s unique and personalized perspectives on the political world. This process involves the internalization of the norms and behaviors of a given society. (Owen) has identified the family, school, peer group, and media as the primary agencies of political socialization. Tanneri Chaso was set up by alumni of the New Media and Debate Training, but every year they added more members by engaging young people in their both digital and traditional campaigns. 

In light of this, it is accurate to conclude that the Tanneri Chaso as a peer group and their usage of new media, debate, and critical thinking served as the agents for the political socialization of a large number of young people who later joined the Tanneri Chaso network. (Gordon and Taft) have recognized the unique role of young activists in political socialization processes, emphasizing that youth are the best people to educate their peers. While the training provided by ASD was beneficial in bringing them together, youth activists like Nabin and Deep Jyoti were responsible for the political socialization of many youths and members prior to their courageous move in 2014 and countless other bold moves that followed.

To understand in depth how the political socialization of youths occurred through Tanneri Chaso, we can look into the theories of Situated Learning and Scaffolding as done by (McIntosh and Youniss). According to Situated Learning Theory, learning occurs best when a person actually does the activity that is being learned. Tanneri Chaso has been involving its volunteers in its campaigns since its inception. Their first campaign ‘Clean and Capable Candidate’ was ahead of the second CA elections wherein Nabin and Jyoti along with other Tanneris traveled to 17 districts equipped with commitment papers listing misdeeds committed by past CA members demanding accountability from candidates and questioning their past performance and misdeeds. 

Many other campaigns have followed since then like ‘Hami Nabirseu’ a campaign demanding accountability for the delivery of relief during the earthquake, ‘Selfie for Vote’ a digital campaign demanding local elections that had not been held for two decades, and many more. According to (Yun and Chang), youth who have been active in social movements can develop political efficiency by learning about politics, getting firsthand political experience, and participating in political discourse. This was the case for the members of Tanneri Chaso, the participation in numerous campaigns resulted in a political coming of age for many of them.

Although political socialization takes place in real-world situations where young people collaborate with others on meaningful tasks, according to (McIntosh and Youniss), they are not ready to do this on their own. This is where the theory of scaffolding or support by adults via school, youth programs, and other social institutions comes into play (Youniss and Hart). According to research, scaffolding requires at least three key elements: training, access to a real political system and support while participating with the political system (McIntosh and Youniss). In case of Tanneri Chaso, ASD provided the youths with debating, new media skills and critical thinking skills which equipped them for real life efforts for political change. This was later continued by the members of Tanneri Chaso who then gave the same training to new incoming members which can also be seen as a form of support for participation. Similarly, access to real political system can be seen from the numerous times they interacted and questioned the people’s representatives starting from that day in Baneshwor at the Everest Hotel.

Revolutionizing Youth Involvement

Tanneri Chaso played a crucial role in revolutionizing the involvement of young individuals especially the Tanneris in the public sphere. During that time, power was predominantly concentrated in Kathmandu, and decision-making was limited to those in authority at the center. This led to a situation where even local media outlets in various districts relied heavily on Kathmandu for their content, resulting in insufficient representation for the districts. However, Tanneri Chaso changed this dynamic by empowering young people from different districts, giving them the agency to raise issues prevalent in their regions. Tanneri Chaso effectively enabled young people to actively engage in political discourse and encouraged them to hold those in power accountable. As Nepal progressed towards decentralization and the implementation of federalism, Tanneri Chaso embraced this shift. They adapted their initiatives to the changing landscape by formalizing their efforts in their respective hometowns, including Surkhet, Birgunj, Dolkha, and Kathmandu. 

Over the course of the past decade, Tanneri Chaso Network has undergone several transformations in its approach, always striving to resonate with the young demographic. They have employed various methods such as SMS campaigns for timely constitution drafting and to protest against the Parliamentarian Development Fund, cartoons for demanding local election and voter awareness, theater performances to demand clean election and capable candidates, whiteboard animations for voter awareness and civic education, photo booths for demanding local election, photo exhibitions like Hami Nabirseu, to communicate their political messages effectively. Notably, they were pioneers in introducing mayoral debates in Nepal, showcasing their dedication to fostering evidence-based discourse and challenging rhetoric through the presentation of solid evidence. In the present, Tanneri Chaso Network has shifted its focus to fostering connections, recognizing that the voices of the people are once again being disregarded, and there is a lack of a platform to amplify these voices. While their emphasis has evolved towards creating connections, they continue to embody the spirit of questioning.

Trailblazer for next generation

As we enter the year 2023, an important milestone comes into focus—the ten-year anniversary of the inaugural New Media Debate Training. Reflecting on the past, it becomes clear how Nabin and Deepjyoti, driven by a mix of frustration and determination, were ignited by a flicker of hope. They wholeheartedly devoted their youthful years to nurturing a culture of questioning, rather than resorting to mere complaints. Their unwavering commitment was centered around establishing accountability, as they ardently aspired for a brighter future for Nepal.

In an era where individuals often shield themselves behind digital screens, using social media as a platform to vent frustrations and unleash aggression through trolling and cancel culture, the tale of Tanneri Chaso holds valuable lessons for the next generation of young minds. It shows how frustrations can be expressed respectfully in a civil manner, channeling them into actions rather than aggression. It serves as a powerful example for the next generation, emphasizing the importance of civil discourse amidst the chaos of online interactions.


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Gordon, Hava R., and Jessica K. Taft. “Rethinking Youth Political Socialization : Teenage Activists Talk Back.” Youth & Society, vol. 43, no. 4, 2010, pp. 1499–1527.,×10386087. 

(Kunreuther)McIntosh, Hugh, and James Youniss. “Toward a Political Theory of Political Socialization of Youth.” Handbook of Research on Civic Engagement in Youth, 2010, pp. 23–41., 

Owen, Diana. “‘The Future of Civic Education in the 21st Century’ Conference Cosponsored by the Center for Civic Education and the Bundeszentrale Fur Politische Bildung, James Madison’s Montpelier.” Political Socialization in the Twenty-First Century: Recommendations for Researchers, 2008. 

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Yun, Seongyi, and Woo Young Chang. “New Media and Political Socialization of Teenagers: The Case of the 2008 Candlelight Protests in Korea.” Asian Perspective, vol. 35, no. 1, 2011, pp. 135–162., 

काठमाडौंमा विज्ञापनजन्य सामग्री बाँड्ने ६१ जनालाई कारबाही.” Kantipur, 2080.

Kranti Pageni
Program Officer | Purak Asia

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