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Odisha Tribal Labourer Who Started Channel in Lockdown Earns Lakhs From YouTube

By: Anand ST Das

News18.com

Last Updated: July 08, 2021, 07:26 IST

YouTuber Isak Mundak.

YouTuber Isak Mundak.

Tribal youth Isak Munda from Babupali in Sambalpur district’s Jujumura block's rise to fame as a YouTuber blogger has now made him an inspiration.

Tribal youth Isak Munda’s rise to fame as a YouTuber blogger from Babupali in Sambalpur district’s Jujumura block has now made him an inspiration for entire western Odisha. Munda, who was once a daily wage labourer, carved out his path after watching few YouTube videos on his friend’s cellphone during the 2020 lockdown when work had dried up for him. Inspired by these bloggers, he decided to make a self video and soon took a loan of Rs 3000 to record himself eating a full plate of boiled rice without enough curry. Within hours after he uploaded the video on YouTube, there were thousands of views and comments, nearly all appreciative, and it kept growing. This video’s soaring popularity prompted him to upload one video after another on his YouTube channel, ‘Isak Munda Eating’, garnering plenty of views. Within months, Isak Munda started earning lakhs of rupees from his YouTube videos and ceased to look for daily wage work.

“I had taken a loan of Rs 3,000 to buy my first little smartphone to make videos. My first video has been viewed by more than 4.99 lakh people. I make videos about life in my poor household and village, showing what and how we eat. I am happy my videos are received so well by many. I am making a decent income now,” said Munda, 35.

In June 2020, three months after he uploaded his first video on YouTube, Isak Munda had received Rs 37,000 in his bank account, he said. Then, three months later, he got Rs 5 lakh. “It keeps coming,” he said.

Munda, who speaks Hindi along with Sambalpuri, the western dialect of Odia, usually posts videos about the serene village life and the food habits of the poverty-stricken people living there. Since March 2020, Munda has uploaded nearly 256 videos and his YouTube channel currently has more than 7.29 lakh subscribers.

His first video was titled ‘Rice and Indian Sambar Fast Eating’. In that four-minute video, Munda was only in a vest and eating a full plate of hot, boiled rice with raw tomato, some fried green leaves, a raw chilli and just a bit of dal. The sight of poor tribal youth in Odisha eating simple food somehow struck a chord touched among viewers. His subsequent videos often featured his wife, Sabita Munda, and their four daughters – Monisa, Monica and Mahima – and son Pabitra. The videos typically showcase his community’s traditions and food preparation methods.

“I’ve studied only up to the seventh standard. So, I thought I could make videos on my own community, culture and lifestyle in my village. I also show how we collect wild mushrooms and eat bamboo shoots so that people in India and abroad get to know of the simple life we live,” said Munda.

His wife, Sabita Munda, is very happy with his YouTube success. “He once uploaded a video of the decrepit mud house we live in. Many people viewed it, and it brought us financial support from an organisation in Bhubaneswar to build a brick-and-cement house,” she said, smiling.

“Isak is constantly making videos about our local tribal traditions. He also made a video of me weaving a mat out of date palm leaves. People like to see all his videos. They learn about our traditions and culture. So he is getting some money,” said Isak’s father-in-law, Joseph Munda.

Isak is clear that simply making money out of his YouTube videos is not his goal. “I want to create awareness among people about our local traditions and also the negative influences it is battling. I am happy to be no longer seeking daily-wage work as a labourer,” he said.

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first published:July 07, 2021, 09:37 IST
last updated:July 08, 2021, 07:26 IST