Despite the popularity of apps like Twitch and Instagram, YouTube still remains at the top among video sharing platforms. Streaming services are overflowing with top-notch films, series and documentaries, yet there's a whole demographic that prefers YouTube when they sit down to have a meal. It's been around since 2005 and has become only more relevant with time. Multiple generations of artists have learned and developed their skills through the app, and many more have found fame and success by sharing their content on it.
Although it might seem that online content creation is prevalent in certain sections of the social strata, that's not the case in reality. A remote village in the state of Chhattisgarh is the prime example of this. Tulsi Village in the Raipur district has gained popularity for being a hub for content creators most of whom earn their livelihood through YouTube.
It started with SBI network engineer, Gyanendra Shukla, and MSc-qualified tutor, Jai Verma who left their jobs to start their YouTube careers. Earning twice and thrice the amount in their previous jobs, they have more than 250 videos and 1 lakh subscribers on the platform. Other residents have also followed suit.
YouTube culture in Tulsi has opened doors for women in the village as well who had limited opportunities before. Artist and YouTuber Pinky Sahu shares that these groups have helped empower women from the village, "It has been 1 and a half years since I started. We have around 40 YouTube channels. Everyone here participates. Women here are generally not allowed to step out of houses but through our YouTube channels, we have given them a message that girls too can do something," Pinki told ANI.
There was some hesitation among people in the beginning about being on camera, but acting in the Ramlila in te village made them get over their stage fright. Now the residents of Tulsi get together to brainstorm content and also share the cameras and shooting equipment among each other. Around 40% of the village are YouTubers from the oldest being an 85-year-old grandmother, Bisahin and the youngest a 15-year-old boy, Rahul.
The story of Tulsi serves like a glitch in our perceptions of 'rural' village against the backdrop of internet culture. It's not everyday that we imagine an old grandma from a village Chhattisgarh acting in a comedy skit, but it's definitely happening. We've often seen the world with blind spots when it comes to identities and cultures that we think do not belong with each other, but It has never been about where people are from when considering what they do, it's just about skill and will and the YouTubers of Tulsi are the epitome of that truth.