Indian Bishops warn against call centre morality

With the number of abortions up 50 per cent in India's technology hub, Bangalore, the local Church is mobilising against rising promiscuity among India's 1.3 million call centre workers.

According to an Age report, so entrenched is call centres' reputation for dating, drinking and partying that many middle-class parents are now reluctant to let their daughters take up such jobs.

Hoping to reverse the trend, the Church is organising a series of retreats and counselling sessions targeting workers from the sectors considered to be at risk.

"We don't want to do moral policing, but we want to advise young people that being 'modern' doesn't mean losing their family traditions or moral values," said Bangalore's Archbishop Bernard Moras.

In New Delhi, a spokesman for the archdiocese said the youth wing in every archdiocese would be mobilised.

"We are responsible for these young people," he said. "We have to show them we care by giving them guidance and showing them the dangers of adultery and casual sex."

Most centre workers are young, single and on starting salaries much higher than those of doctors or lawyers, so consequently the booming industry has brought about a social revolution.

"Women come to work with condoms in their handbags," one call centre worker, Alkesh Dua told the Age. "Everyone is doing it. You're together all night in this cool, hip atmosphere, and you end up getting intimate."

Employers have tried to offset the monotonous nature of the work itself by creating an informal college campus atmosphere, where there is drinking and partying.

Since many staff work night shifts, after which normal socialising is impossible, office friendships - with accompanying sexual liaisons - have blossomed.

Conservatives revile call centres as decadent outposts of Western culture, and are just as concerned about the threat to India's moral reputation.

Traditional values on comeback trail in Britain

Meanwhile, in a sign that the trend may be slowing or reversing in the West, a recent BBC poll has found that traditional attitudes to sex and relationships are making a comeback, according to a report in Christian Today.

The findings, which were welcomed by the Scottish Church, have uncovered a resurgence in the popularity of traditional values in sex and relationships. The findings contrast with the widespread assumption that people today put career before having a family.

The poll for BBC Radio 4's Women's Hour, carried out in September, found that many respondents believed it best to have just one sexual partner.

The majority of those questioned also said that the ideal age to settle down was between the ages of 21 and 27 and that it was best to have children before the age of thirty.

Thirty three per cent of the 1,000 respondents also stated that the ideal age to settle down is between the ages of 21 and 24. A further 40 per cent said it was best to settle down between the ages of 25 and 27.

The results of the survey, commissioned to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the program, are being looked at throughout the week.

The vast majority of respondents to the poll - a massive 90 per cent - said that the ideal time to have children was before 30.

The sex behind the engagement ring (The Age, 9/10/06)
Traditional Values in Sex and Relationships Making a Comeback (Christian Today, 5/10/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Archdiocese of Bangalore

Indian priest highlights destructive role of call centres (CathNews, 10/6/04)

9 Oct 2006