Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Outsourcing gets religion in India

BBC NEWS | Business: "This year, a group of Hindus set up a website, puja.by-choice.com, to channel puja requests from the internet to Indian temples.
Pujas performed by high-caste 'Pundit' priests, a rarity outside India, are seen as especially valuable. The site has handled requests from 26 countries, only 10% of which come from non-resident Indians. Fees charged are relatively competitive. A temple in India will charge up to 3,000 rupees for a full-dress puja of the finest quality; puja.by-choice.com packages start at $45, and range as high as $350 for the eradication of black magic, or the blessings of wealth.

In the Sikh community, the practice of Akhand Path, a marathon reading of the holy scripture of Guru Granth Sahib to bring luck or overcome a problem, has been a boom area. A 48-hour reading in a Western temple can cost $1,000; in India, the cost is as little as 5,000 rupees ($108).

The main centre so far for religious outsourcing has been the southern state of Kerala, the stronghold of the Catholic Church in India. A recruitment crisis in the Catholic Church in the West has led to an increasing flow of requests for intercessory prayers and special masses to be directed to Kerala, according to the region's authorities. "

No comments: