Wide Angle -- WINDOW INTO GLOBAL HISTORY

Visit WIDE ANGLE on pbs.org
Video Help Video Bank
New Confidence (2:16) Excerpt from film "1-800-INDIA" September 2005
At first, Santosh Kohli's parents had reservations about her taking a job in the BPO industry.

Country: India
Related Lesson Plan:
  • Women Wanting To Work

  • middle east israel map

    Israel
    Download video:
    (PC: right click & select Save Target As) (Mac: hold down CTRL button & click)
    Quicktime (7630k) Realplayer (5130k) Windows Media (4750)

    Guiding Questions
    1. Why did Santosh's parents change their minds about Santosh's employment?

    2. How has employment with Gecis empowered Santosh? In what sense has she redefined herself?

    3. "I have a good job to show that Santosh Kohli is also someone." What does this statement reveal about the role economics plays in importance and worth? Do you agree with Santosh's sentiment?

    Background Essay
    Santosh Kohli and her family discuss their feelings towards Santosh working at night. She discusses the new sense of confidence she has gained through her employment. Once considered a burden by her family, she now supports her household and gives her siblings pocket money and gifts.

    A major component of India's rapid economic growth at the turn of the 21st century is its emergence as a leader in the global market for "outsourcing" jobs. Outsourcing refers to a business practice whereby certain business functions are moved "out" of a company and instead are supplied by external businesses. These external suppliers can be in the same country as the head business office, but often they are located in other countries - particularly in countries where labor and real estate is relatively inexpensive. The widespread outsourcing of jobs to less industrialized countries has spurred economic growth in many areas of the world. Starting in the late 20th century, thousands of outsourcing businesses - providing services as varied as customer telephone support, product design, and manufacturing - have expanded across the globe.

    In India, companies that provide services to multinational corporations are commonly referred to as Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) companies. India's past and future are connected by these BPO businesses. India was formerly a British colony, and the colonial legacy of English-speaking education has produced millions of English-speaking Indian workers. These young Indians are now securing BPO jobs and moving into the middle class. And they are changing the face of the country.

    A dramatic and personal film, "1-800-INDIA" explores the experience of young Indian men and women who have been recruited into these new jobs requiring long hours, night shifts, and westernized work habits. The film reveals the human and cultural impact of a sweeping global trend, exploring its effect on Indian family life, on the evolving landscape of Indian cities and towns, and on the aspirations and daily lives of young Indians, especially women, entering the work force.

    "1-800-INDIA" highlights an effect of globalization, illustrating how "factors of production" (the labor and resources needed to produce goods and services) can be dislocated from their intended recipients. In the United States, outsourcing has come under debate, as some Americans have argued that the practice harms the domestic economy by taking jobs away from American workers. There are other criticisms of outsourcing, including complaints that it exploits lower-paid workers and that the quality of service is sometimes poor. On the other hand, there are arguments to be made that outsourcing brings down company costs and thus prices, benefiting everyone. This practice also spurs growth in underdeveloped parts of the world, and can bring fresh talent, insight, and knowledge to a company.

    Transcript
    MOTHER:
    For the first few days, I told her that she shouldn't go at night.

    What is the company?
    Where is the company? There is housework to be done or you can stay home and study.

    I didn't understand that they were training her for a good job in the future.

    FATHER:
    Then one day they invited us there.

    They took us at 7 pm and brought us back at 11.

    Then we what it was like there.

    They act like brothers and sisters, that's how they behave there.

    If anyone does anything wrong, it shows up on the computers.

    Who said what, who was laughing, who was talking or teasing someone.

    They said, "This is a computer, our officer can see everything on it."

    They all like brothers and sisters here.

    Then our hearts were satisfied.

    SANTOSH:
    Now he loves me more.

    Not because I have a job, but because I have confidence now.

    He sees that I want to do something in life, that's why.

    First of all, I give them both pocket money, which I never used to get.

    Not much, $2 each.

    And then I put about $50 into a bank account for my sister.

    And I bought a motorbike for my brother Suresh as a gift, so there are monthly installments of $50 for that from my salary.

    So $100 goes like that and the rest goes on household expenses.

    NARRATOR:
    Once perceived as a burden to her family, Kohli now spends almost all her income supporting them.

    SANTOSH:
    My focus is to improve the lives of my brother and sister.

    I have a good job to show that Santosh Kohli is also someone.

    Related Links
    Print Classroom Tips