India, gold is tradition. India’s romance with gold is eternal – spanning eras and epochs. But why do Indians love gold so much?
As a young child, I have very fond memories of watching my mother mystically open her jewelry box. She would take out the splendid ornament pieces and show them to me. Tell me about the story behind them – a pair of embellished bangles that were given to her mother by her grandmother and then to her by her mother, a gold chain that was my father’s first gift to her after their wedding, a family heirloom passed on by her mother in law, a ruby ring that she bought from her first saving and so many more! I would look at her face, and then at the red treasure box, and wondered, how these glittering pieces made my mother so happy!
I believe it goes the same with mostly all the women in India. One could dig and find many psychological and traditional reasons for the same. Especially amongst Hindus, festivities, deities and various traditions comprise of buying/offering of Gold. The festivals ‘dhanteras’, ‘Akshay Tritiya’, ‘Pushya Nakshatra’ are considered to be auspicious events for buying gold, with the notion that doing so will bring prosperity.
The historic love of gold can be traced back to many factors. Often, cultural and civic lifestyle powers people to use the ‘precious’ to stipulate perception to their behaviors and belief systems, adding importance and meaning to everyday life. For example, a gold band signifies the loyalty, love and sincerity between two people that intend to or are married. Gold as a metal is also seen as a symbol of power, prosperity and fortune. It takes various forms of gifts, heirlooms, adornments, religious offerings, investment and sometimes, awards. About 78% of the gold consumed each year is used in the manufacture of jewelry. Gold rates in India have become factors for many commodities. As a softer metal, it serves as a match for many other metals as alloys. Economies depend on Gold rates! Thanks to the gold obsession in India, it is no shock that gold is the second major import item after crude oil. Good returns, ageless benefits and beautiful to look at – what more would one want!
While all these are facts, what is more fascinating is the emotional and traditional attachment that the people of India have with gold. It is a very significant part of our weddings, which turns desolate when it develops into dowry culture. For ages, people have relied on gold because even though it is mostly bought for the joy of the ladies, it also serves as a cushion for the tougher times. The quality of being ageless makes it an ideal pass-on from one generation to another keeping the future genuinely connected with the past. And we may or may note like it, but in our society, with such rising gold rates, it has also become a major status symbol. Though I don’t agree, but many say that gold is to women what gadgets are to men. I feel men are equally enthralled by gold (as are women with gadgets!).
India’s romance with Gold: Is Gold a good investment? Does Gold Investment give good returns?
An average Indian’s life starts with a cup of tea and his newspaper. Most of the denizens would know the current rate of gold (becomes more relevant when gold rates in india are at a 5-year low!) Indian Jewellery is far from minimalistic as compare to the western culture. A large part of our social fabric is associated with the gold industry, which is almost clear from the fact that India is estimated to hold more than 11,000 tonnes of gold. This zeal of citizens for gold has also been capitalized by the methods of bullion & paper gold investment. Consequently, now it is possible to even take loans on mortgaging gold (way to go Banks, the great Saahukaars!).
When a thing of beauty also becomes a thing of attraction and wealth, it is bound to be the love of masses. Gold is the only item that permeates every strata and class of the Bharitya society. I am no economic expert but if we’re all honest here, let’s admit that no one really know where the Gold rates are going to go. In July 2015, Gold rates have taken a serious hit and have come down to an all time low of five years. So, just like everything else, investing in gold also has its own risks.
But something that will never cease is the bond that it creates – much like attaching the diamond to the crown; it also attaches the love between people. Its value is symbolic of how much you care for the person you gift it to. It is that sense of satisfaction and peace that a parent would have for their children and their future. It is that sagacity of a Saas who welcomes the new member of her family.
One would say that only the materialistic think importantly of gold. May be it is true. Love could be a rose, but how would she wear it? If love, gold and rose is a question, rose gold, definitely is the answer!
Why do Indians love gold? Because it has really become a part of our lives. As a grown-up, I never had the same longing for jewels but the affection with my mother’s trinkets remains unchanged. I am pretty sure, one day, I would be telling the same kind of stories to my kids.