Gold is considered a precious commodity in cultures around the world. However, no other country other than India has such a major impact on the fluctuating price of gold. I am happy and pleased to share an insightful post from a young, upcoming writer with her pulse on the trends of her country.
The Golden Fantasy
By: Megha Shah
The social network and Internet have successfully made the planet a global village, making it easy for people to voice their thoughts across various international platforms. Browsing through various such platforms, I realized that one question, that is actually pretty common is "Why are Indians so obsessed with Gold?"
Our obsession with this metal dates back a few centuries. In India, it always was and still is, much more than just a precious metal. It is part of the fabric of our culture and an inseparable part of our belief system. The Vedas, that are books that form the foundation of our culture, read that in a dark and lifeless universe, the Creator deposited a seed in the waters he had made from his own body. The seed became a golden egg, bright and radiant as the sun. From this cosmic egg of gold was born the incarnation of the Creator Himself - Lord Brahma. In Sanskrit, he is also known as 'Hrinyagarbha', meaning the one born out of gold.
According to the Vedas, the planet is made out of 4 elements - water, air, fire and land. Each of these is considered to be the purest elements in existence. In Hindu mythology, some of our goddesses are described as golden-hued, the ultimate in beauty. Since Gold passes through fire in the making process, it is considered extremely pure. Thus, we read about Gods and Goddesses riding on Golden chariots and sporting gold jewellery. Even today, Gold is a must in every religious event, which is why we see so many ladies wearing gold jewellery on auspicious occasions.
Taking a leap to a period more close to the current time in the history of India, the country has been divided into and riled by different kings from different kingdoms. What the geographical area of the country looks like today earlier constituted various kingdoms across history. Gold was considered as the basis for valuation of trade across these kingdoms.
Gold also helped preserve wealth through natural calamities and disasters and for centuries was the only means of saving in rural India, land being the other main asset of economic value. This has largely helped formulate, or evolve, the Indian sentiment and fanatical passion for gold, which holds true even today. Today, India is estimated to hold more than 11,000 tonnes of Gold.
Marriages in India are a huge deal. One's respect in society is directly proportional to the amount of money spent on the ceremony. Therefore, the people having a pretty average income invest in gold immediately after their children are born, so that over the years, the value of money invested could increase.
The gifting of gold is so pervasive that provisions are made in wills to gift gold to unborn grandchildren or to unmarried children on their marriage. At times when inheritances are to be decided, chits are drawn to see who inherits what jewellery in the family. Certain pieces of jewellery are even passed down a family through generations.
Gold to Indians is the ultimate love object since it not only adorns our bodies, but also acts as a good investment. Gold is ancestral. It is passed down generations as a symbol of legacy. Thus, for the population in this part of world, Gold will never lose its sheen. We had obsessed over it, we do obsess over it and we will continue to obsess over it.