The Empowering Impression Of Gold Inheritance On South Asian Ladies

India’s enduring affinity for gold finds its deepest roots within the hearts of Indian ladies. Whether or not within the type of cherished bangles, rings, necklaces, tikkas, earrings or anklets, virtually each girl within the nation assembles a treasure trove that’s solely her personal.

In keeping with a current report, Indian ladies personal roughly 11 per cent of the world’s whole gold reserves, collectively carrying over 20,000 tonnes of gold jewelry on their our bodies. In our patriarchal society, gold ornaments have lengthy served as quiet symbols of monetary safety, alternative and familial legacy for ladies. Traditionally, possessing gold has been one of many solely few methods South Asian ladies may categorical some type of monetary freedom.

Subsequently, gold jewelry is completely thought of a generational funding amongst ladies. It’s handed down from moms to daughters as valuable heirlooms, bestowed upon brides as marriage ceremony presents, and even given to newborns as tokens of fine fortune. In our cultural glossary, gold jewelry transcends its function as a mere adornment or materials possession. It serves as a tangible reminder of hope, willpower and resilience for a number of generations of ladies throughout the Indian subcontinent.

Cultural and historic significance of gold in India

The historical past of India’s adoration for gold jewelry will be traced again to 5 thousand years in the past, through the Indus Valley civilisation. Excavations on the historic cities of Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa unearthed an enormous number of ornaments together with beads, necklaces, headbands and discs, suggesting that our fascination with the steel is actually, rooted in our ancestral heritage.

These findings from the Indus Valley civilization reveal not solely the beautiful craftsmanship and creative expression of those that got here earlier than us but in addition their profound appreciation for the inherent magnificence and worth of gold jewelry, a sentiment that we stock even right this moment. 

Along with this archaeological proof, gold has come to be related to a way of divinity and femininity by way of Indian mythology, establishing it as a gendered asset from the very starting of time. In numerous elements of India, a girl is perceived because the dwelling embodiment of  Laxmi, the goddess of wealth, magnificence and prosperity.

Based mostly on the cultural and spiritual practices of Hinduism, the beginning of a feminine youngster is usually celebrated because the arrival of Laxmi, and a brand new bride is to be greeted into the household with the same celebration, symbolising the auspiciousness of Goddess Laxmi herself.

In India, gold has additionally served because the reflection of a girl’s marital standing. It’s broadly believed {that a} girl’s magnificence is just not full with out her gold ornaments as a result of they symbolise purity, success and well-being, as that of Goddess Laxmi. Thus, gold as an adornment, has been deeply woven into the private and cultural identities of Indian ladies for hundreds of years. 

How ladies got here to completely possess gold 

For a number of years, ladies in India endured totally different discriminatory biases inside the customs of a patriarchal set-up that gave management of most money issues to male members of society, and belongings had been most frequently transferred to a girl’s husband following their marriage. Consequently, ladies had been restricted from claiming their rights to inheritance, proudly owning property and controlling a number of different monetary belongings. Whereas this oppressive observe continues to happen even right this moment, its prevalence has lowered significantly. 

The possession of gold has been one of many single most necessary pathways to attaining monetary and social independence for ladies in a number of elements of India.

Regardless of the imposition of those gendered customs in Indian society, one resolute reality stays: gold jewelry has at all times irrefutably belonged to ladies. The possession of gold has been one of many single most necessary pathways to attaining monetary and social independence for ladies in a number of elements of India.

Nonetheless, the origin of this gold possession could also be rooted within the patriarchal customized of dowries. The observe of paying and accepting dowries, the place the bride’s household presents gold jewelry, money or different monetary belongings to the groom’s household earlier than marriage is an age-old custom deeply ingrained in Indian society. 

Traditionally, it’s doable that the unique idea of dowry emerged as a way for fogeys to make sure financial safety and autonomy for his or her daughters of their new, marital houses by way of presents like inherited gold jewelry. Nonetheless, through the colonisation of India, when the British launched personal possession of land, ladies had been excluded from this privilege, ensuing within the switch of their property possession to their husbands. Consequently, dowries had been made obligatory as one of many authorized methods in direction of marriage in colonised India.

This observe of giving and receiving dowries quickly become exploitation that subjected ladies to numerous types of abuse, together with dowry deaths, home violence and extreme harassment. A number of Indian households granted full management of a spouse’s gold jewelry to the husband, even throughout a separation or different marital difficulties.

In response to this, the Dowry Prohibition Act of 1961 was imposed by the Indian authorities. Through the years, this laws has helped scale back the observe and prevalence of dowries to some extent. Though unlawful now, the customized of dowries is a deep-seated social situation that continues to have an effect on quite a few ladies throughout South Asia even right this moment.

But as our society progresses, a constructive development prevails. Slowly however steadily, dowries are being deserted, remodeling a bride’s gold inheritance again into what it was once, an emblem of monetary independence and empowerment. 

Supply: India TV

Moreover, the idea of “Streedhan,” as per the Hindu Regulation, roughly translating to “girl’s wealth,” is one other doable approach by way of which ladies have come to own gold with such abundance. Streedhan, starkly totally different from dowries, refers to all voluntary presents (most frequently gold jewelry or property) {that a} girl receives from her instant members of the family or relations throughout marriage.

As supported by Part 14 of the Hindu Succession Act 1956, a girl’s property that she has earned, inherited or obtained as a present, legally belongs to her alone. Subsequently, any type of male dominion over Streedhan is condemned with strict authorized motion, giving a girl indefinite possession of her gold jewelry and different property towards all hostile circumstances. 

Gold an eternal image of feminine empowerment 

Whether or not buried within the roots of dowry or Streedhan, gifting gold to daughters is a timeless observe that persists throughout all cultures in South Asia. Ladies dedicate their lives to constructing a fortune in jewelry, regardless of how giant or small, with the first intention of passing it right down to their daughters. This custom completely includes gifting gold to new child child women, youngsters and brides, in order that they will begin assembling their very own little assortment of jewelry.

Subsequently, moms relentlessly safeguarding all their gold jewelry for his or her daughters, might certainly, be seen as a step in direction of matriarchal energy, and as a small act of resistance towards the patriarchal customs that plague the Indian subcontinent.

Whether or not the current era of ladies require their gold inheritance or not, it’s nonetheless handed on as an emblem of safety towards unexpected circumstances, or just in the event that they ever want it to fall again on. The very act of carrying inherited gold jewelry is an expression of 1’s identification and ancestral heritage. Grounded in a deeply emotional historical past, it serves as a symbolic switch of monetary freedom, from one era of ladies to the subsequent.

Subsequently, moms relentlessly safeguarding all their gold jewelry for his or her daughters, might certainly, be seen as a step in direction of matriarchal energy, and as a small act of resistance towards the patriarchal customs that plague the Indian subcontinent.

Though the importance of possessing gold might have now advanced for ladies in modern India, it is very important acknowledge the legacies of the ladies who got here earlier than us. Their deep wrestle for monetary freedom has eased the burdens that we stock right this moment and serves as an eternal reminder of their collective resilience towards patriarchy all through historical past.


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  4. Gold and Gender in India: Some Observations from South Orissa
  5. Affect of reference costs on buy intentions and hedonic valuation of gold in India
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