The Etymology of Gold in India
Having been the birthplace of one of the oldest civilization, India has a rich cultural and economic history. In addition to advanced mathematics and agricultural knowledge, denizens of the Indus valley civilization possessed an envious level of dexterity regarding metallurgy. Along with more common baser metals for construction of utensils and tools, gold was widely used by the people as the preferred metal for jewellery. The bright yellow sheen of this precious metal has been associated with deities, royalty and primarily women of India. Many invasions and colonisations later, India has finally come to be a place which harbours multiple communities, varied religious sects and people from different nationalities and the original Indian affinity towards gold has rubbed off with the larger demography.
Usage of Gold in India
Being a home to people from various religious beliefs, India is a place teeming with special occasions and festivities at almost any given time of the year. Jains, Sikhs, Christians, Muslims and Hindus are the primary groups as per religious beliefs. Though the tendency to buy and gift gold is predominant for Hindus and Jains, irrespective of their beliefs, people have taken a liking towards investing in gold. Since the time when women were primarily keeping to their households rather than acting as breadwinners, gold gifted to them through their relatives and/or life partners was considered as the savings that they could bank on. That norm about gold being a woman’s savings continues for a majority of families across India due to strong cultural ties to long standing traditions. Which also makes it a great reason for parents to gift gold to their daughters on their betrothal. Along with being an insignia of power and prosperity, it acts an investment option since the rate of gold rarely falls below a certain given level. Apart from weddings, on other festive occasions, spends on gold considerably increase, in line with popular beliefs about wealth addition during specific times of the year under planetary alignments that are considered auspicious.
India and the Gold Rush
Anyone staying in India for a period any longer than a month or two would certainly come across quite a few festivals and occasions and would understand what exactly is the craze behind the buying tendency towards gold. People in India prefer the purer variant of the yellow metal, i.e. the 24k gold. While logically it would make sense that the 24k gold variant would be less prone to rate changes, the sentiment of Indians is more inclined towards the fact that it is the purest form of commercially available gold and thus, worthy of taking pride in. Almost 10,000 years and many rulers later, the democratic India still echoes the same love for gold, primarily due to its cultural importance.
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