Indian Gold is one the most influential assets to the nation. In fact, gold is evident in every aspect of Indian life. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the Indian nation is and has been in love with Golf for a very long time. It is however important to understand the nature of the relationship between the people and this precious metal. Gold is symbolic in many ways and seen as an intrinsic part of life. So much so that when Indian migrants move abroad, they take the love of gold with them. And spread this fascination to other cultures.
Indian Gold and wealth
In India gold is viewed as an asset. Even the poorest of people seek to own gold as it provides more options when major life decisions need to be made. With an estimate that more than sixty percent of Indians do not have bank accounts, gold has become the investment to grow wealth. Even though the value of gold fluctuates, long term it grows to generate wealth.
Gold influences the nation so much that when the Indian government tried to apply a 1% excise duty on all gold purchased and sold within the country the entire industry joined forces and stopped work. It just wasn’t worth it to government in lost revenues so they backed down.
It is believed that in India on average people have more savings than elsewhere in the world. The reason this is not visible on paper is because their savings are not liquid in cash or in the banks. They are safely increasing in value, in the form of gold as a possession or asset.
After China, India is the biggest consumer of gold globally. It really isn’t hard to see why. Gold is central to religious practice too. As Diwali approaches, Indian families prepare to welcome the Goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity. Some people buy gold Jewellery however it is common for families to buy a gold coin with the Shri yantra embossed on one side and an image of Lakshmi on the front. Indeed, it is believed the happier Lakshmi is with her visit the healthier and wealthier the family will be.
This is such a serious matter that most of the gold is purchased on two of the most auspicious days. Pushya Nakshatra and Dhanteras. These are the two days during Diwali when gold sales skyrocket.
Gold is also important as part of life rituals such as Indian weddings, where gold is worn in multiple layers. The use of gold in family affairs is significant as saving as much gold as possible for their children is a practice that is considered the norm, especially in Southern India. Amongst the Marwari people from Rajasthan, even the poorest of families will have at least a gram of gold in the ceremony.
But gold is not only for weddings and religion. It is worn as jewellery and woven into clothing. It can be eaten too. Gold textiles are not an unusual sight in India. Although imitation threads are widespread, real gold thread is far from obsolete and even underwear design is not immune from the integration of gold. It is interesting to note that the Marwari will not wear gold below the knees and wearing it as toe rings or anklets is frowned upon. This would be considered sheer disrespect to the Goddess Lakshmi who has a very special place in their tradition.
As far as gold consumption in relation to food is concerned it is prepared to be edible into a form known as Varq. Varq is a fine gold or silver foil which is added to food items or specifically to adorn them. However, Gold has been included in the Indian cuisine as part of Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. Consuming gold has been a part of Indian traditional culture for a very long time. It is believed that the consumption of gold and silver date back around 6000 years. Mithai shops make up some of the greatest Varq consumers in India integrating gold into sweets, which of course are consumed at auspicious times such as festivals and weddings.
Integral to the people
Gold undeniably has huge value amongst all people of Indian origin regardless of their financial or social position. It will be virtually impossible to extricate from the influence that is experienced wherever in the world they may find themselves.
So, whether you are exploring gold for a wedding, a festival, clothing or even food, remember to visit an Indian goldsmith as he’s sure to know what he’s talking about.