ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Gold as Dowry

One of the prime attractions of gold as an asset among Indians is its use as dowry. Unfortunately, the ongoing debate in the EPW on the argument to curb demand for the metal does not address this feudal social practice. As long as we are unable to complete the unfinished agenda of social transformation that involves empowerment of women, the Indian fascination for gold will stay.

It would be wrong to attribute the fascination for gold to a cultural trait or to traditions as the, otherwise well-argued, EPW editorial of 14 September does (“Wages of Liberal Policies”). Wherever dowry does not exist, the demand for gold is low. For instance, the demand is low in Assam while it is high in Kerala. It should be remembered that the practice of dowry is not a custom, cultural trait or tradition of a people. It has more to do with its stage of their socio-economic development.

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