The educated who laugh may please work towards better support systems, and property rights for the woman (assuming the family does has some property to decide in whose name to place it !) - and till then not deride the gold she possesses. That is the poor woman's strength today. And when a girl gets married, any girl from a poor family, the gold given to her is publically seen and respected as hers.
Any lady you know - a maid if you have maids, a neighbour if you live with the poor - you can gift her gold during the wedding.
Livestock and Gold are insurance against short term cash flow problems which in many a case can ruin people's lives.
I'm for gold but against gold bonds.
Then came cash currency , I say " All Cash is Fraud" , as due to many complex reasons including inflation and external trade it reduces , the same rupee is 10-20% less in value the next year . How does one explain this to most people , forget villagers , most middle-class do not get it. Even in a FD the return is not enough to cover the loss . Only mutual funds and good ones can give that return. Or good real-estate . For normal people Gold and physical gold as Komakkambedu Himakiran Anugula says is safety against the Centralised State . Nothing else comes close as a liquid holder-of-value . I would never buy Modi's gold bonds . I am then again dependent on a bureaucracy whose policies may change again . The Indian peoples thankfully have never trusted any king or centre . All states are exploitative , in terms of trade towards the country or land or villagers as they need to extract value for the city civilisation and armies. So I agree with you gold gifts to the girl or long-term recurring deposits in her name , so I have done so in the villages where it was possible, a 5 year RD scheme and I gave the first year's as support and parents then followed it. Actually the biggest issue is when a girl gets married and goes to a new home. She cannot ask for cash till her relationship with mother-in-law is decent . So even a cash gift as pocket money for few months is good.