In a move that has the Indian temples on edge, the Indian central bank has requested detailed information from the richest temples as to the amount of gold stored, etc., and in spite of its interest, claims there is “no proposal under its consideration to convert idle gold into bullion at this juncture.” They were slightly less specific regarding future plans for those with gold jewelry or who like to buy gold coins.

The amount of gold in question is no paltry amount. Some estimate it to be one half the gold reserves held at Fort Knox. The government maintains that it’s interest is merely academic and what amounts to no more than data collection. They are just curious so nothing to see here citizens, move along.

On any day, it is said, Indians purchase up to 2.3 metric tons of gold which is the equivalent weight of a small pachyderm. The yellow metal is either given as a donation to God or kept safe as either a hedge against inflation or as a resource in case of an emergency. Many would see this as a wise and prudent action but they would probably not be members of the Reserve Bank of India who see it as restricting the Indian economy.

Notwithstanding the seemingly contradictory positions of denying interest in, and the motivation for having an interest in the countries non-government gold, some found a February report on the “issues related to gold imports” somewhat disturbing. In a section sub-titled “supply-related measures,” the report looks at reprocessing non-government gold and observes: “Temples in India hold large quantities of gold jewelry offered by devotees to the deities.” One can almost hear them salivating over it.

It was George Bernard Shaw who said, “You have to choose between trusting to the natural stability of gold and the natural stability of the honesty and intelligence of the members of the government. And, with due respect to these gentlemen, I advise you, as long as the capitalist system lasts, to vote for gold.”

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